Toby Babich: Working to build relationships and assess the achievement gap
Summit School District board candidate
I would like to thank our students, parents, teachers, Summit School District elected leaders and staff for their commitment and dedication during the chaotic environment we have experienced over the past two years. Thank you for your efforts in assisting our kids to successfully navigate through an unprecedented and difficult period.
Our district faced considerable challenges during the pandemic, including pressure to keep students and teachers safe and mentally healthy in addition to challenges with leadership, administration and staff turnover. We are at a critical point where successful rebuilding of our district and driving the achievement of our student body will require our community to put the needs of our students first. As difficult as these times have been, I have seen with my own eyes and felt with my own heart the immense stress and pressure our children have faced and still carry with them as they return to school.
For all of our efforts as a community, our children have exited this pandemic for the worse. With declining achievement measures and test scores, in addition to myriad mental health and social challenges, I believe it is time for a fresh perspective and revitalized leadership. I have a vested interest in the success of the district as a father and community leader, and I am ready to put my experience and passion to work for each and every family.
In addition to being a district alumni and father of three children within the district, I had the pleasure to be a board member of Timberline Learning Center for many years. I have been a constituent of the local education system in Summit County as a student, parent and volunteer board member, and I understand in great detail how to use collaboration and feedback to drive success and provide each student a path to achievement, contentment and fulfillment.
Priority No. 1: Build stronger relationships
Building relationships between our county mental health network and the district will ensure all our children have the proper support and resources to recover from the isolation, fear and learning challenges brought about by the pandemic. We must recognize that many students are still suffering from mental and emotional scars, and others are still catching up from learning deficiencies due to a lack of proper structure and support. Ensuring our kids are fully supported and resourced to establish positive and healthy mental foundations and emotional structures is key to seeing each of them achieve academically.
Occupation: Property management company, real estate brokerage and home care company owner
Years in Summit County: 23
Family: Wife and three daughters in Summit School District
Civic involvement: Current: Blue River mayor, Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers president and local Vacation Rental Management Association president. Former: Timberline Learning Center board, Breckenridge Resort Chamber board, Breckenridge Central Reservations board, Breckenridge Marketing Advisory Committee, Breckenridge Recreation Advisory Committee and many other committees and working groups around the county
Priority No. 2: Assess achievement gaps
I will critically assess the achievement gaps within our student body and the decline in testing scores overall within the district to locate opportunities for improvement. Let’s put aside how we got to this point and focus on how we progress forward together and reach every student with the proper tools they can use to achieve individually.
Let’s ask our kids what we can do as a district and a community to better facilitate their chosen paths, and let’s rely on our educators to provide insight into what works, what does not work and why. We can then take this qualitative data and let it inform our policies, curriculum and structural needs as a district. At only 3,500 students within our district and 500 teachers, we have the ability to easily engage each of them. Together, we can reverse the negative academic trends.
Priority No. 3: Hire a strong superintendent
I will ensure that this district hires a strong, collaborative and strategic leader. Our district has been absent of consistent and engaged leadership for an extended period of time, which has contributed to the challenges we face. We have myriad challenges, including hiring and retaining quality teachers, developing dedicated and purpose-built housing for our district staff, addressing our transportation issues, adapting to the academic challenges of our student body, assessing the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and ensuring our district is a collaborative and transparent community for our students, parents and teachers.
Having been involved in the selection process for over a dozen executive-level employees over my career, I would be an asset in locating, selecting and hiring a superintendent who would be able to address the many challenges we have as a district. I would encourage a transparent and collaborative process to locate and evaluate candidates, inclusive of key stakeholders. This board will have the opportunity to select a superintendent who will lead us into the future; therefore, it is critical we are electing leaders who are collaborative, knowledgeable, experienced and accountable to our community.
Toby Babich is a candidate for a four-year seat on the Summit School District Board of Education. Learn more at Babich4SSD.com.
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