In this blog site, I discuss a variety of timely issues and provide information that I hope will be helpful to BVSD staff, parents, students, and community members. Your comments are welcomed!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students

Dear BVSD Parents, Guardians and Staff,

Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) recognizes there is uncertainty and fear among some members of the community regarding federal immigration policy. The highest priority for BVSD is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for each student and their families. BVSD is also committed to provide high-quality education for all students, regardless of gender, religion, immigration status, ethnicity, income, sexual orientation or their family’s national origin. Our district celebrates and values the rich diversity in our community. To this end, the information below provides answers to questions regarding immigration status and reaffirms our commitment to maintain learning environments free of discrimination and harassment.

Dr. Bruce K. Messinger

Your Questions Answered:
(Adapted from FAQ released by Denver Public Schools on November 14, 2016)

Q: What impact does undocumented immigration status have on my child’s education?
A: None! Children have a constitutional right to have equal access to education regardless of their immigration status or their parents’ status. That right cannot be taken away by the president or the state or federal legislatures.

Q: Does Boulder Valley School District ask for a child’s immigration status when he or she enrolls?
A: No. Public school districts like BVSD have an obligation to enroll students regardless of their immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Q: Would the school district ever share our students’ immigration status with the federal immigration officials?
A: As mentioned above, we do not ask for students’ citizenship or immigration status when they enroll. However, if we became aware of a student’s lack of immigration status, we would not share that information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Q: Do we know whether there will be any immigration enforcement actions on school grounds?
A: As of today, we believe that the federal government is still following 
guidance that designates schools as sensitive locations where immigration enforcement actions should not happen. In the unlikely event that federal officials arrive at a campus, they will be instructed to wait in a specific area and not be given access to students, family members or staff until the request is processed through BVSD’s Legal Counsel, to ensure that applicable policies and laws are followed.

Q: If I am a parent or guardian and I am worried about being detained while my child is at school, what should I do?
A: Please take this opportunity to update your emergency contact information for your students.  You can turn in the Emergency Contact Update Form (
EnglishSpanishto your school. Please consider creating a family preparedness plan. The following checklist (EnglishSpanish) and Boulder County resources document (EnglishSpanish) may be helpful.

Q: What does Boulder Valley School District do to ensure that no student or family is discriminated against or harassed because of their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin?
A: BVSD believes deeply in ensuring equity – it is one of our core values. We have policies in place that mandate no discrimination or harassment for our students, families or employees on the base of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin and many other protected classes.

Q: What should I do if I feel like I have been the victim of discrimination or harassment?
A: Please report the behavior immediately to a supervisor, school leader or to the superintendent. Complaints and concerns can be filed using the forms and procedures in Board Policy AC-R (
EnglishSpanish). We take these complaints very seriously in order to assure that our schools continue to be safe spaces.

Q: What about if I am a DACA recipient?
A: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is based on an order by the president. The new president could choose to rescind that order. If you are a recipient of DACA, consider reaching out to an immigration attorney now in order to determine if you have access to a better form of immigration status.

Q: What should I do if I want to understand my immigration rights?
A: Only immigration attorneys can provide you with accurate advice about immigration status and how you can pursue any legal rights you might have. For your own protection, please do not seek the advice of notarios or others who are not licensed immigration attorneys. Here is a list (
EnglishSpanish) of low-cost or free legal resources. You can seek an immigration attorney from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (EnglishSpanish).

If you have a question that is not answered here, please reach out to We will work to provide an answer and will continue to update this document with answers to your questions.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Introducing the 2017 Annual Report

Dear BVSD Parents, Guardians and Staff,

I would like to invite you to view the 2017 BVSD Annual Report

One of the key objectives with the Annual Report is to provide financial transparency, as it is fundamental in the district's standing with the community. Another objective is to share BVSD goals, growth, and progress. 

BVSD successful construction work through the 2014 voter-approved bond, a program we refer to as Building for Student Success, is outlined in the report with an overview of efforts toward sustainability, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality. We have also highlighted educational innovation and how it is being utilized to improve existing schools as well as new construction projects. 

Finally, BVSD’s strategic plan, The Success Effect, provides the foundation to ensuring success for all students. I am hopeful that you find value in this year’s report, which is available in print at schools and district sites, and I look forward to our continued success this semester.


Dr. Bruce K. Messinger

Friday, February 24, 2017

BVSD Affirms Support for Transgender Students

On Wednesday, February 22, President Trump rescinded protections for transgender students allowing them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity; it is a retraction of guidance provided by President Obama last summer.

Boulder Valley School District will maintain our present practice supporting transgender students and their families as we have in the past. Our position is consistent with the district’s equity values and our district mission and vision. Our guidelines supporting students and staff who are transgender may be found in the Board Policies section of the district website at

We appreciate that Colorado state law also forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public places — including schools. Colorado Chalkbeat published an informative article about this on Wednesday.

BVSD remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Development of the 2017-18 budget underway

BVSD leadership is presently working with the Board of Education on a budget for the 2017-18 school year. Budget development in BVSD involves multiple decision points throughout the process. Funds made available through the operational mill levy approved by voters in November 2016, will provide relief in our continuing effort to maintain quality services and address the needs of students. BVSD is very fortunate to have the ongoing support of voters in our community.

