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BOARD OF EDUCATION ISSUES AFFIRMING EVALUATION OF SUPERINTENDENT MACALUSO
In her fifth year at the helm of Pueblo School District 60, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso continues to be a “strong and effective leader, who is diligent, intentional, and strategic. She continues to exhibit strong written and verbal communication skills, is willing to constructively and cooperatively solve problems, and always keeps a focus on what is best for kids.”
So notes an evaluation issued by the D60 Board of Education, whose duties include an annual assessment of the Superintendent and her performance as the District’s leader.
As the Board’s most important areas of focus are “ensuring a safe, supportive, and effective learning environment through resources and organizational management, enhancing instructional leadership by implementing and cultivating a shared vision, exemplifying leadership and a commitment to high standards in significantly challenging times, and a greater focus on communication with families and community stakeholders,” it is the Board’s belief that Superintendent Macaluso “has met or exceeded expectations in many areas of District operations.”
It is Superintendent Macaluso’s approach to resource and organizational management that continues to address urgent needs of the District. The results this approach can be seen in the historic $218 million bond approved by voters that was preceded by an award-winning Master Facilities Plan process that engaged community stakeholders. It’s this plan that continues to guide the District in evaluating building conditions and prioritizing repairs.
Through her leadership efforts, the District secured two highly competitive BEST Grants totaling $32 million that will allow for the replacement of two aging schools. BEST Grants also were secured to replace HVAC systems at Heritage Elementary School and Risley International Academy of Innovation.
Through the exceptional management of the 4A Bond Projects and the premiums from the actual bond sales, the Bond Program will see the District ultimately build two new high schools, two new elementary schools, and a new K-8 expeditionary school, in addition to repairs to 11 other buildings.
Achievements and gains also can be seen in the classroom, despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic.
The District continues to see its dropout rate fall and its four-year on-time graduation rate rise. Once again, the District’s graduation rate exceeded the State mark.
To align curriculum and instruction with assessments and state requirements, Superintendent Macaluso oversaw the adoption and implementation of a K-5 music curriculum, a secondary math curriculum, a secondary ELA curriculum, as well as a Districtwide K-12 assessment system.
She also convened a stakeholder task force to design a new K-8 Online School that is now in its first year of operation.
Notably, through the identification of needs and supports for schools assigned with Priority Improvement and Turnaround Plans, only one school remained on Turnaround status in the 2020 school year: significantly down from the eight on Turnaround status in 2016.
With the COVID virus continuing to be an issue, Superintendent Macaluso’s guidance and vision have enabled the District to navigate these challenging waters and keep schools open.
“The Board commends Superintendent Macaluso for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the evaluation. “She led the District in developing and implementing a system and process to manage COVID quarantines for cohorts, with nearly 300 COVID-related team meetings held.”
In another historic achievement, the District secured a two-year agreement that reflects a beginning teacher salary over $40,000 and a 10% salary increase over two years with collective bargaining units.
Through a heightened focus on external communication to stakeholders, the community and in some instances the state, Superintendent Macaluso continues to foster a positive image of the District and heralding of the accomplishments of its scholars, in the classroom and on the competition field.
This focus includes the implementation of a new logo and branding message and the launching of a new D60 website, which features a consistent layout across all schools and a new, user-friendly design. A new mobile app has been launched, thereby bringing the informational power of the website, social media feeds, and important alerts to one convenient location.
“A positive narrative of the District has been consistently promoted through positive messages, information, and features including videos and featured stories,” the evaluation notes.
The Board encourages the Superintendent to pursue professional growth and improvement to ensure that the progress the District is enjoying continues. Additionally, “The Board recognizes that family and community engagement have been incredibly challenging to build on in the midst of a pandemic and ever changing circumstances. We also recognize the need for continued involvement and support from the community for the sustained success of the District and our students.
“With that said, the Board would urge Superintendent Macaluso to place a focus on spending more time in the schools and strive to engage in opportunities to represent the District in the community.”
In closing, the Board reaffirmed its support of the Superintendent and her efforts in leading the District, its staff, and scholars.
“The Board remains impressed with Superintendent Macaluso's dedication, commitment and willingness to collaborate with the Board as we look beyond the unusual and challenging 2020-2021 school year and move forward together into the future.
“It is with sincere gratitude that we submit this evaluation and commend Mrs. Macaluso for her genuine heart for all children and ensuring they receive a strong foundation for learning.”
After hearing Board President Taylor Voss read the evaluation, Superintendent Macaluso replied, “I appreciate your kind words and affirmations. I want to acknowledge that this has been an incredibly difficult time to serve in public education, as the global pandemic continues to loom, and we continue to navigate all of the evolving and various challenges we are faced with. And in spite of the challenges, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the Pueblo community and D60 in this capacity.”
The District, the Superintendent said, has played a pivotal role in her development as a person and leader.
“D60 has been part of shaping who I am for nearly 50 years, as a student and professional. So to be able to give back to an organization that has given so much to me is incredibly gratifying,” she said.
Superintendent Macaluso then commended the outstanding leadership displayed by the D60 Board of Education. And while disagreements or differing viewpoints may arise, “I know that the true north of this board lies in what is in the best interest of kids. And we are able to accomplish and advance many successes because we have a very effective and high-functioning Board.
“It’s an honor to work alongside each of you.”
Also acknowledged by the Superintendent was the D60 Administrative Team, whose dedicated efforts allow her vision – no matter how grand -- to be implemented.
“Even when the ideas sound impossible and unattainable – ‘if we’re building two schools can we build four? Can’t we squeeze out a fifth building?’ – our D60 Team gets busy and they chart the course to pave the way to make great things happen for our community,” Superintendent Macaluso said. “Every success and every achievement is a result of teamwork: each member of the Team believes in the mission of D60.”
The Superintendent then extended her gratitude to the administrators, teachers and support staff who, on a daily basis, ensure that the District’s scholars are given the best possible environment for learning and growing into productive citizens.
“What I’m most proud of is the work that happens each and every day in our schools and in our classrooms,” she continued. “Our administrators, teachers and support staff are second to none. They dedicate their time and talents to making a difference in the lives of our scholars, and they do it with such resilience and love.”
All that is to come should be embraced with optimism and hope.
“The future of District 60 is bright and I look forward to continuing the work and continuing on this journey,” she concluded.