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FAQ for School Consolidations

Why is Jeffco Public Schools consolidating schools?

To provide extraordinary learning experiences for every student and extraordinary professional experiences for every staff member in a declining enrollment environment, Jeffco must concentrate its resources into fewer schools. Ensuring that Jeffco provides a world-class education that prepares all Jeffco students for bright and successful futures locally and globally requires both building on our many bright spots and confronting our challenges through the lens of opportunity.

  • Jeffco has seats for approximately 88,000 students and currently serves 66,500, leaving approximately 21,500 empty seats.
  • Lagging birth rates and unaffordable housing have been steadily shifting demographics and affecting enrollment in Jeffco Public Schools since 2001. Additionally, during the last three years, Jeffco’s enrollment declined by 5,000 students.
  • Colorado school districts are funded based on how many students they have. While funding is supposed to follow each student to their school, in Jeffco our smallest schools cannot survive on per-pupil funding alone. In order to sustain small schools, Jeffco pulls funding from larger schools. Our investment in an individual students’ education in K-8 and middle schools ranges from $14,400 to $22,000—we are paying the most to educate students in our smallest schools and the funding isn’t for better programming or more services. The funding is simply to supplement the school at the most foundational level so that it can survive.
  • Jeffco’s smallest elementary and K-8 schools are often unable to provide one classroom per grade level, which results in split grade-level classrooms (e.g., a combined third and fourth grade classroom). Where there is one classroom for a grade level it may be very full because enrollment cannot support two classrooms for that grade.
  • Educators in small schools often have fewer colleagues to collaborate with around lesson planning and instructional strategies.
  • effco’s smallest elementary, middle and K-8 schools have fewer full-time services, activities and clubs than larger schools and may not offer before and after school care because there are too few students to support the program.
  • Jeffco's smaller K-8s and middle schools often face budget constraints that limit their elective offerings for students. While larger schools can offer a wide range of subjects like foreign languages, computer science, career exploration and STEM, smaller schools often have to make tough choices on which electives to provide.

What are the benefits of school consolidation?

The vision for school consolidation is that students can attend a larger, more robustly resourced school that will do the following:

  • Provide services, activities, and peer interactions for an extraordinary student experience
  • Have at least two teachers per grade level at the elementary level to provide extraordinary educator experiences
  • Implement an academic plan that considers both school communities' unique traits, aligns with Jeffco Thrives 2025 and promotes teaching excellence in the new designated neighborhood school.
  • Provide middle school-age students with a wide variety of electives and course offerings that prepare them to succeed in high school

What are the Phase II consolidation criteria?

The criteria for Phase II consolidations include one or more of the following:

  • Urgently unsustainable enrollment
    • Under-enrolled schools struggle to provide extraordinary experiences for students and educators using their allocated funding
    • Small schools receive supplemental funding pulled from other district schools to support basic staffing needs
  • Initiation by a school community
    • School communities are proactively bringing forward solutions to sustain their communities in the face of declining enrollment
  • Driven by the State accountability clock
    • If a school does not meet performance expectations for five years in a row, the Colorado State Department of Education must take action.
    • State action occurs on a timeline that does not fully support students and families in making enrollment decisions or staff in interviewing for positions 

Why are the criteria for Phase II different from the criteria used in the Phase I consolidations?

The criteria used for Phase I of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools is not applicable for Phase II for the following reasons: 

  • At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, Jeffco had 100+ elementary schools located very close to one another geographically
  • Elementary schools have fewer students than most K-8 and middle schools, which are designed to serve more students in order to have the resources they need to serve a larger grade span and provide the programmatic elements required for older students.
  • On the other hand, there are 17 middle schools in Jeffco. In most cases, there is one middle school in each articulation area, meaning that schools are geographically farther apart than elementary schools.
    • Two articulation areas have two middle schools (Chatfield and Standley Lake)
    • Two articulation areas do not have middle schools because they have K-6 elementary schools and 7-12 Jr/Sr High Schools (Alameda and Jefferson)
  • There are five K-8 schools in Jeffco in only 4 articulation areas (Bear Creek, Chatfield, Arvada, Ralston Valley)

When will the Phase II consolidation decisions be made?

