The survey program was approved by the board of education in July. A committee made up of DCSD employees and School board President Meghann Silverthorn chose Denver-based research firm Corona Insights from seven survey companies.
The goal of the meetings is to "understand the opinions, priorities, and perceptions of constituency groups regarding public education in Douglas County and to use this data to inform and develop future priorities and direction," according to Corona Insights.
Those who cannot attend the meetings are able to provide input and comments online at dcsdk12.org/district/community-survey by clicking the "Let's Talk" tab.
Employee Town Hall: (Open to DCSD employees only)
Wednesday, Aug. 24 6:30 p.m., Douglas County High School
Wednesday, Aug. 31 6 p.m., Legend High School
Community Town Hall:
Thursday, Aug. 25 6:30 p.m., Castle View High School
Coach: Mark Robinson
2015 record: 1-9
League: Mt. Lincoln
Players to watch: Kobe Eller, RB, Sr.; Austin Johnson, OL, Soph.; Drake Nugent, OL, soph.; Cal Neubert, OL, Sr.; Ray Robinson, DB/WR, Soph.; Kaden Lathrop, WR, Sr.
Team strength: Team speed.
Team weakness: Team size and maturity.
From the coach: "If the team works together and can fight through some adversity this team should be very competitive this season."
Coach: Ric Cash
2015 record: 8-3
League: Mt. Evans
Players to watch: Judd Erickson, QB, Sr.; Kellen Parker, WR, Sr.; Zach Hammer, FS, Sr.; Tristan Dean, WR, Sr.; Jacob Reese, WR, Sr.; Chad Long, RB, Sr.; Jack Davis, OG, Sr.; Ben Hildebrand, OL, Jr.; Killian Ward, DT, Jr.; Jake Frane, DE, Sr.; Charlie Palmer, SS, Sr.
Team strengths: Returning quarterback, a strong receiving corps, solid running back and a strong defensive line.
Team weakness: Rebuilt offensive line and just three returning defensive starters.
From offensive coordinator T.J. Rubley: "We have a very good collection of players that need time to grow in our systems. Our kids are very smart and will have a tough schedule to prove their toughness."
Coach: Brian Lamb
2015 record: 5-5
League: Mt. Evans
Players to watch: Eric Hommel, WR, Sr.; Cade Chapman, OL, Jr.; Michael Keen, WR, Sr.; Griffin Cahey, OL, Jr.; Ryan Fichtner, S, Jr.; Brandon Martinez, LB, Sr.; Trevor Williams, DL, Jr.; Zach Hanna, LB, Jr.
Team strength: Experience, with many juniors returning who gained experience as sophomores.
Team weakness: Lack of depth at many positions with only 13 seniors on the roster.
From the coach: "We have continued to improve at Rock Canyon over the last three year. I believe we will have our best team yet in the last four years. We play a very tough schedule this year, so we will have to raise our level of play every week."
Coach: Joe Johnson
2015 record: 7-5
League: Mt. Cameron
Players to watch: Heston Paige, OT, Sr.; Zeke Johnson, TB, Sr.; Andy Hopper, S, Sr.; Brody Perkins, S, Sr.; Vic Lavigne, QB, Sr.; Cam Cunningham, DE, Sr.; Tayven Bray, OG, Jr.
Team strength: Great depth in skill positions with returning starters in most spots.
Team weakness: Lack depth on the lines so staying healthy will be a key.
From the coach: "I am very excited for our season and looking for much improved leadership from our senior class."
Coach: Rod Sherman
2015 record: 12-2
League: Mt. Lincoln
Players to watch: Dylan McCaffrey, QB, Sr.; Noah Elliss, DT/OT, Sr.; Christian Elliss, Sr.; Curtis Chiaverini, Sr.; Devin Noth, C, Sr.; Blake Stenstrom, QB, Jr.; Joshia Davis, RB, Soph.; Jack Walley, WR/CB, Sr.; Mitch Howell, DE/TE, Sr.; Hayden Courier, OL, Ben Kozan, DE, Sr.
