Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Steamboat Springs School District offer a preschool program?
The Steamboat Springs Early Childhood Center, formerly called the Child Development Center has been part of the school district for many years. While the BOCES administered the program (hired staff and managed day to day operations) prior to 2015, it was always a district program and a line item in the school district’s budget. Since 2015, the Early Childhood Center has been managed by our two elementary school principals.
The District serves 45-60 preschool students, including but not limited to: general education, special education and English Language Learners. Some of our preschool students qualify for state funding for special education services or through the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) or ECARE (Early Childhood At -Risk Enhancement). Students who don’t qualify for funding pay tuition.
What are the advantages of bringing preschool into the elementary schools?
The transition to kindergarten is a critical starting point in students’ educational trajectories and one that can have an impact through the use of transition practices by the schools receiving these students. Research shows that programs and services delivered with a comprehensive, coordinated approach from preschool to primary school lead to better child outcomes. Moving pre-k into our elementary schools will foster improved communication, planning, and coordination for our youngest learners. Children and their families will have better awareness of the connections between past and future learning experiences, and supports will be uninterrupted from one level to the next.
Why can’t we just build additions to existing elementary and middles schools to meet our capacity challenges?
There is not enough space on our current elementary and middle school sites for adequate solutions that gain enough classrooms and allow for the necessary expansion of spaces such as the cafeteria and library. Additionally, drive lanes for drop-off and pick-up would need to be extended on two sites that are already severely congested from traffic.
What are alternatives to dealing with the district’s capacity issues at the elementary and middle school level that don’t include building a new school?
As an alternative to building a new school, school districts often deal with overcrowding in three ways:
- They realign school boundaries. This option is not available to us because both of our elementary schools are full and we currently only have one school that serves middle school-age students.
- They buy or rent modular trailers that are installed on school property. Soda Creek Elementary School currently houses two modular trailers, which were always meant to be a temporary solution until there is space for the permanent, indoor classrooms. These classrooms are located adjacent to the building and are not equipped with bathroom facilities.
- They go to a multi-track, year-round system. A school using a multitrack, year-round calendar divides the entire student body and staff into different tracks. In one example of this model, one track returns from vacation and one track leaves every 20 days. This expands the seating capacity of a school facility.
If the district is having capacity issues, why does it allow for out of district enrollment?
Since 1994, Colorado families have had the option under state law of enrolling their children in any traditional public school or public charter school in the state, as long as space is available. In SSSD we manage school choice tightly. The percentage of open-enrollment students (non-employee children) in our four traditional schools is 4.1% of our entire student population. In 2018-19 this equates to about 103 students (out of 2,546 total students) across all grade levels and classrooms in our four schools and does not impact our district's capacity as we accept open-enrollment students on a case-by-case, grade-by-grade, and year-by-year basis, only where there is space and programming to serve them.
Note: This analysis excludes the 92 students who attend North Routt Community Charter School
Will adding a new school allow the district to accept more open enrollment applications from families who live outside of our district boundaries?
No. The school district is planning for facilities that will serve students within our boundaries. Enrollment projections are based on in-district students as are all staffing decisions. Out of district open enrollment applications are considered in August and are only approved if there is space to serve a student under the staffing and program structures that are already in place for the school year.
About the SSSD Advisory Committee
Why were the Advisory Committees formed?
The Advisory Committees were formed to address the long-term issues of growing enrollment, overcrowding, larger class sizes, and a lack of space for expanding specials like art, music, physical education, and athletics. The successful November 2017 bond and mill levy initiatives allows us to make basic improvements to our facilities (roof replacements, Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for Steamboat Middle School, and renovations to Gardner Field) and promptly address deferred maintenance and future capital construction maintenance projects. However, work is still needed to generate long-term infrastructure solutions for our school district. The role of the committees is to recommend enhancements needed to provide long-term sustainability and overall educational program excellence for Steamboat Springs students.
The District's four advisory committees are:
- Academic Programs
- Extra Curricular and Co-curricular Needs
- Site Constraints and Possible Solutions
How were the advisory committees formed?
The district asked for volunteers from throughout the community to serve on citizen/staff advisory committees. 32 people (students, teachers, building administrators, parents, and community members) are currently working the the advisory committees. We are committed to informing, engaging, and investing all stakeholders in a plan for district facilities and programs that will benefit students in Steamboat far into the future.
What is the purpose of the committees?
With a focus on long-term infrastructure solutions, the committees' work will:
- Identify opportunities to fund projects that strengthen and/or enhance our academic programs and provide the space needed for program implementation;
- Identify current and future extracurricular/co-curricular space needs and potential projects that increase community partnerships for the benefit of both students and the community;
- Identify renovations, additions, and/or new construction that will require additional funding to support our projected capacity and programming needs for current and future students and staff; and
- Increase communication with community members—especially those who do not have a connection to the school district—with the goal of informing the community and engaging the community in the Advisory Committee’s work.
The SSSD Advisory Committee submitted its recommendations to the school board on February 11, 2019. Read the recommendations here
How does the advisory committee’s work differ from the work of Community Committee for Education (CC4E)?
The Community Committee for Education (CC4E) started the work of researching ideas for a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure plan. It was instrumental in identifying issues in-and-beyond those represented in the November 2017 ballot issues. Building on the work of the Community Committee for Education (CC4E), the Advisory Committees’ will also be influenced by feedback from the roughly 865 people who completed the district’s perception survey in November 2017.
How is enrollment growth impacting Steamboat Springs School District?
Enrollment in Steamboat Springs School District has increased 24% over the past 10 years.
Steamboat Springs High School is nearing 97% building capacity, while the middle school is currently at 98% of capacity, and elementary school enrollment is at 113% of capacity.
Enrollment is expected to continue to grow .
The capacity of our facilities affects the programs and services we can provide including makers spaces, STEM labs, science classrooms, small group instruction, and special education rooms. In some cases, dedicated space for these programs is a hallway.
Exceeding the capacity of our facilities not only affects instruction, it also impacts common spaces such as the cafeteria and library and puts a strain on parking and drop-off/pick-up traffic.