Superintendent’s Update: A National Model of Success

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Letter from the Superintendent

Dear St. Vrain Valley Schools Community,

It has been an outstanding start to the 2023-2024 school year, with so much energy and engagement throughout every school in St. Vrain. As I visit schools and follow the hundreds of posts and stories on social media, every day brings new celebrations of student success, teacher and staff excellence, and community impact. This morning we learned that St. Vrain Valley School District was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having top high schools nationally. Additionally, our student achievement levels on state standardized tests have risen above the majority of the assessments that were administered in 2019 and met or out-paced the state on growth in 90% of assessments. This is a testament to the incredible work of our teachers and staff, and the many opportunities provided to students to advance their learning and engagement in school. 

In St. Vrain, standardized testing achievement data is just one measure that we analyze when determining the performance of our system. These numbers represent a snapshot in time of how well a student performed on a standardized test that is administered almost two months before the end of the school year (despite results being reported by the state as end-of-year assessments). Even more important to understanding the quality of our school system and the overall impact we have on student outcomes are the many other factors that research has demonstrated to have a significant and long-term impact on overall success. These include:

  • Graduate Requirements: St. Vrain has some of the most rigorous graduation requirements in Colorado and beyond.
  • Academic Rigor: In addition to Gifted and Talented programming, students have access to advanced math and language arts coursework in middle school, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, and a robust suite of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. In the past six years, we have had a 53% increase in the number of AP exams taken while also increasing the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher.
  • Student Engagement: When students engage in activities, the arts, or athletics beyond the school day, their achievement and overall success increases. St. Vrain continues to increase program offerings, and has seen a 23% increase in student engagement since 2016, alongside an unprecedented increase in team and individual Conference and State Championships in athletics, state and national music and visual and performing arts recognitions, national and international robotics championships, and so many more students competing and winning competitions at the highest levels. 
  • High-Quality Early Childhood Programs: St. Vrain has prioritized and offered high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten programming across every elementary school community for over a decade prior to Colorado increasing offerings across all district communities.
  • Concurrent Enrollment Coursework: Thousands of students earn college credit every year through concurrent enrollment, Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. The Class of 2023 had the opportunity to earn approximately 34,000 college credits, potentially saving families over $8.6 million on future tuition costs.
  • Workforce Pathways and Certifications: St. Vrain is leading the way state-wide and nationally in workforce pathway opportunities. St. Vrain Valley Schools was the largest recipient of the Governor’s recently announced Opportunity Now Colorado grant program, bringing an additional $7 million investment into our community to expand workforce pathways in teaching, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing – and to support other districts in the state to replicate our successful programs.

The St. Vrain Valley School District has become a national model for a comprehensive public education system that both prioritizes a foundation of rigorous academics, outstanding school facilities, student well-being, and high-quality instructional practices, alongside robust innovation that emphasizes design-thinking, workforce pathways, advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, industry partnerships, and so much more. In October, we will convene our second National Innovation and Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Colorado Education Initiative, where leaders from districts across the United States will join us at the Innovation Center to learn more about our innovative practices and successes.

None of this would be possible without the continued, outstanding support of our community and the exceptional dedication of our teachers, staff, students, and families. Additionally, I hope that you are able to join me this fall at one of our five upcoming Superintendent Town Hall meetings. These annual open forums, held in each of our geographic areas, provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions, provide suggestions, share our many successes, and discuss our bold vision for continuing to build new schools as our student enrollment continues to climb. 

Thank you for your continued partnership in advancing the success of our students and schools. At our August Convocation events with teachers and staff, I shared my belief that our teachers and staff are the dream-makers for our students, and that our responsibility as educators – in addition to equipping our students with knowledge – is to continue to encourage and inspire them to become lifelong learners, dreamers, and doers. Please click here to watch our opening Convocation message to our teachers and administrators.

Thank you,
Don Haddad, Ed.D.
Twitter: @SVVSDSupt

Featured Stories

Applications now open

Join Leadership St. Vrain

Leadership St. Vrain is a program designed to provide parents and other community members the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of our district’s mission, operations, and strategic priorities.
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Join us this fall

Superintendent’s Town Hall Meetings

Please join us for an upcoming Superintendent Town Hall meeting. These annual open forums in each of our geographic areas provide an opportunity for Dr. Haddad and other district leaders to listen to our community’s questions and suggestions, share our many successes, and discuss our bold vision for continuing to build new schools as our student enrollment continues to climb.
Click here to learn more

Investing in our future

SVVSD awarded $7 million state Opportunity Now Grant

As the initiative’s largest grantee, the Breakthrough Pathways project will implement three comprehensive career pathways in education, advanced manufacturing, and information technology.
Click here to read more

In the News

Important Reminders, Events, and Opportunities

Get ready and get engaged with many upcoming opportunities in St. Vrain.


We’re Hiring! Join the #StVrainStorm

Join a highly supportive and effective team of professionals who are having a significant impact on the lives of students and families in our community.
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Family Engagement

St. Vrain Parent University

St. Vrain’s Parent University program provides training, information, and resources to parents and caregivers in order to support the well-being and success of their children. 
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Important Reminder

Submit Your Free & Reduced Meals Application

While meals will be provided for free to all St. Vrain students through Healthy School Meals for All, it’s important for qualifying families to submit this form.
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Stapp Inspires Educator Highlight

Stapp Interstate Toyota has recognized Brandon Grossman, Science Teacher at New Meridian High School for the lasting impact he’s had on students.
Indian Peaks Elementary School