The 2016-17 budget adopted in June had $6M of programs, services and expenditures that were funded by one-time resources necessitating reductions to programs and services next year if additional resources were not made available. Revenue from the operational levy have provided those resources and will allow BVSD to maintain current programs/services and provide some additional resource allocations such as school staffing, transportation funding and textbooks.

The main goals we seek to achieve with additional revenues provided by the operational mill levy are to:
  • Maintain present level of educational services,
  • Invest in preventative maintenance for buildings and equipment,
  • Replace out-of-date textbooks and learning materials,
  • Fund compensation and benefits for all employees,
  • Provide training for staff, and
  • Employ educators to meet student needs.

The Boulder Valley Board of Education is discussing other budget priorities in a series of special work sessions over the next few months.

Community input is welcome during Public Participation at the beginning of regular board meetings. Interested parties are also welcome to attend board work sessions to listen to the discussions. We strive to have budget priorities established by spring break when staffing allocations will be made to schools and staffing plans are developed for 2017-18.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

BVSD Ballot Measure 3A - Operational Levy

Thank you to voters for passing the Operational Levy for Boulder Valley School District. I appreciate the high level of support from the community.

Ballot Measure 3A approved by voters establishes an operational mill levy which will fund a portion of the $33.4 million in present ongoing maintenance, custodial, security, and technology expenditures. Resources from the levy will allow investment for ongoing preventative maintenance and repairs to extend facility life.

General fund resources freed up by the operational levy will be available to support the following services:
·         Maintain present level of educational services.
·         Invest in preventative maintenance for buildings and equipment.
·         Replace out-of-date textbooks and learning materials.
·         Fund compensation and benefits for all employees.
·         Provide training for staff.
·         Employ educators to meet student needs.

Initially the levy will generate $10 million dollars a year. The Board of Education has authority to increase the levy to 4 mills in future years which would provide more than $25 million dollars a year for district investment in services.

I appreciate voters approving this much-needed financial support for BVSD students. Resources from the levy will be used to offset inadequate funding provided by the state legislature.

Additional information is available at  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

November 2016 Election Information

Election ballots were delivered through US mail last week. Ballot Measure 3A operational levy for BVSD is on the November 2016 ballot. I encourage you to study the proposed levy and vote in the upcoming election. Nov. 8 (by 7 p.m.) is the last day to vote or drop off a ballot.

A lot has changed in Colorado since the last presidential election. Here’s what you need to know to vote in this election:
      Check your voter registration as all active voters are sent a ballot in the mail! Make sure your address is current. This is especially important if you have moved in the last year or if you haven’t voted for a few years. Check online at
      Track your mail ballot. If you live in Boulder County, you can sign up for Ballot Track to receive messages by email, text, or phone when your mail ballot has been printed, mailed, and received back by Boulder County Elections during election periods.
      In person voting is available. If you prefer to vote in person, a list of Voter Service and Polling Centers will be included in your mail ballot packet.
      Vote early! Once you decide how to vote, return your mail ballot. Voting early helps reduce campaign phone calls for you and helps the county process ballots throughout the election period rather than just on one night. Note that no votes are tabulated before election night.

For more voter and election information, visit the following websites:

2016 Election Dates
October 17
Ballots mailed to voters
October 24
Voter Service Centers open (you can visit these locations if you would like to vote in person)
October 31
Last day to register and still receive a ballot in the mail (otherwise you need to vote in person)
November 8
Election Day - Last day to vote or drop off ballot (by 7 p.m.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Welcome to a new school year!

Now beginning my sixth year as superintendent of the Boulder Valley School District, I am pleased to see the continued implementation of our long-range strategic plan – “The Success Effect.” Numerous parents, students, staff and community members helped develop this plan, which focuses on three key areas  – Learning, Talent, and Partnerships. We have identified six initial strategic priorities:
  1. Literacy and Early Learning
  2. Systems of Support
  3. Parent and Family Partnerships
  4. Successful, Curious, Lifelong Learners
  5. Educator Growth and Development
  6. Educator Pipeline. 
Learn more about The Success Effect online at The site features a blog with posts from several leaders in BVSD on a variety of topics including innovative learning, family partnership, systems of support, district recruitment efforts, professional learning, and new graduation guidelines.

During the summer, district staff made progress on The Success Effect and related initiatives, including the Building for Student Success bond program. Over $55 million in work was completed at schools during the summer months. Students and staff will return to upgraded interiors and exteriors, renovated restrooms, enhanced security and innovative learning spaces. Essential repair and maintenance on building systems along with energy efficiency upgrades will take place in all schools. Construction of replacement schools for Creekside, Douglass, Emerald and a new PK-8 in Erie began a few months ago and will be completed in August 2017. Bond project information is available at

The environmental health of all learning spaces continues to be a top priority for BVSD. Last year, the  district launched a long-term, districtwide indoor air quality initiative with the University of Tulsa to improve indoor air quality in all district schools. This project will involve collecting indoor air quality data which will be used to make recommendations to building operations and occupant behavior and to identify building renovations to improve air quality.

Thanks to our generous and engaged community, highly qualified educators, excellent leadership, and dedicated support staff, Boulder Valley School District is known for its academic excellence and overall student success. We are committed to providing innovative and effective student learning experiences, employing and developing talented staff, and cultivating strong family and community partnerships to foster even greater student success in the future.