Team strengths: Team chemistry, defensive line, outside linebacker, quarterback, tight end.
Team weakness: Four offensive linemen need to be replaced and tough non-league schedule.
From the coach: "We will be tested early with two strong out-of-state opponents and then we will play three of the top five teams in Colorado. This testing should develop our team and force us to improve in hopes of making a strong post-season run."
The nine-bed facility --; scheduled to open to patients on Aug. 30 --; will run 24/7. It offers similar services as a hospital-based emergency room, including board-certified emergency physicians and emergency-trained registered nurses, a full radiology site, CT scanner, digital X-ray, ultrasound and on-site laboratories.
It also has a pediatric room for children with colorful animations painted on the walls.
For UCHealth --; the brand of University of Colorado Health --; the new location is its largest stand-alone emergency room to date, said Michael Mosier, the facility supervisor and a registered nurse.
"This puts high-care medical services in your back yard," he said. "Something that you would take care of in a hospital-based emergency room can be done here immediately."
The new location sits on the same side of Highlands Ranch Parkway as King Soopers and across from Whole Foods. Residents will have easy access to emergency services in central Highlands Ranch versus driving to the nearest hospitals: Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree and Littleton Adventist Hospital in Littleton.
Freestanding hospitals also give patients more immediate access than larger hospitals, said Dave Avner, facility medical director of UChealth ER.
"The goal is to get people in and out as quickly as possible --; within 20 minutes to a half-hour," he said.
Billing at the UCHealth Emergency Room will be similar to a hospital-based emergency department. Patients should seek an urgent care facility for medical conditions that don't require emergency room treatment, said Dan Weaver, senior director of public relations for UCHealth.]]>
On her chest is a vertical scar from the first open-heart surgery she had when she was eight weeks old. She's had two more since.
But that doesn't stop her from doing what she enjoys.
"It's really you can't do it if you don't want to do it," she said. "And I like doing things."
Schott was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called persistent truncus arteriosus when she was two months old. The rare heart defect is present at birth and means one large blood vessel leads out of the heart instead of two separate vessels, according to Mayo Clinic, an online healthcare publication.
As a result of the heart condition, "oxygen-poor blood that should go to the lungs and oxygen-rich blood that should go to the rest of the body are mixed together," the site says, which causes circulatory problems and may be fatal if left untreated.
Since 2007, Schott's parents, Leslie and Chad, have been on a mission to spread awareness and raise money for research on congenital heart defects through their Play for a Heart Tennis Tournament.
The fundraiser was first co-hosted in 2007with Tennis Plus at Redstone Park in Highlands Ranch. The Colorado Athletic Club Inverness hosted the event through 2011 as it started to grow.
To date, the Schotts' fundraiser has raised about $130,000 for pediatric cardiology research and is now a Children's Hospital event.
After taking a hiatus from the fundraiser due to work and other obligations, the Schotts have scheduled a tournament for Sept. 17 at Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Circle. Unlike past years, high school tennis players can participate. Sponsorships for all ages are available.
High school players are scheduled to play from 1-3 p.m. and adult players from 3-7 p.m. Teams consist of six to eight players with one designated captain.
Through fundraising and spreading awareness, the family hopes to see more regenerative procedures for children with heart defects.
"If we can do anything --; we just want to make it less invasive," Leslie said.
Schott had open-heart surgery at 2 months old to reconstruct her heart. She underwent her second surgery when she was 9 years old at Children's Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Her second surgery went "perfectly," her parents said, until she went into cardiac arrest while in recovery. Doctors performed CPR for 34 minutes before she was put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) --; a heart-lung machine that oxygenates a patient's blood.
Doctors were worried her brain wouldn't function properly, Leslie said.
"But it does --; she's a very smart kid," she said. "Some know her as the miracle kid at Children's Hospital."
Her parents said they hope the fundraiser will enable Children's Hospital to expand its ECMO program.
