Dear LPS Families and Community Members,
Even though I’ve been officially serving as your LPS superintendent for just a few weeks, I already feel right at home, and I am eager to meet you and your students as we prepare to kick off the 2023–2024 school year. The LPS Board of Education and district leaders have helped make my transition a smooth one; I have been in regular contact with district staff, learning about the traditions and priorities of this community, and building relationships since last March. My family and I are getting settled into our new home and we have enjoyed many of the great things our new community has to offer. Thank you to the numerous people who have reached out to us to offer support. Your pride in LPS has shined through in each of those interactions.
Because of this smooth transition, I have already hit the ground running. In June, the Board of Education and district leadership participated in a retreat to clarify and prioritize our work for the upcoming year. Our efforts have and will continue to be centered on our district goal of ensuring that 100 percent of LPS students will graduate prepared for meaningful post-secondary opportunities. This is truly a systemwide goal that begins well before our students reach high school. Being prepared for life after graduation requires aligned practices that begin with our youngest learners and continue all the way through high school graduation.
How do we work toward this goal?
Our commitment to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) continues to be an effective method for reaching our district achievement goal. PLCs are organized around four essential questions for student learning. In this process, our teachers consider the needs of every learner as they sharpen their skills, share best practices, and evaluate the impact of their instruction. It is a process that brings out the best in our students and our instructional staff. LPS will continue to provide time for our teachers to do this important work. Additionally, we will continue to monitor student outcomes, look for opportunities for improvement, and make adjustments to meet the needs of all learners.
This community’s ongoing support for our schools through passage of the $298 million bond in 2018 and the $12 million mill levy override in 2020 has made possible much of the progress you see happening today. This August, we will open our EPIC Campus (Explorative Pathways for Innovative Careers) to over 900 students from our high schools. We are also opening Little Raven Elementary School this year as the newly combined home of East Elementary and Ralph Moody Elementary. The Village for Early Childhood Education will open this fall as well for our youngest learners. And, the new district stadium, LPS Centennial Stadium, will host its first events during 2023–2024. Plans are also underway to open the East Community Center this fall. I encourage you to drive by these beautiful facilities and visit them in the coming months.
We have challenges too, as do all Colorado school districts. We will continue to examine ways to adjust to declining enrollment, evaluate our current school boundaries, and maintain our high quality but aging facilities. We will address the performance gaps we see among our student groups, and we will continue to focus on the traits this community identified as the most important in the Portrait of an LPS Graduate.
It is clear why LPS stands out among Colorado school districts: the talented staff and leadership at both the school and district levels, a caring Board of Education focused on what is best for students, and tremendous family and community support are second to none.
Following Brian Ewert as superintendent is an honor; he was a strong leader for LPS and his commitment as a student- and community-focused superintendent will live on for many years. The Board of Education and staff have built a legacy of student-first practices and a shared commitment to partnering with our supportive community. My job as your new superintendent is to ensure that the work carries forward and that we maintain a school district of which the community can continue to be proud.
I expect to spend a great deal of time out in the schools and in the community in the coming months. If you see me, please don’t hesitate to take the time to introduce yourself. I’m excited to get started with this important work.
The first day of school for the 2023–2024 school year is on Tuesday, August 15. This change to the school year calendar was made at the May 23, 2023 Board of Education meeting after the Board received a recommendation from the Calendar Committee and an agreement with the Littleton Education Association (LEA). This additional instructional day was added as a result of the Board’s approval of increased instructional time at their April 27, 2023 meeting.
Additionally, start and end times for schools have been updated for 2023–2024 to accommodate a longer school day, another strategy approved by the Board for increased instructional time.
Healthy Hearts and Minds: Helping Your Child Have a Great Start to the School Year
Starting a new school year can bring excitement and joy, but it can also raise feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear. As your family prepares for a return to school, it is a great time to talk with your child about routines, expectations, and social dynamics. What are they most excited about? What are they worried about?
LPS believes in a “whole child” philosophy that places value on both the academic and the social-emotional factors involved in your child’s growth and development. We know that a student’s social-emotional wellbeing and sense of safety at school contribute to their success. We encourage you to have ongoing conversations with your child and work closely with your child’s school to understand the many resources and professionals available to support you.
LPS offers a variety of mental health programs for students and families. We provide guides for talking to your students about tough topics, coping mechanisms, and essential skills. We also have some links to helpful community resources. If you need support navigating these resources or want to make your school aware of your needs, find the mental health professionals in your school.
Recently, the surgeon general posted an advisory focused on social media and youth mental health. We encourage you to take a look at the content of their report and have conversations with your children about it. For more help in this area, please look at our district cybersafety page, and watch for our annual district-sponsored cyber savvy parenting class this fall.
