D-2 Superintendent Responds To Walk-Out, Protest, Criticism

Miles Says Most Agree With District's Direction

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Less than two months into the school year, Harrison District 2 has seen a protest, walk out and continued criticism by some about the direction of the district and its superintendent.

On Tuesday, KRDO Newschannel 13 talked to Superintendent Mike Miles about what's going on, prior to a school board work session where a handful of angry people showed up, even though there was no public comment period.

Miles said he believes people are upset because they don't want to accept new standards for both teachers and students.

"I know there will always be a percentage of people who aren't happy about raised expectations, about increasing student achievement," Miles said.

The brunt of the anger seems to be over several Sierra High School teachers who have resigned or been removed from their positions, a hostile school environment and new strategies in the classroom.

"We're just tired of losing teachers, tired of having subs," said Trey Fowler, the class president at Sierra High. "They're not bad subs, they just don't know what to do in the class because it's not theirs."

District spokesperson Jennifer Sprague said three teachers were removed from Sierra, but she was unable to elaborate on why because of privacy laws. She said none of the teachers were fired; two were reassigned to other schools and one chose to resign.

"It takes a little while to get replacements, that's true for any district," said Miles.

Some parents and students are also frustrated with new strategies in the classroom.

"It's test scores, test scores, test scores," said Taraya Bland, a parent. "These kids are being taught to test not to comprehend."

Miles said the focus is on "raised rigor" and preparing students for college.

"We've been working at raising student achievement for five years," said Miles. "We've done that, but we still have a long way to go."

Miles said most in the district support the direction its going. He cites a phone survey done last spring by an independent company.

"We found an overwhelming number of people support what we're doing," he said.

Miles also points out that his bosses, the school board members, have held their positions for years. Two members now up for re-election face no opposition.

"That's a big sign people support the board and support the direction they're going," said Miles.

Those angry about what's happening in this district say, for now, there is no effort underway to recall any board members.

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