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Extending the FFC8 Impact Statewide

Christy McGee

Sharing knowledge is important in public education. Things are always evolving because kids, parents, and expectations are always changing. District and school leaders do their best to stay on top of current issues and best practices. Opportunities like the Winter Conference held by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) are critical for school and district leader professional development.

At the 2023 CASE Winter Leadership Conference, leaders in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 (FFC8) were selected to present their expertise at three different sessions, sharing their knowledge and lessons learned from our school district with peers from across the state.

Dr. Cooper talks with former football player Peyton Manning at a conference

First, Dr. Lori Cooper, FFC8’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement and the current CASE President led the keynote discussion for the conference with former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning and Cooper discussed aspects of leadership that significantly impacted him during his athletic career and how those same aspects of leadership apply to school and district leaders.

Weikel Elementary Assistant Principal team of Melanie Baker and Noah Pogar presented a breakout session titled “A Systemic Approach to Feedback.” With a food-themed message, they presented to a packed room about how to ensure feedback is providing sustenance to the school system. Audience members left with examples and templates for feedback collection and an action plan that should help them nourish and refresh their feedback systems.

According to Pogar, the Weikel administration team spent some time preparing for this by “reflecting on what defines the ‘Weikel Way.’ We felt it was our systematic approach to feedback that attributes to student and teacher growth as well as strong parental relationships. It was truly an honor and a privilege to share our journey with other administrators across the state at CASE!” Baker added, “The more you implement feedback and are transparent about that, the more stakeholders feel comfortable sharing their thoughts/ideas! The room was busy with energy!”

As part of the pre-conference to this year’s event, FFC8 Assistant Director of Professional Development Joe Fabey, and Abrams Elementary Principal Lois Skaggs, presented the third workshop in a series on Aspiring to the Principalship. Session three was on effective feedback and managing difficult conversations, something that every professional, including aspiring principals, can use in the workplace. Participants learned about what can trigger conflict and how to respond, as well as when not to react. They also discussed ways to give feedback to teachers that will facilitate growth in them as professionals.

Weikel Admin give presentation using power point presentation

Fabey said, “we wanted to do this to invest in the future leaders of public education in Colorado. As much as schools need great teachers, they also need solid leaders to support the learning and culture that kids experience daily when they walk through our doors.”

Having experts like these on a team not only benefits FFC8 staff but ultimately FFC8 students. And by presenting at statewide events like the CASE Winter Leadership Conference, these FFC8 team members are able to extend their impact to districts and schools, and students across the state!