Welcome to South Central BOCES

With a mission to inspire and empower students and teachers, South Central BOCES creates a supportive environment that encourages happiness and cultivates a sense of optimism in every aspect of life.

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    Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination

    The Board is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and constitutional provisions. Accordingly, no otherwise qualified employee, applicant for employment, or member of the public may be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to unlawful discrimination under any BOCES program or activity on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law.

    For purposes of this policy and other policies including a nondiscrimination statement, these terms have the following meanings:● “Race” includes hair texture, hair type, or a protective hairstyle that is commonly or historically associated with race.● “Protective Hairstyle” includes such hairstyles as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, and head wraps.● “Sexual Orientation” means an individual’s identity, or another individual’s perception thereof, in relation to the gender or genders to which the individual is sexually or emotionally attracted and the behavior or social affiliation that may result from the attraction.● “Gender Expression” means an individual’s way of reflecting and expressing the individual’s gender to the outside world, typically demonstrated through appearance, dress, and behavior.● “Gender Identity” means an individual’s innate sense of the individual’s own gender, which may or may not correspond with the individual’s sex assigned at birth.

    This policy and supporting regulation(s) will be used to address all concerns regarding unlawful discrimination and harassment. Alleged conduct regarding sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment will follow the complaint and investigation procedures specific to this conduct.

    In keeping with these statements, the following are objectives of this BOCES:

    1. To promote the rights and responsibilities of all individuals as set forth in the state and federal constitutions, pertinent legislation, and applicable judicial interpretations.

    2. To encourage positive experiences in terms of human values for [children and] adults who have differing personal and family characteristics or who come from various socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups.

    3. To initiate a process of reviewing all policies and practices of this BOCES in order to achieve the objectives of this policy to the greatest extent possible.

    4. To investigate and resolve promptly any complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment.

    5. To investigate and appropriately discipline staff [and students] found to be responsible for incidents of harassment or unlawful discrimination in violation of BOCES policy.

    Annual notice :The BOCES will issue a written notice prior to the beginning of each school year that advises employees and the general public that the programs, activities, and employment opportunities offered by the BOCES are offered without regard to disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry. With respect to employment practices, the BOCES will also issue written notice that it does not discriminate on the basis of age, genetic information, or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The notice will also include the name, address, email address, and telephone number of the person(s) designated to coordinate Section 504 and ADA compliance activities.

    The notice will be disseminated to persons with limited English language skills in the person’s own language. It will also be made available to persons who are visually or hearing impaired.

    The notice will appear on a continuing basis in all BOCES media containing general information, including: the BOCES’s website, recruitment materials, application forms, vacancy announcements.

    Harassment is prohibited. Harassment based on a person’s disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry is a form of discrimination prohibited by state and federal law. Preventing and remedying such harassment is essential to ensure a nondiscriminatory, safe environment in which employees can work and members of the public can access and receive the benefit of BOCES facilities and programs. All such harassment, by BOCES employees and third parties is strictly prohibited.

    All BOCES employees share the responsibility to ensure that harassment does not occur at on any BOCES property, at any BOCES sanctioned activity or event, or off BOCES property when such conduct has a nexus to the BOCES. Reporting unlawful discrimination and harassment. Any applicant for employment or member of the public who believes they have been a target of unlawful discrimination or harassment as defined in Board policy, or who has witnessed such unlawful discrimination or harassment, is encouraged to immediately file a complaint with the BOCES’s compliance officer.

    Any employee who believes they have been a target of unlawful discrimination or harassment is encouraged to immediately file a complaint with either an immediate supervisor or the BOCES’s compliance officer, and any employee who has witnessed such unlawful discrimination or harassment must immediately file a complaint with either an immediate supervisor or the BOCES’s compliance officer. If the individual alleged to have engaged in prohibited conduct is the person designated as the compliance officer, an alternate compliance officer will be designated to investigate the matter, in accordance with this policy’s accompanying regulation.

    All BOCES employees who witness unlawful discrimination or harassment must take prompt and effective action to stop it, as prescribed by the BOCES. The BOCES will take appropriate action to promptly and impartially investigate allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment, to end unlawful behavior, to prevent the recurrence of such behavior, and to prevent retaliation against the individual(s) who files the complaint and/or any person who participates in the investigation. When appropriate, the BOCES will take interim measures during the investigation to protect against further unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. To the extent possible, all reports of unlawful discrimination or harassment will be kept confidential. Employees who knowingly file false complaints or give false statements in an investigation may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment. No employee or member of the public may be subject to adverse treatment in retaliation for any good faith report of harassment under this policy.

    Upon determining that incidents of unlawful discrimination or harassment are occurring in particular BOCES settings or activities, the BOCES will implement measures designed to remedy the problem in those areas or activities. Any employee who engages in unlawful discrimination or harassment will be disciplined according to applicable Board policies and the BOCES will take reasonable action to restore lost employment opportunities to the target(s).In cases involving potential criminal conduct, the BOCES will determine whether appropriate law enforcement officials should be notified. To reduce unlawful discrimination and harassment and ensure a respectful environment, the administration is responsible for providing notice of this policy to all BOCES departments. The policy and complaint process must be referenced in employee handbooks and otherwise available to all staff and members of the public through electronic or hard-copy distribution. Training materials regarding sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment are available to the public on the BOCES’s website. BOCES employees will receive periodic training related to recognizing and preventing unlawful discrimination and harassment. BOCES employees must receive additional training related to handling reports of unlawful discrimination and harassment. The training will include, but not be limited to:● awareness of groups protected under state and federal law and/or targeted groups;● how to recognize and react to unlawful discrimination and harassment; and● proven harassment prevention strategies.