Some students deal with the many challenges they face by cultivating unhealthy relationships with substances. This fall, the district will be showcasing the documentary Screenagers Under the Influence: Addressing Vaping, Drugs, and Alcohol in the Digital Age, as a way to help support our children with healthy decision-making, support mental health, set limits, and create healthy home environments.
If you have immediate concerns for the welfare of your child or someone else you know, please report your concerns to the appropriate resource. Remember, we are a community. We are stronger together.
Have a great school year!
Thanks to careful budgeting, our community’s passage of the Ops/Tech Debt Free Schools mill levy in 2020, and the Colorado Legislature’s decision to return a portion of the funds owed to public schools for the third year in a row, the LPS budget is in better shape right now than it has been in for many years.
This budget stability allowed LPS to address one of its highest Board priorities, which is to stay competitive with compensation, especially in the current environment of worker shortages. LPS was able to provide significant pay increases for all LPS employees. The timing was crucial as LPS works to stay competitive with surrounding school districts, local businesses, and neighboring governmental agencies.
LPS classified employees on average received a pay increase of approximately 10 percent, which went into effect January 1, 2023. This is the first time LPS has made a substantial, mid-year ongoing salary increase for classified employees. Beginning in the 2023–2024 school year, all LPS employees received a 4.5 percent pay increase over the previous year. In addition, the base pay for new teachers and special service providers increased to $51,275, up from $43,559 the previous year. The Board noted it was important to honor all employees with a much deserved pay increase, which also keeps LPS wages competitive and will help us attract and retain quality employees.
The LPS finance team wins national awards every year for its outstanding budgeting and accounting practices. This team prioritizes budgeting in order to provide the things our community values most: excellent teachers, quality programs, and a variety of support systems for all students. Learn more about the budgeting process on the financial transparency page of the district’s website.
Where does the money come from? (see page 16 of the Adopted Budget)
Where does the money go per student? (see page 19 of Adopted Budget)
Thank you to LPS voters for the opportunity to make exciting improvements throughout Littleton Public Schools! Investment in our educational infrastructure enables us to provide all students with the best possible opportunities and experiences.
What if you could graduate from high school with your industry certification to immediately start your career? If college is your plan, what if you could start your freshman year with credits for courses you took in high school that qualified for concurrent enrollment?
What if you could reach your goals sooner than you thought by being part of a program where you can pursue career-focused pathways?
That’s exactly what you can do at the Littleton Public Schools Explorative Pathways for Innovative Careers "EPIC" Campus. EPIC Campus will be opening to LPS high school students this fall, and it will provide opportunities for students to experience hands-on learning using state-of-the-art technology and innovative processes.
Educational pathways aligned to industry standards will focus on the following areas:
The learning experiences at the EPIC Campus will give students the opportunity to earn content credit required for graduation, industry certifications, free concurrent enrollment for college courses, and work-based learning.
Located in the heart of Littleton, the EPIC Campus is sure to be in high demand by a variety of students as they explore career options. LPS transportation will be provided to and from the home high school. Check out some frequently asked questions to learn more!
You’re invited to the EPIC Ribbon Cutting Celebration
Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
190 E. Littleton Blvd.
Littleton, CO 80121
Come be a part of something EPIC!
Little Raven Elementary School
Thanks to LPS voters’ approval of the $298 million bond and the district’s receipt of premium bond dollars, the 2018 bond program includes construction of a third new elementary school. Named by the Board of Education at their December 9, 2021 meeting, Little Raven Elementary School is opening this fall to serve the East and Ralph Moody elementary school communities in a state-of-the-art school. Little Raven will provide appropriate space for small and large group instruction, creativity, and innovation. It will include new playgrounds, playing fields, and parking to serve the neighborhood.
LPS is working to foster and continue a relationship between Little Raven Elementary School and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and it already promises to be one of learning, respecting, and honoring the history and culture of the Tribes.
The Little Raven mascot, the Thunderbolts, and the logo design were completed with input from the tribe. Fred Mosqueda, the Arapaho Coordinator for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, said, "The use of the mascot, Thunderbolts, is very appropriate as it goes well with the Arapaho Leader, Little Raven. As you see, the Arapaho had war shields that held the power to protect and to provide strength in battle. The most powerful shields pertained to the Thunderbird, which hurled thunderbolts down upon the enemy." Mr. Mosqueda, who was born into Little Raven's band, also said, “To have a name of a school from such a strong individual just means so much to the Arapaho and Cheyenne people down there in Oklahoma, and the ones that are living here that will recognize the fact that that name–Little Raven, Hóuusóó, Hosa, Little Raven–that’s who this school is named for. When we see that name, we’re going to look at it with pride. We’re going to know that it comes from somebody so strong in our people.”
(please note: the footage for the Little Raven Preview is several weeks old--much more progress has been made since then)
LPS Centennial Stadium
The Littleton Public Schools Centennial Stadium is located on the corner of Arapahoe Road and Colorado Boulevard. This new junior stadium provides the district with an additional lighted field and track with spectator seating for both school and community sports teams to use, and it will open in the coming months.
