Becky’s Blog: We’re All in This Together – Featuring Dr. Pamela Swanson, Guest Blogger

“Each of us can make a difference. Together we make change.” – Barbara Mikulski
Greetings Friends,
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Each of us carries uniquely created gifts, talents, ideas, dreams and hopes that we have the ability to use to affect change in ourselves, our families, our jobs, and our community. In one lifetime, a single person has the ability to impact 80,000 people! Now, imagine with me, if instead of working individually, we began to come together to combine the impact we could make – the exponential impacts are gargantuan. Barbara Mikulski said is best when she said, “Each of us can make a difference. Together we make change.”

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So, together, we can make change, but is has to be intentional and focused. At the Youth Initiative of Adams County (ACYI), we and our Partners are intentionally focused on collectively working together to impact community-wide outcomes by utilizing our outcomes focused framework: coming together around a shared vision, making decisions rooted in data, strategically collaborating using continuous improvement practices, aligning efforts and investing in what works.

One of ACYI’s Partners has been championing this collaborative, outcomes focused work – Westminster Public Schools, who have not only been innovative, but also instrumental in setting the standard in collaborative work throughout the ACYI Partnership. Together, with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver, Scholars Unlimited after school program, the City of Westminster, Hyland Hills, and YMCA of the Rockies, this coalition of organizations has expanded after school and summer programs – ensuring all kids have the tools and support they need along their journeys from cradle to career.

Please join me in welcoming our Guest Blogger, Dr. Pamela Swanson, Westminster Public Schools Superintendent, as she shares more insight about their efforts.

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Take it away Dr. Swanson…

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Until next time,

Becky Hoffman
Chief Executive Officer
Youth Initiative of Adams County

 


GUEST BLOG: Dr. Pamela Swanson, Westminster Public Schools Superintendent

Pictured Here: Dr. Pamela Swanson, Superintendent of Westminster Public Schools, addresses the community at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new Westminster Boys & Girls Club

As Superintendent of Westminster Public Schools and a lifelong educator, I am often asked, “What does it take to successfully educate children in the 21st century?” A part of my answer always includes the acknowledgement that, “No one does it alone.”

One of our long-time partners is the Youth initiative of Adams County, which is why it was so gratifying to receive the “Outstanding Outcomes” award at the recent Catalyst for Change Breakfast. During the awards ceremony, ACYI recognized the work of the Westminster Children’s Initiative, which is a group of community leaders that meets four times a year to figure out the best use of available resources to support children when they are not in school.

My team put the group together several years ago to, in my words, “give a bear hug to our students when they are not with us.”

ACYI was one of the first groups to join the effort and their experience, advice, and input has been critically important to our work.

Pictured Here: The Westminster community gathers for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new Westminster Boys & Girls Club

On October 9th, we celebrated the opening of the Westminster Boys & Girls Club with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Hidden Lake High School. Becky Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer of ACYI was, appropriately enough, with us for the event. You can view some of the highlights here. The Boys & Girls Club is an important component of our efforts to provide students with a safe, welcoming environment in the hours after school gets out and before parents get home from work. In addition to sports and arts and crafts, students also receive help with their homework. Boys & Girls Club, with our nutrition services company, Chartwells, provides a nourishing meal for children.

Pictured Here: A Westminster Public Schools student works on an art project

The dream of bringing a Boys & Girls club to our community has been around for some time, but making it a reality was a major undertaking involving many partners.

The WPS Board of Education helped lead the effort by reaching out to the Boys & Girls of Metro Denver and asking many hard questions about what it would take to bring a club to Westminster. As you might imagine, there were significant financial and logistical issues that needed to be resolved.

In the end, we chose Hidden Lake High School, in the heart of our district as the location for the club, and were able to develop a transportation plan to bring students from their home school to the club at Hidden Lake. Our maintenance and operations staff did a phenomenal job of retrofitting a part of the building to meet the needs of young students and fulfill the Boys & Girls Club criteria for a first class environment.

In addition to funding from the school district, the 21st Century Community Learning Center provided a significant five-year grant and on the night of the ribbon cutting ceremony, Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison announced that the city council had voted to commit $50,000 from the coming budget to support the program.

We selected Taylor Sumter as the Club Director and she is assisted by a wonderful staff committed to enriching the lives of young people in our community.

As I said, no one does this alone.

Enrollment at the Westminster Boys & Girls Club is open to all WPS students and interested parents can learn about the Westminster Club’s offerings in the flyer online. To enroll in the Westminster Boys & Girls Clubemail info@bgcmd.org and reference “Westminster Club Program Information” in the subject line. .

Sincerely,
  
Dr. Pamela Swanson
Superintendent
Westminster Public Schools

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