State recommends closing Adams City HS, district reorganization

Superintendent refutes "nonfactual findings," "unsupported recommendations"

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com, Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/16/22

The state of the Adams 14 School District was on the mind of Superintendent Karla Loria, so much so that she updated the community on Facebook last week.

Dear Members of Team Adams 14,

As you …

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State recommends closing Adams City HS, district reorganization

Superintendent refutes "nonfactual findings," "unsupported recommendations"

Posted

DENVER -- A state review panel thinks Adams City High School should be closed and the entire Adams 14 School District reorganized.

Adams 14 Superintendent Karla Loria fired back on Facebook, saying the report was full of "nonfactual findings" and "unsupported recommendations." She also said the district was looking at legal options.

The state board of education controls Adams 14 after several years of low test scores. In September, the Adams 14 board of education voted to cut ties with its outside management firm, citing financial irregularities and followed that with a public request for the state to leave the district alone.

Two accountability cases from Adams 14 are before the state board of education. One is for the district and for Adams City High School. The other is for Central Elementary School. A state board of education accountability meeting is set for Thursday, April 14. The board's website said it may direct one or more solutions, including innovation status, conversion of schools to charter schools, school closures and district reorganization. Public comment closes Friday, April 8.

The 32-page report did not recommend innovation status, management by a public or private entity other than the district or conversion of schools to charter schools. Instead, the six-person committee suggested a combination of closing one or more schools and district reorganization or consolidation.

"There is evidence of lack of leadership capacity and stability at the district's highest levels to lead turnaround work effective to increase student achievement gains," the committee said. "Additionally, Adams City High School continues to perform at a low level, and there is a lack of a prioritized plan for the school and its students, who likely have better options that are geographically close to their homes."

The committee said while some in the community would like to see present leadership stay on board, "many stakeholders also expressed significant concern regarding the district's current culture and the ability of its leadership to guide turnaround efforts or unite a community in those efforts."

The committee cited a culture of fear and retaliation, a lack of "sound financial and human resource practices "and the overall limited improvement in student achievement and growth over many years."

Loria addressed the uncertainty about the future of the district and that of district employees. She said regardless of the next steps from the state, "every teacher currently employed and in good standing in the district can be confident that their contract with remain in effect for the rest of this school year as well as the upcoming school year."

"We have kids to teach and families to serve. You are the fundamental catalyst for these efforts," the post said.

Loria acknowledged potential confusion about the available options to the district, but she also said "your continued efforts in our schools will remain critical to our progress and that will have a pivotal role to play" in the district's future.

Loria said the state's narrative "sows uncertainty and fear" within the district. She called that a "disservice to our kids as well as to all of you."

"Nothing would be more unfair to the students and families we serve than to lose the transformational educators making a difference in their lives based on disingenuous messaging from outside this district," her post said. " You will be a part of our long-term future as well as that of our students, and we ask for you to make relevant decisions based on the real facts rather than fearmongering or innuendo."

She offered future opportunities to question district leadership, the Adams 14 board and the Adams 14 teachers union.

"We know these external events are unsettling, and for that reason are even more grateful to you for your continued commitment to our students, families, and community," Loria's post said. " Thank you for all that you do to ensure that the education of all of our students remains consistent, high-quality, and protected from the actions and rhetoric of external parties who do not share our commitment to their success."

Adams 14 School District, Colorado Board of Education, Karla Loria, low test scores

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