I had the pleasure of getting to interview the Superintendent of Saint Vrain Valley School District; Don Haddad, on June 12, 2018. Below are the questions I asked and answers he gave. I plan to speak with him, in a few months, after school starts up again to cover more subjects.
Q: What message do you have for families regarding parent involvement?
A: Parent involvement is crucial and the single most important factor to student success!
Q: How can parents help improve the schools?
A: Parents need to get involved. There are many ways they can do this including, but not limited to, taking part in Leadership Saint Vrain ( http://www.svvsd.org/leadership/committees/leadership-st-vrain ), being part of Grassroots St Vrain ( http://www.grassrootsstvrain.org ), being active in your school’s PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) you can find more informtion on your school’s PTO by asking the Principal of your school, and you can also help by being an ambassador working with the schools to advocate to legislators.
Q: How can parents be involved to bridge the gap between school and home?
A: Parents should make sure their children are well rested and well fed for school, help with their homework if needed and ask them about their day. Parents can check attendance and grades on Infinite Campus ( https://ic.svvsd.org/campus/portal/stvrain.jsp ), and should touch base with their children’s teachers regularly and ask about their behavior when talking to the teacher. Ultimately, be an active partner in the day to day education of your children.
Q:If a parent is truly concerned about school safety, who should they speak to or write to about it?
A: If a parent has concerns about safety they should first speak to the school’s Principal. If they feel they need to go beyond the Principal, after talking to them first, they can reach out to the Area Assistant Superintendent (http://www.svvsd.org/leadership/assistant-superintendents each school has a designated person). Parents can also reach out to the School Resource Officer at their school, if you don’t know who that is, ask the Principal and they will help you get in contact with the right person. If you have taken these steps and still are not satisfied that your concerns are being addressed you can reach out to Stacey Davis-Gahagen, Head of the School District School Safety, at firstname.lastname@example.org . You also can reach out to me (Don Haddad, Superintendent of SVVSD) email@example.com
*The following link has additional information on school safety not mentioned in the interview, but I felt it would be helpful. http://www.svvsd.org/schools/safety-and-security
Q: What are some ways you can recommend for parents to stay involved in their children’s education during the summer?
A: There are lots of summer programs. The best way to find out what summer opportunities your school offers is to speak to your school’s Principal.
Q: Where is the school supply list available?
A: You can find the school supply list for Preschool, Elementary and Middle school; in English and Spanish, at this link. http://www.svvsd.org/about/departments/learning-services/school-supplies High school students will most likely receive their supply list on the first day of class because of the variety of supplies needed depending on what classes are being taken.
Q: Where can families go if they need help with getting school supplies?
A: The Education Foundation for St Vrain Valley can help with school supplies. Speak to your school’s Principal and they will be able to help you get in contact with the right people, click the link for more information on Education Foundation for St Vrain Valley. http://www.efsvv.org/
Q: What do parents need to know before school starts?
A: Parents should know what courses their children will be taking, what time school starts and what resources the school uses for communication to parents. They also should know what sports and programs; like art, drama, ect., the school offers. It is important to know who your children’s teachers are and how to reach them; read the Code of Conduct Book that is given out to each student each year and needs to be signed and returned (this link has it in English and Spanish http://www.svvsd.org/schools/discipline-and-conduct ), and know about required immunizations https://studentservices.svvsd.org/health-services/immunizations
Q: What other important information would you like parents to know?
A: It is important for parents to know who their children’s friends are, what they do on social media, keep an eye on their grades and; most importantly, stay involved.