Looking back on years of poor performance, leaders in the Adams 14 school district considered taking a rare step: saying sorry. But an apology letter to the community was never signed nor sent out.
Chalkbeat obtained a copy of the September letter that district administrators and board members were to have signed.
“Despite our well-intentioned tactics to get the district out of turnaround, six generations of school boards and four different superintendents and their administrations (including the current leadership) have not worked well together,” the draft letter states. “As a result, our various and conflicting priorities, coupled with the constant turnover and organizational disarray, have produced unacceptable results.”
The letter was written as administrators in the long-struggling suburban district learned that, for the eighth year in a row, students had not met state expectations in reading and math, and the district likely would face additional state sanctions. Multiple sources told Chalkbeat there was internal disagreement about the wording and tone of the letter. Several different drafts were presented, but without agreement, none were finalized or published.
District leaders did not respond to a request for comment about the draft letter.
The district has been working on improving community engagement with a consultant, Team Tipton.
The school board recently agreed to a $150,000 contract for the second phase of a two-year process “proven to be a transformational tool to help the district overcome historical dysfunction, drive a sense of integration and alignment, and set the platform for future success,” according to the resolution approved by the board.
A Team Tipton analysis of community opinion found a high level of distrust for the district, but also optimism about the future.
Some board members and the consultant team have prodded district officials to think more critically about the district’s performance, but many administrators in the district disagree with negative portrayals.
On Wednesday, district officials will explain their plans for improving student performance to the State Board of Education, whose members have the authority to order external management or more drastic interventions.
Here’s the letter in its entirety: