Summit superintendent finalist voted out of former district in 2019 |

Summit superintendent finalist voted out of former district in 2019

Javier Abrego is shown at a parent forum at Adams 14 ESS Building on April 17, 2018. Abrego is one of three finalists for the interim superintendent position at Summit School District.
Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post

Javier Abrego, one of three finalists in the Summit School District’s search for an interim superintendent, parted ways with his last school district after the State Board of Education intervened in 2019.

The Adams 14 school board unanimously voted to remove Abrego, according to Chalkbeat. The vote came as the school district was preparing to hand over control to an external manager as ordered by the State Board of Education. Chalkbeat reported the district spent eight years on a performance watch list prior to the State Board of Education’s order, and Abrego was hired in 2016.

The Denver Post reported this was the first time in the history of Colorado that the State Board of Education ordered authority of a district to be handed over.

Chalkbeat reported that the school’s board wondered if it was worth it to continue paying a superintendent when it now also had to pay to hire an external manager to do much of the same work.

According to a 2018 state review panel progress monitoring recommendation form, the panel recommended management by a private or public entity other than the district “to provide clear direction and oversight.”

“There is lack of evidence indicating that district leadership has the capacity to act as a change agent to drive dramatic achievement gains,” the panel’s recommendation form reads. “District leadership continues to have high turnover, and there is limited evidence to indicate that the current leadership team has created a sense of urgency or that they have developed a strategic plan to lead change that will result in improved student outcomes.”

The district was rated as “not effective” under the category of “leadership being adequate” per the Education Accountability Act, according to the form. Various other sections of the report highlighted issues with inadequate and ineffective leadership.

According to Chalkbeat reporter Yesenia Robles, when Abrego worked with the district, he wanted to speed up how students learned English. She said he was going against most research at the time in doing so, and he also led the cessation of a biliteracy program that had been going on at the school.

The program was launched to prepare students to be literate in both Spanish and English, with a kindergarten through 12th grade program. The district ended a relationship it had with researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder that was guiding teachers on how to teach biliteracy in elementary schools.

According to Chalkbeat, Adams 14 was one of three districts in Colorado to lead the way in offering a seal of biliteracy for its high school graduates. When Abrego took over, the district’s main goal became English fluency as opposed to biliteracy.

Abrego will be one of three candidates interviewed by the Summit school board at a special meeting Monday, June 14. The other candidates are Roy G. Crawford and David Rizor.

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