CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KDVR) — Schools across the metro are getting ready to kick off the new year. After a 2021-2022 school year filled with controversy, Douglas County’s new superintendent believes it is time for a fresh start.
New superintendent Erin Kane sat down with FOX31 about her plans for this year. She said she does not expect any more drama this school year but it may be hard to avoid, with some community members already raising eyebrows.
“I don’t know any direction to go but forward, and we are working on going forward with our kids,” Kane said. Kane said she wants the district to move on this school year, starting with moving past the pandemic.
“We’ll continue to follow our local health department in terms of following whatever we need to follow in terms of COVID-19. What we haven’t seen is severity and we haven’t seen severity going to our hospitals, et cetera. But of course we are keeping an eye on it and we will continue to work with our health department,” Kane said.
Kane is talking about the newly formed Douglas County Health Department, which broke away from Tri-County Health and decided to try its own hand at it last year. The county does not have any public health orders in place at this time.
‘Everyone express their fears,’ superintendent suggests
In the past school year, parents protested the district over COVID concerns, concerns about how the school board replaced former Superintendent Corey Wise and worries about inclusivity and race being written out of the curriculum. They did not end up making changes to what is being taught, but concerns still linger. Now, Kane said she is focused on listening to everyone’s concerns.
“What I’d like to do is have everyone express their fears, whether it’s the district’s going to ban books or afraid the district is going to ban books, or I’m afraid that you’ll change how we teach racism in history or I’m afraid you’re going to tell my child that he’s an oppressor just because of the way he was born, or I’m afraid you’re going to get rid of valedictorian or gifted and talented [designations for students],” Kane said.
“I think we need to write down all of those fears,” Kane continued. “If we just write it down and get really specific about what we will do and what we won’t do as we implement the equity policy, I think we can land in a really reasonable place.”
Speaking with the Douglas County Federation, teachers say the culture and climate of the district remain a concern and they are hoping trust continues to improve throughout the school year.