LPS students head back to school: 5 things to know

Full-day kindergarten, bond projects and elections on the horizon

Posted 8/5/19

Wrap up that back-to-school shopping, because classes start at Littleton Public Schools on Aug. 16. Here are five things to know before the first bell rings. Full-day kindergarten begins …

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LPS students head back to school: 5 things to know

Full-day kindergarten, bond projects and elections on the horizon

Posted

Wrap up that back-to-school shopping, because classes start at Littleton Public Schools on Aug. 16. Here are five things to know before the first bell rings.

Full-day kindergarten begins

Kindergartners across the district will have access to tuition-free full-day kindergarten this fall, after the Colorado Legislature passed House Bill 19-1262 this spring.

LPS previously offered tuition-free full-day kindergarten at five schools, but new state funding expands the program across the district.

Research suggests kids who attend full-day kindergarten develop better academic and social skills, according to an LPS news release.

“Full-day kindergarten for all students has been a priority for LPS elementary principals for many years,” said Kathleen Ambron, the district's director of elementary education. “A full-day program allows us to really get to know our youngest learners and meet the individual needs of students.”

New athletic facilities ready for play

Student athletes will find updated facilities at several schools, part of a sweeping $298 million bond approved by voters last fall that will see changes across the district.

Arapahoe High School, Heritage High School and Euclid Middle School all got one artificial turf field this summer, which district officials say will be safer and more durable. Each high school will have one lighted practice field.

Powell and Goddard middle schools will get artificial turf fields this fall, and more will be added at the district's high schools and middle schools will be added in coming summers.

Newton Middle School will also get a junior stadium, but construction on that facility won't start until summer of 2020.

The improved athletic facilities are welcome changes, said Terry Davis, the district's director of operations, as athletics are growing in popularity.

“When these buildings were built, we didn't have lacrosse or girl's soccer,” Davis said. “Now, we don't just have more sports, but we have more levels in each sport.”

Programs are being moved ahead of construction

This part gets confusing, so follow along carefully: As part of the 2018 bond, Ames Elementary, which has housed a preschool and TLC Meals on Wheels for the past 10 years, will be torn down and rebuilt, at which point it will become an elementary school. The demolition is currently underway in phases, with TLC expected to move out just before Christmas.

The preschool previously housed at Ames has been moved to Highland Elementary, where it will occupy a new temporary wing alongside elementary students, until Highland becomes solely an early childhood education center.

That won't happen until Franklin Elementary is replaced with a new building, which isn't expected to happen until 2021 or 2022, though this year will be status quo for Highland students.

Newton Middle School will also get a new facility and see its current building torn down, but construction won't start until next summer.

Lots more bond work being done

There's lots more action on the 2018 bond going on around the district. A sampling:

  • Projects to improve access for students with disabilities are ongoing districtwide, with Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms going in at Centennial Academy, Peabody Elementary and Littleton High School. ADA-compliant ramps are being added at numerous schools.
  • Littleton Preparatory Academy is getting a new roof.
  • Four schools are getting kitchen upgrades.
  • Arapahoe High School's pool is getting a new HVAC system.
  • Assessments are ongoing at the Ralph Schomp dealership beside Littleton High School, which is slated to become a Career and Technology Education center in coming years.
  • Studies and training are underway for planned new furniture and fixtures that will encourage collaborative classroom instruction.

Elections are coming

Two seats are up for grabs on Littleton Public Schools' five-seat board of education this fall.

Board secretary Robert Reichardt will seek reelection, but assistant secretary Jim Stephens will not, as his family plans to move out-of-state, according to an LPS news release.

In addition to Reichardt, three other candidates have declared: Christine Copp, Lindley McCrary and Jessica Roe.

As of the Aug. 1 campaign contribution filing deadline, neither Copp nor McCrary had reported any donations.

Reichardt reported campaign contributions of $1,500, while Jessica Roe — who made headlines last spring as the face of a largely anonymous coalition alleging a toxic culture at Arapahoe High School — reported contributions of nearly $3,500, with the vast majority coming out of her own pocket.

The last LPS board election, in 2017, was canceled due to a lack of candidates.

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