  • District staff recommendations were shared with the Board of Education on August 24, 2023.
  • Public hearings will take place on October 2 and October 3.
  • The Board will vote on the staff recommendations on October 12. 

My student will be moving from Arvada K-8, but I want to stay in the Arvada Articulation area. What are my school options?

Students who attend Arvada K-8 this year will be welcomed back to their designated neighborhood schools for the 2024-25 school year. There are many wonderful schools in the Arvada articulate area that are prepared to welcome your student:

  • North Arvada Middle School (NAMS) has enough room to welcome every 6th-8th grade student in the Arvada K-8 boundary area.
  • Three of the four Arvada area elementary schools have enough room to welcome every Kindergarten-5th grade student in the Arvada K-8 boundary area.
  • The Significant Support Needs program will relocate to Pomona 6-12 in the 2024-25 school year.

District officials met with the Arvada K-8 staff and community in the spring about the school’s School Performance Framework (SPF), why is the reason for closure recommendation based on enrollment?

District officials met with the Arvada K-8 staff and community in the spring about the school’s School Performance Framework (SPF). The reason for the closure recommendation is based on enrollment.

In the spring of 2023, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) informed the district of potential state action due to Arvada K-8’s academic performance. The CDE asked the district if it wished to take early action on the school in the State Board’s process, which Jeffco declined.

After discussions with Arvada K-8 leaders, district leaders determined the need to provide transparent communication to the staff and community prior to the end of the 2022-23 school year regarding the school’s status on the state accountability clock and the implications of that, including possible closure by Jeffco’s Board based on performance.

During this time period, the district also applied for additional funding to improve student attendance, enhance behavioral supports for students, and increase the frequency in which administrators were able to observe classroom instruction and provide feedback to teachers.

During in-person meetings with the staff and community last spring, Jeffco leaders were clear that the district was examining Arvada K-8's enrollment as part of Phase II of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools. While the focus in the spring of 2023 was on the school's status on the state accountability clock, the district also communicated that clearing the accountability clock was not the only factor that would determine if Arvada K-8 would be recommended for closure.

What will the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years potentially look like at Coal Creek Canyon K-8?

Please read the Phase II recommendation to view the potential options for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years at Coal Creek Canyon K-8.

What will adding Coal Creek Canyon’s Jeffco attendance area to Three Creeks do to enrollment at Three Creeks?

The district anticipates minimal impact to overall enrollment at Three Creeks K-8. This is because Coal Creek Canyon K-8 is a small school community. There is only a maximum of 51 students K-8 (~7 students per grade level) from Coal Creek Canyon K-8 who would be guaranteed enrollment at Three Creeks K-8. That means, at most, each classroom at Three Creeks might see an increase of just one or maybe two students as a direct result of this recommendation. Given the limited number of students joining from Coal Creek K-8, the district believes the impact on Three Creeks will be minimal and manageable.

Jeffco remains committed to providing an optimal learning environment for all students. Three Creeks K-8 is experiencing high levels of enrollment in general. The district has initiated a boundary study to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged as we explore the root causes of the enrollment dynamic and potential solutions.

My 6-8 grade student will be moving from a school with ~80 students at Coal Creek Canyon K-8 to Three Creeks K-8, which serves more than 1,000 students. How will my student be supported in this transition?

The district has learned many lessons from consolidating 19 schools since 2021, including the importance of intentional transitions. Should the Board vote to approve the recommendation for Three Creeks K-8 to become the new neighborhood school for Coal Creek K-8 students in grades 6-8, school leaders will be working with staff, students and families to make meaningful connections with each other.

While the change could feel intimidating, the Three Creeks community has successfully worked to ensure their school has the tenants of a small school, including creating a welcoming community and knowing each student by name, strength and need.

How will students and staff be supported at impacted schools?

Ongoing support plans will be implemented at each impacted school and customized to each school’s needs. 

