Greetings Past, Present and Future Tigers!

I want to start by saying “THANK YOU” again to the La Junta community for all of your support for La Junta Schools.  It is with great excitement and anticipation that I am able to let everyone know that we are days away from breaking ground on the Primary School Construction Project.  The official groundbreaking will be Wednesday, August 15 at 10 a.m.  Without the financial and moral support of our voters, nothing would have been possible!  The temporary one-year move was stressful and challenging but the teamwork of our staff, the City of La Junta, and overall community made it very manageable and I am proud to say that East School is ready to rock and roll.  We know that there will be some logistic challenges in the upcoming year and nothing is ever perfect.  But with the continued support of our “Tiger Nation,” I know it will go well and a year from now we will be celebrating the opening of West School campus again.

Our community and business support is second to none!  This summer and the upcoming year is highlighted by the partnerships between our schools, businesses, and the City of La Junta to improve our facilities and opportunities for our kids.  Thank you First National Bank of Las Animas, Colorado Bank and Trust, The State Bank of La Junta, Lewis Bolt and Nut and Digicom for your generous contributions to get new top of the line scoreboards for Tiger Gym.  Also, the partnership between the City of La Junta, Inspiration Field and the High School has provided the opportunity to improve the Tiger Learning Center (TLC) to be a full day program which will incorporate online learning for core classes like English, Math, Social Studies and Science.  Along with those core classes, real hands-on workforce readiness experience will help fill elective credits where students will learn basic construction trades, maintenance, landscaping, painting, plumbing, electrical and other work skills.  You will see our students in the community working to improve parks, buildings and other areas while gaining useful experience to help them to into the workforce after graduation.  Those kids will be identified as the W.O.R.K. Generation.  WORK stands for Workforce Opportunity Readiness Kids!  This has been something our community has asked to provide for our students and after several years of discussion, we are jumping in with both feet and providing the opportunity.  It will be housed at the old South School (old Inspiration Field).

I would like to take the time to apologize to our parents and students for any confusion tied to the Late Start program this fall.  We wanted to improve our test participation rates and performance and this is our first attempt at the program.  I will start by letting you know that our participation rate was awesome this year and that goal was met.  On the other hand, it remains to be seen if our reading and math scores improve with the focused attention some of our students will receive in the first 2 weeks of this year.  We had the best intentions but we really struggled this summer and our communication really could have been better aligned and clearer for you as parents and students.  Thanks for your understanding and patience.  

Our Intermediate School welcomes a new leader.  Mike Aragon will be assuming the role of principal in the building.  We wish to thank Mrs. Woodyard for her years of dedication and service to La Junta Schools as she leaves the principal role to pursue an opportunity at our BOCES.  The Intermediate is facing the challenge of being a turnaround school, but the energy and staff are ready to work to improve the performance and opportunities for our students.  It will continue to be a TEAM effort with the parents and community to get the job done.  We will be working extremely hard this year on building better relationships with parents and students.  This includes a dedicated effort to SEL (Social Emotional Learning).  We are always working to do better!  With this in mind, we are excited to be offering a tutoring program with the partnership with the Childeren’s Literacy Foundation.  We have over 50 tutors signed up to help our kids improve reading at the elementary level.  This is just another great way that many of the members of our community can step up to help.  Please contact Mrs. Haberman at the Primary or Mr. Aragon at the Intermediate if you are interested in volunteering as a reading tutor for the program.

As we move forward into the 18-19 year, I want to remind everyone to look twice for students crossing streets and please slow down your speed in our school zones.  We are always thinking of ways to promote safety for our students and student drop-off/pick-up is always a challenge.  The area of 10th and Smithland can be tough to see in the mornings heading east.  Also, the parking lots at East School are limited in size and space.  Please be patient as we work to develop a new system for our primary kids to get to and from school.  We are asking that parents who drop off students allow us to get them from the car in the appropriate lane since there is really no place to park and physically walk your student to the building.  

We are fortunate to be able to continue with our Donnell Kay Foundation grant to provide some activities on Fridays for our students.  Be on the lookout for upcoming dates of activities.  We have built partnerships with the La Junta Library, Southeast Health Group, Communities that Care, La Junta Parks and Recreation, and Otero Junior College.  If you have a group or personally would like to sponsor a Friday activity, please contact me here at the central office at 719-384-6900.

We are continuously trying to improve communication of events and activities within our school.  Please check our website for schedules and calendars for events at all of our schools.  

Finally, as we embark on the 18-19 year, I can’t express enough how fortunate and proud I feel to be part of the “Tiger Nation.”  The support and energy that is generated around our kids warms my heart and keeps me going.  Thank you all!