The Village for Early Childhood Education
The Village for Early Childhood Education is opening this fall and will be fully functional as the district’s centrally located, robust early childhood education center! Highland Elementary School was renovated to meet the needs of our youngest learners after the elementary school students moved into the new Gudy Gaskill Elementary School. A centrally located, dedicated early childhood education center allows LPS to keep and enhance the quality Village preschool model and robust programs our youngest learners deserve, while also meeting stringent federal and state requirements for both indoor and outdoor learning spaces.
The Village boasts some truly amazing learning spaces thanks in part to grants obtained in cooperation with the Littleton Public Schools Foundation. LPS preschoolers are going to love their state-of-the-art space this fall!
(click image to enlarge)
What is happening with LPS facilities that are no longer being used as schools?
It has long been LPS practice to continue to use buildings once they are no longer needed as school buildings. This ensures the buildings continue to be maintained, which is a huge benefit if they are ever again needed to be reopened as school buildings.
In the past several years, the district has done some major shifting, and the occupancy plans for some recently vacated buildings are as follows:
Making a Difference for ALL students at ALL schools.
With the help of Littleton Public Schools parents, community members, and businesses, the Littleton Public Schools Foundation (LPSF) raises funds to support each student’s unique path to success. Even in a thriving school district like LPS, school budgets have gaps. The LPSF fills the gaps by funding thoughtful opportunities that foster students’ academic, physical, and emotional development. Learn more and give here.
LPSF’s support focuses on six areas that directly affect student learning:
During the 2022–2023 school year, the Foundation gave more than $1 million to LPS, impacting each LPS school. They funded projects including virtual welding equipment for the EPIC Campus, translation services for East Community Center meetings, emergency counseling for students in distress, and a program that helps students dance their way to physical and mental wellness. They also awarded more than $100,000 in grants to educators and professional learning communities. Read more about these and other projects!
There are many opportunities to support students through the LPS Foundation. You can attend fundraising events like The Stride, the Tee Up for LPS Golf Tournament, or the Spirit Celebration, give online or participate in LPSF’s Colorado Gives efforts. The LPSF also needs volunteers to help at their events throughout the year. Learn about more ways to get involved.
Follow the LPS Foundation on social media!
Healthy School Meals for All
Thanks to voters, Proposition FF Healthy School Meals for All goes into effect this August, and Littleton Public Schools is opting in to this program! LPS Nutrition Services is committed to supporting academic success by nourishing students through healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch, and LPS is excited about extending this opportunity to every student. Breakfast and lunch are now free to families.
Opting in to Healthy School Meals for All will mean an increase in meal participation. Schools and Nutrition Services are already partnering in planning for how to accommodate additional students eating school meals with potential solutions including increased time for lunch and recruiting and hiring additional nutrition services staff. If you are interested in working a position with the Nutrition team check out openings on the LPS website. (add link if digital)
It is still important for families to apply for free and reduced-price meal benefits because this data directly impacts LPS’s funding. Families who qualify can potentially receive additional benefits throughout the district, such as decreased or waived fees for some elective classes, athletic events, etc. Additionally, LPS utilizes the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals to secure funding for certain programs and applications for grants. Applications for Meal and other Benefits will be available by August 1st.
Check out Nutrition Services’ website for Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy School Meals for All!
Did you know that we have several scratch-made recipes on our menus? We are proud to say our meals are taste-tested and kid-approved. We incorporate local ingredients, whole grains, and the colors of the rainbow in our fruits and vegetable choices. Menus can be found at www.lpsnutrition.com.
Our Online Menu and Payment Portal
Do you want to see what your student is eating? Do you want to add money to their account for them to pick up one of our nutritionally regulated Smart Snacks? Head over to linqconnect.com or download the LINQ connect app to check out their purchasing activity, see menus, and apply for free and reduced lunch.
Follow LPS Nutrition Services on social media!
For more information, call 303.347.336 or visit www.lpsnutrition.com
The LPS class of 2023 graduated during the last full week in May. 449 students graduated from Arapahoe High School, 403 graduated from Heritage High School, 286 graduated from Littleton HIgh School, 36 graduated from Options Secondary Program, and 10 graduated from Transition Services Program. All the ceremonies had a palpable feeling of accomplishment. This was well-earned, as the class of 2023 earned over $74 million in scholarships for their post-secondary education, and includes:
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! May your futures be bright and filled with wonderful opportunities!
Parent Portal: Parents and Guardians: Please verify your contact information and contact preferences in your Parent Portal account in Infinite Campus. You can choose which phone numbers and email addresses receive messages from your school and the district. Thank you for helping us communicate with you in the ways you prefer! We have developed new communication protocols and will be sending text messages to families during emergency and crisis situations. Text messages will be brief and factual, and more detailed information will be posted on our Emergency Information page.