What will happen to the principal, teachers and staff at schools that are recommended for closure? 

Jeffco is committed to supporting administrators, educators and classified staff in exploring employment options both at new designated neighborhood schools and throughout the district.

As a result of consolidations, we anticipate that some new neighborhood schools may require more certified and classified staff to serve incoming students. Your child’s teacher and other educators who support your child will have the opportunity to be matched with available positions at the new neighborhood school and other available positions throughout Jeffco.

School principals will continue to lead their school for the remainder of the current school year and will be considered for school leadership opportunities in Jeffco for the following school year.

What happens if the school my student attends is named as the new designated neighborhood school for a nearby school that is recommended for closure?

Your student’s school leader and staff will remain at your student’s school. School communities will be supported as they come together to become one strong and sustainable school community.

The focus will be on the district’s value of Belonging. In Jeffco, we cultivate environments where all students, staff, families, and members of our community are safe, accepted, respected, included, encouraged by others, and feel that their voices and perspectives are valued.

New designated neighborhood school leaders are committed to creating opportunities to ensure that students and families whose buildings are closing feel that they belong.

Once a school closes, where will students be able to enroll?

All students who live in Jeffco will have guaranteed enrollment at their designated neighborhood schools, which is based on students’ address. All students can also enter the choice enrollment process through EnrollJeffco beginning in December 2023 and will receive a special priority in the choice enrollment process.

Boundary students

  • For students who live within Coal Creek Canyon K-8’s boundary area, their new neighborhood school will be Three Creeks K-8. 
  • For students who live within Arvada K-8’s elementary school boundary, their new neighborhood school will be Lawrence Elementary. 
  • For students who live within Arvada K-8’s middle school boundary, their new neighborhood school will be North Arvada Middle School. 

Choice-enrolled students

  • If they reside in Jeffco, students who are choice-enrolled into the closing school will return to their designated neighborhood school. Families can identify their designated neighborhood school by entering their address in SchoolFinder
  • Students who do not reside in Jeffco will be able to return to schools in their home district. 

If my student’s school is closing, how will my student get to their new school?

Eligibility for 2024-25 school year transportation will be determined in alignment with policy EEA

Transportation routes are determined just prior to the start of school, as normal operational practice. If you have specific questions about transportation eligibility and operations please connect with your Jeffco transportation contacts.

What support will be provided to impacted families to navigate the EnrollJeffco process for the 2024-25 school year?

  • Students impacted* by school closures will receive a special priority** in the EnrollJeffco choice enrollment process. Round 1 opens on December 5, 2023.
  • Families will have access to Enrollment Specialists for assistance with navigating the 2024-25 school year enrollment process.

*Impacted students are those in non-transition grades when the school closed, such as K-4 in most elementary schools, 6-7 in middle schools, K-7 in K-8 schools, or K-5 in K-6 schools. They do not include students in transition grades like grade 5 for most elementary schools or grade 8 in middle and K-8 schools.

**Per district policy JFBA, choice enrollment is lottery-based on available space. Students affected by school closures get "ROFTS" priority above "Students who reside in Jefferson County". Those students impacted by multiple closures will receive priority above students receiving "ROFTS" priority.

Will impacted families have a priority in the EnrollJeffco process if they chose a school outside of neighborhood school?

Yes. All impacted students attending a school that will be closing will receive a priority for all district-managed elementary, middle and K-8 schools above the “Students who reside in Jefferson County” priority during Round 1 and Round 2.

Will families have an opportunity to visit new designated neighborhood schools?

Your student will have opportunities to visit their new neighborhood school and meet staff and classmates to begin creating a sense of belonging and community at their new school. Your student’s principal will be in touch about these opportunities throughout the remainder of the school year.

What are you going to do with the facility once a school closes?

The district will take time to understand what will best serve the interests of the district and communities as a whole, which includes an analysis of systemic needs and feedback from stakeholders. Decisions about building use will be made after conducting a process that includes public consideration of the district’s options. To learn more and view available properties, visit the Property Disposition webpage.

