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Future Funding: Growing Pains

Future Funding: Growing Pains
Posted on 10/22/2018
A window in the Three Creeks K-8 school library looks out on new development to the west. The school, just over a year old, is already nearing capacity because of rapid growth in North Arvada.Mallory Elliott’s first-grade class was alive with morning busyness here at Three Creeks K-8 in Arvada. Her students were working their way through a reading rotation. Some were taking unit assessments on iPads. Others are working on Google Classroom assignments.

“They’re doing phonics and fluency, things like that. I have some different phonics games,” explained Elliott.

Headphones and screens are in just about every corner. Technology is woven into everything.

“At the beginning of the year, all the tech takes a bit of training and getting used to,” said Elliott. “Now they’re all on it, and good to go, and it’s really cool to see the games and things they can do on there with the different apps.”

Three Creeks is Jeffco’s newest school, and its leader, Principal Laura Wilson, has a laser-focus on what she calls, “The Four Cs.”

“Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. We’re trying to get our kids ready for the future jobs that they’ll have which will really entail a lot of technology and robotics,” said Wilson.
Just over a year into its lifespan, Three Creeks is already well on its way to being at capacity.

“Year one, we ended up with 440 students. We get about eight to ten new students a month at Three Creeks,” explained Wilson. “Year two, we’re at 686 kids. So, we gained 246 kids over the summer.”

The numbers are due to the fact that the area surrounding Three Creeks is bursting with new growth.

“There are three significant residential developments taking place in the northwest corridor. We have the Leyden Rock development, we have the Candelas development, we have Whisper Creek,” said Jeffco Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Steve Bell.

“I’ve definitely been surprised. Wasn’t sure we’d have 680 kids by year two,” added Wilson. “By the end of the year I predict we’ll be around 750 once we add our eight to ten new students each month this school year. We’re built for 800.”

Jeffco’s proposed bond and mill levy override would help the district respond to the area’s growing pains.

“We have an addition to Three Creeks in the bond. Reviewing the scheduling, we’re going to move it forward so we start the planning for that. If the bond passes, probably immediately so we can get off the ground as soon as possible,” said Executive Director of Facilities & Construction Management Tim Reed.

The future funding package also calls for a new K-8, possibly in the Leyden Rock area, that would help counter northwest corridor growth that Jeffco expects will number some eight thousand new rooftops over the next few years.

“We do have a significant problem. If we have 8,000 new rooftops, at one student per rooftop, that math is pretty easy; about 8,000 seats we need to find,” said Bell

“As houses go up, we’ll need more schools to help the students have somewhere to go,” added Wilson.
Without future funding, Jeffco administrators say other options will have to be weighed.

“Things like modular buildings, extending the school day, going to a year-round school program, or split sessions. None of those are preferable, but those are the options that we have,” explained Bell.

Whatever voters decide to do, Wilson says she’ll remain committed to one important goal for Three Creeks.

“To provide a learning environment in which the kids are most successful,” she said.

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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