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Future Funding: The Rose Stein Effect

Future Funding: The Rose Stein Effect
Posted on 10/17/2018
Two students focus on a writing assignment in their renovated classroom at Rose Stein International Elementary School.Someone once said that writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. The journey of these young writers was playing out in this fifth-grade classroom at Rose Stein International Elementary. Their teacher, Kaitlyn Campbell, was encouraging them with strategies for generating personal narratives. She also wants them to edit their first drafts with the use of CUPS: Capitals, Understanding, Punctuation, and Spelling. Principal Esther Valdez says the students’ focus and commitment is a good reflection of her school’s mission and vision.

“High expectations from the very beginning, helping them see a global perspective through the IB framework that we’re adopting. Helping them see learning and their global citizenship on a bigger scale,” said Valdez.

It wasn’t always this way. Just a few short years ago, Stein Elementary, as it was called, a Title I school with roots in the 1950s, was a vastly different place.

“It had been filled to over capacity. At one point, nearly 900 students. Every nook and cranny was being utilized, a number of portable buildings outside,” explained Valdez. “Serious overcrowding, overuse. Over the years, a lot of neglect and wear and tear.”

There was even talk of knocking it down, but the community convinced Jeffco to re-invest with capital reserve funding, resulting in a two-year closure and multimillion-dollar upgrade that brought new life and new hope in something that some call, the “Rose Stein Effect.”

“It’s just a different tone from the very beginning. From when you enter the building and when you enter the different classrooms,” said Valdez. "There’s a desire, a hunger, an excitement. Kids, we see you, we hear you, we believe in you. They get that message not just in our words, but in our actions.”

“Renovations are critical to us. Trying to keep up with the current environment in education for the physical environment is something that we think is really important for our students,” added Jeffco Public Schools Chief Operating Officer, Steve Bell.

Depending on what voters decide in November, the Rose Stein Effect could be duplicated throughout Jeffco, with upgrades at nearly two dozen different schools, outright replacements of three others, and a host of improvements at options and charters.

“When we do do this, we raise the level of the school and the teaching environment, but it also decreases maintenance, operations and utility expenses that it takes to run the building,” said Jeffco Public Schools Executive Director of Facilities & Construction Management, Tim Reed.

The fact that the school had a solid core, or “good bones,” as architects refer to it, made the overhaul an easy decision. As the update progressed, Valdez had to become an expert in a lot of areas unrelated to her education background.

“I’m very knowledgeable about water fountains and Freon,” she said.

The reopening was a community celebration.

“The structure, the technology, the aesthetics, colors, furniture. The learning tools to bring it up to the highest standard,” added Valdez.

She says the change was, and continues to be, transformational.

“The passion just ignites because it’s a belief and an investment, not just today but in our future. It’s very powerful.”

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

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