Do current enrollment numbers include Center Program and preschool students?

Enrollment and building utilization numbers on the FCB dashboard include Center Program students. The number of students in Center Programs are also called out separately on the dashboard. Because preschool is not part of an elementary school’s funded count (it is funded differently), preschool students are listed, but are separate from a school’s K-2, K-5, or K-6 enrollment, on the FCB dashboard. However, as stated on the FCB dashboard, if a school has a preschool program, it is factored into the building utilization percentage on the FCB dashboard.

How frequently will the information in the FCB Dashboard be updated?

Per Policy FCB, the FCB dashboard will be updated annually. The FCB Dashboard was last updated in Spring 2023 to include the addition of option schools and alternative education campuses (AECs), in addition to charter school enrollment information. 

[Special Education] If my student’s school is part of the Phase II school consolidation, what will happen to school-based center programs?

The Significant Support Needs (SSN) Center program at Arvada K-8, which serves students in grades 6-8 will move to Pomona 6-12. 

Jeffco’s Office of Student Success will contact center program families with further details and also work to accommodate siblings of SSN families who are impacted. This team will also support transitions of current SSN program staff to Pomona with the students.

[Special Education] Will there be an opportunity to tour and meet the staff at the recommended facility?

School sites will schedule open house events for all potential new families.

[Special Education] When will we be communicated with about where our student will be placed?

Families will receive a call from a special education assistant director or director to discuss student support and placement.

Frequently Asked Questions Specific to Phase I

Learn more about Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools Phase I on the Phase I recommendation webpage.

When did Phase I schools close and consolidate?

Schools part of Phase I closed at the end of the 2022-23 school year. The exception is Bergen Meadow Elementary and Preschool K-2 which is planned to combine with the Bergen Valley Elementary School to become PK-5 at the start of the 2024-25 school year. 

What was the criteria used for the Phase I elementary school consolidation recommendation?

The Phase I criteria was that on August 15, 2022 the school had:

  • An enrollment of less than 220 K-2, K-5, K-6 students OR
  • Is utilizing 45% or less of the capacity of its facility AND
  • There is an elementary school or schools less than 3.5 miles away that can serve the students from the closing school in the current articulation area*

* Source: EnrollJeffco

When were the Phase I consolidation decisions made?

District staff recommendations were shared with the Board of Education on August 25, 2022. The Board voted in favor of the staff recommendation on November 10, 2022. Decisions will be effective for the 2023–24 school year and the 2024–25 school year.

What preschools are available for students who attended a preschool that closed in Phase I?

Of the 34 pre-k classrooms at schools included in the Phase 1 elementary school consolidation, we will be able to place or maintain all but 14 in new boundary schools. The remaining 14 classrooms can be placed in nearby schools to maintain the total number of pre-k seats currently offered.

New pre-k sites for the 2023-24 school year

  • Maple Grove
  • Powderhorn
  • Sierra
  • Weber
Sites that will keep or expand existing pre-k classrooms in 2023-24
  • Campbell (ECE Center)
  • Eiber
  • Foothills
  • Hutchinson
  • Kendallvue
  • Lumberg
  • Ryan
  • Semper
  • Stevens

[Special Education] Did the school-based center programs at Phase I closing schools relocate to a different school?

Five of the center programs will be moved to receiving schools identified for Phase 1:

  • Arvada: Peck SSN → Secrest 
  • Dakota Ridge: Colorow AN → Powderhorn 
  • Standley Lake: Sheridan Green GT → Ryan 
  • Wheat Ridge: Wilmore Davis ASD → Stevens 
  • Wheat Ridge: Kullerstrand AN → Prospect Valley

Six of the center programs will be relocated:

  • Emory AN Program → Rose Stein
  • Thomson AN Program → Hackberry Hill if needed
  • Campbell SSN Program → Vanderhoof
  • Green Mountain SSN Program → Belmar
  • Glennon AN Program → Hutchinson
  • Vivian DHH Program → Maple Grove
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