Max Mitchell, Libby's surgeon at Children's Hospital, said ECMO machines are citical for pediatric patients with heart and lung problems.
"It greatly enhances the ability to do a high-risk heart surgery because we have a backup if things go wrong," he said.
Schott is a healthy teenager but she deals with the psychological challenge of having a diagnosed heart condition. She avoids certain activities that are hard on the body, such as running and hiking. And she undergoes an electrocardiogram (ECG) test once a year to check the electrical activity of her heart.
Her family has high hopes for future of congenital heart defect treatment.
"Hopefully," Leslie said, "medical science advances so there doesn't have to be another open surgery."]]>
"The ambulance came in about five minutes," she said. "I think they do a good job."
Salisbury, originally from Texas, has lived in Highlands Ranch for about 13 years. She was a delegate --; an elected representative of a neighborhood --; for about four years.
"The population is growing all the time," she said, "and they (emergency personnel) do need to stay on top of it."
Which is why Littleton Fire Protection District, Highlands Ranch Metro District and the City of Littleton developed a master plan for fire and emergency services that calls for more medic units, fire stations and personnel to be able to maintain quick response times and quality service.
Highlands Ranch, which is unincorporated, is unique in that its fire and emergency services are contracted among three partners. The Metro District provides fire and emergency services in Highlands Ranch by building fire stations and buying fire engines and medic units. It contracts with the City of Littleton and the Littleton Fire Protection District for staff and services.
Over the past several years, there has been significant population growth within the service areas of Littleton Fire Rescue, which includes the City of Littleton, Highlands Ranch and the Littleton Fire Protection District --; which covers portions of Centennial and some unincorporated areas of Douglas and Jefferson counties. Growth in these areas has led to an increase in the number of calls for Littleton Fire Rescue, said Terry Nolan, general manager of the Metro District, which prompted the three partners to develop a set of guidelines called the Littleton Fire Rescue Master Plan.
"We are confident," Nolan said, "that if we add these resources we will see improvement in response times."
The partners approved the plan, developed with help from an international consulting firm that specializes in fire, police, communications and emergency medical servicesin 2015. Its recommendations are based on a timeline that extends to 2022.
"Growth requires additional resources instead of falling behind," Littleton Fire Rescue Chief Chris Armstrong said. "It's something that every municipal government goes through."
A growing Highlands Ranch
Littleton Fire Rescue began serving Highlands Ranch about 30 years ago when the community was in its early development.
The community has three fire stations --; Fire Station 16 at 8119 Blakeland Drive off Santa Fe Drive, Fire Station 17 at 9554 S. University Blvd. near Eastridge Recreation Center and Fire Station 18 at 401 Timbervale Trail off Lucent Boulevard.
All were built by the Metro District, which also funds the station's fire engines and medic units. The City of Littleton and the Littleton Fire Protection District contribute services and personnel. The 2016 budget for each partner, determined by the longstanding intergovernmental agreement, was $6.9 million for the Littleton Fire Protection District, $5.8 million for the City of Littleton and $7.6 milion for the Highlands Ranch Metro District, according to Armstrong.
"It's kind of a unique situationArmstrong said of the partnership, "but it's also a very effective one."
Other cities have found similar partnerships to be beneficial. In the south metro area, Engelwood, Centennial, Greenwood Village and Lone Tree are among cities that also contract for fire services.
In 2000, the population of Highlands Ranch was 70,931. Today, it is more than 96,000.
The growth mirrors the increase in call volume for Littleton Fire Rescue, Armstrong said.
The number of response calls rose 16.5 percent between 2009 and 2013. Annually, the department receives about 15,000 calls and about 63 percent are requests for emergency medical services, Armstrong said.
"The number of calls starts to increase as the population increases," Armstrong said. "We can only handle so much capacity."
Littleton Fire Protection District, the City of Littleton and Highlands Ranch began working on a master plan in January 2014. They first looked at statistics and data on staff, response time, call volume and population.
The master plan anticipated where changes would be needed down the road, Armstrong said.
In early 2015, the Littleton Fire Protection District co-hosted a community meeting with the City of Littleton and Highlands Ranch residents. About 40 people attended. The open-ended discussion resulted in a number of recommendations, including the need for additional staff.
Enhanced fire and emergency services are needed in service areas outside of Highlands Ranch, too, Armstrong said.
The City of Littleton recently built a station on Wadsworth Boulevard and Trailmark Parkway called Station 19 and hired additional personnel. The new station opened in early August.
What the plan says
The master plan outlines nine recommendations or priorities for the Highlands Ranch fire stations through 2022.
Priorities include expanding the hours of Quick Cars --; SUVs equipped with services similar to an ambulance but with lower costs --; from 40 hours Monday through Friday to 12 hours seven days a week, a schedule that starts at the end of this month.
"We hired 14 people to do that," Armstrong said.
Another priority is adding additional peak-hour medic units --; an ambulance staffed with at least one paramedic. The master plan study found that medic units are used most between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
As of early August, the three Highlands Ranch fire stations have a medic unit and an Advanced Life Support fire engine.
The Metro District Board of Directors will also include a new medic unit purchase in the 2017 budget.
The final recommendation is to add two more fire stations, one of which is the recently opened Fire Station 19 in southwest Littleton. The other is planned for south central Highlands Ranch.
The Metro District Board will include planning and design of the new Highlands Ranch fire station, named Station 20, in its 2017 budget, the master plan says. Construction is expected to start in 2018.
The three partners are only adding costs where they are needed, Armstrong said.
"It's all really positive stuff," he said. "We are trying to make decisions based on historical data. This is the way a community would expect a fire department to conduct its services."]]>
The program unites high school students from throughout Douglas County with area civic leaders and gives teens an opportunity to learn how the legislative process works. Teenagers work to solve problems and find creative solutions for topics such as mental health, trafficking and sexting.
The topics change each year, but the issues are ones that affect the lives of Douglas County youths.
Youth Congress is one of three cornerstones of the Douglas County Youth Initiative, which also offers the Douglas County Youth Awards and the Wraparound program.
For more information, contact Marsha Alston, youth services program manager, at email@example.com or 303-688-4825 ext. 5327. Lunch will be provided and all students will receive 7.5 hours of community service.]]>
The free concert is co-hosted by the Highlands Ranch Metro District, Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association and Highlands Ranch Community Association.
Three food trucks will have food and drinks available for purchase. Simply Pizza will provide its specialty wood-fired pizza, El Toro the Tot will serve specialty burgers and tater tots and Coaches Scoop will bring its frozen desserts. The food trucks will be ready to serve at 6 p.m.
There will be a presentation of a time capsule, commemorating the 35th anniversary of the community with a plan to open the time capsule at the community's 50th anniversary in 2031. This time capsule will include examples of current technology, news of 2016 and future predictions.
For more information, call the Metro District at 303-791-0430 or visit www.highlandsranch.org.]]>
Following the run will be a celebration with authentic German food, music, beers from Paulaner and live entertainment. The family-friendly event has magic shows, balloons, games and more.
Participants can register their dachshunds between 3-3:30 p.m. and the races will start at 3:30 p.m. This year will feature a prize for the best dressed dachshund. Best-dressed dog --; all breeds welcome to enter --; will also receive a prize.
The first-ever German Ninja Warrior Competition will include an obstacle course with prizes. Registration starts at 4 p.m. and races will start at 4:30 p.m.
Finally, there will be a happy hour from 2-3 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. with $4 beers and $13 Steins.]]>
The dance party benefits Noelle's Dogs Four Hope, a local nonprofit organization that trains and places service dogs with autistic children.For more information, please contact 303-471-8916. Tickets may be purchased through the Highlands Ranch Community Association.]]>
This may indeed be a good idea, and as a result, we could benefit.
But this is not the way to find out about it. Transparency is important in all things that affect "we the people" locally and nationally.
Thank you, Colorado Community Media for keeping us informed.