Cañon City Schools

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Colorado Association of Schools Boards named the Cañon City School District Board of Education the 2019 All-State Board!

The selection process asks for evidence of how a board advanced student success, demonstrated leadership, used sound reasoning and strong ethics in its decision-making, continuously developed its members individually and as a team, and displayed excellence and consistency in responding to challenges or issues the board and community faced.

Some excerpts from Cañon City's nomination include the following:

The Cañon City Fremont RE-1 board of education uses sound reasoning and strong ethics in its decision-making process.

The Board’s handling of Great Recession financial cuts by placing a high priority on people is a prime example of this. This is also evident through the cultivation of model certified and classified association relationships. Additionally, this has been accomplished through the codification of a set of core beliefs to which staff and the board itself is held accountable. These include:

1. We meet the social-emotional needs of all students, putting Maslow before Bloom.
2. We believe learning growth matters most, requires risk-taking, and the work we do in our schools has the greatest impact on this.
3. We’re future-focused, believing the development of certain traits and skills will best prepare our students for ever-changing careers.
4. We emphasize what is good for kids over the needs and comfort of adults.

A key way the Board exhibited sound reasoning and ethics was by choosing to allow schools to administer the BIMAS Social-Emotional screener tool to all secondary students beginning with the 18-19 school year. This brought to light the many struggles CCSD students experience on a daily basis, setting in motion a need to address them. As a result, the District now has the data needed to expand community partnerships providing students with the social-emotional and substance abuse counseling they needed all along. This effort has received statewide and even national attention.


The Cañon City Fremont RE-1 board of education has advanced student success by engaging students, staff, and community in designing an education system of the future, focused on the development of specific traits and skills that will be of value to citizens for years to come.

In 2012, the Board initiated a strategic planning process to transition Cañon City High School to a career pathways model. Though it took five years, hundreds of hours of broad-based community and staff engagement, and recovery from a failed mill-override election, in fall 2017 Cañon City High School 9th graders entered a school program created by and for students. The Class of 2021 experienced a Freshman Base Camp offering broad educational choice, instruction relevant to career exploration, the ability to meet Colorado’s revised high school graduation requirements, and an opportunity to graduate with an endorsement in one of four career clusters. Additionally, every member of this class and all who follow will complete a rigorous capstone project before earning their diploma and are benefitting from more than 100 community business partnerships that allow them to participate in relevant intern and apprentice experiences before graduation, an accomplishment nearly unheard of in a rural setting. This student-centered/student-driven culture paid off immediately during the 17-18 school year when a Cañon City High School Technical Writing class wrote and submitted a P-TECH grant application aimed at providing fellow students opportunities to engage more deeply in STEM education, complete STEM-based internships, and earn Associates Degrees in STEM-related fields, at no personal cost. With the award of this grant, Cañon City became the first rural school in the US to earn a P-TECH program. The result? Cañon City Schools is now recognized as an Exemplar District, featured by the Colorado Education Initiative as a must place to visit through the Homegrown Taken Initiative and Cañon City High School received a 2019 Succeeds Award for outstanding STEM education.

On Friday, December 6th Larry Oddo, Lloyd Harwood, Mary Kay Evans, Shad Johnson, and Robin Reeser will be invited to the stage at the Broadmoor International Hall in Colorado Springs to accept this honor in a room full of school board members from all over the state of Colorado.