    Jennifer Sanchez-Mason

    Director of Human Resources

    South Central BOCES



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South Central BOCES News

  • Jul 18, 2024

    Inside a dyslexia screening program for some of Colorado’s rural students

    This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters

    Inside a dyslexia screening program for some of Colorado’s rural students

    Ann Schimke, Chalkbeat

    Jul 17, 2024 at 10:45am EDT

    When teacher Cindy Haralson would point at her preschool class with a stuffed owl named Baby Echo, most children quickly repeated the letter, word, and sound they’d just heard her say. Think “B, bat, b.”

    But one little girl — a good listener and natural problem-solver — stared blankly at her teacher day after day last year, unable to reproduce what she was hearing and seeing. Haralson recalled the girl looking at her classmates, as if to say, “How do you guys do that? How do you know that?”

    The girl’s struggle with alphabet lessons was the kind of red flag that can signal problems learning to read, problems that Haralson believes too often go unaddressed for years.

    “It seems like we always wait till kindergarten or first grade, and sometimes second grade,” said Haralson, who teaches in the tiny La Veta School District in southern Colorado. “I think we wait too long to figure these things out.”

    So Haralson was thrilled when her district joined a regional pilot program last year to screen students in preschool through first grade for signs of dyslexia, a common learning disability that makes it hard to identify speech sounds, decode words, and spell them. Other participating districts include Cotopaxi, Aguilar, Manzanola, Primero, and Huerfano. This year, two more districts — Crowley and Fowler — will join, and participating schools will start screening second-graders as well.

    The screening program, which is run by the South Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, comes amid a yearslong push by Colorado leaders to improve early reading instruction through better curriculum, more teacher training, and timely help for struggling readers. While state lawmakers have stopped short of requiring schools to screen students for dyslexia, more districts are spearheading such efforts on their own, including large ones like Boulder Valley and Denver.

    But educators say dyslexia screening is doable in small rural districts, too.

    Rachel Arnold, literacy coordinator for the South Central BOCES and the leader of the pilot program, said extending dyslexia screening to all Colorado children is a matter of equity.

    “Depending on your area code, ZIP code, where you live, not everyone has access to that,” she said.

    Arnold believes the state should mandate and fund dyslexia screening statewide.

    Southern Colorado pilot uses new dyslexia screening tool

    About 200 children were screened for signs of dyslexia through the BOCES pilot program last year. That number could double as the program expands in 2024-25.

    The pilot relies on a relatively new dyslexia screener called EarlyBird that was developed by researchers from Harvard University and the Florida Center for Reading Research. Arnold, who’s using part of an $86,000 state grant to help pay for the two-year pilot, estimates EarlyBird screening costs about $7 per student per year.

    The screener is administered three times a year, with students answering questions on an iPad while a teacher looks on. Typically, each screening takes about an hour, but it’s often administered in 15- to 20-minute chunks over a couple weeks.

    Arnold said she was initially leery about an online assessment, but said kids enjoy the game-like format and the cartoon bird that leads them through it. EarlyBird assesses a variety of early reading skills, such as rhyming, vocabulary knowledge, making connections between letters and sounds, and retrieving information quickly and automatically.

    While Colorado’s flagship reading law — known as the READ Act — already requires elementary school teachers to evaluate students’ reading skills in kindergarten through third grade, some parents and educators say the assessments used for that can miss students with dyslexia.

    “The READ Act has many wonderful things, but it is not dyslexia legislation,” said Arnold.

    Holly Massarotti, a kindergarten teacher and elementary dean of students in the Primero district, said the READ Act assessment her district uses — IStation — isn’t as sensitive as EarlyBird in flagging children with signs of dyslexia.

    Some kids who were “on the bubble” on the IStation assessment were caught by EarlyBird, she said.

    “As we dug deeper into what their data showed, it was evident that they had a problem,” she said.

    While dyslexia can interfere with the ability to read and learn for a lifetime, with the right instruction, students can do as well as their peers.

    In Haralson’s preschool classroom, 13 students ages 4 and 5 were assessed with EarlyBird. Six were flagged for extra help during short sessions twice a week, including the little girl who’d previously looked confused during alphabet lessons.

    She made “astounding progress,” Haralson said. “What a gift to catch it early.”

    Screening takes time, but pleases parents

    Arnold said the biggest pushback to the dyslexia screening was over the extra time it would take to administer.

    Massarotti admitted she was hesitant when Arnold proposed the idea. But her school adjusted the reading assessment schedule, and teachers and aides worked together to administer the screener as efficiently as possible, she said.

    “It can be done, and I think the data is worth the challenge that it takes,” she said.

    In many cases, parents were notified about the results of the EarlyBird screening at parent-teacher conferences. Often, the results confirmed suspicions families already had that something wasn’t quite right — say, their child wasn’t picking up the ABCs, or couldn’t find the right words to express themselves.

    Haralson said parents appreciated seeing the screening results and learning how they could shore up their children’s weak areas with early reading activities at home.

    “They were so psyched,” she said. “They thought it was brilliant that we were even looking this early to see if there was any type of issue.”

    Ann Schimke is a senior reporter at Chalkbeat, covering early childhood issues and early literacy. Contact Ann at aschimke@chalkbeat.org.

    Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

  • May 3, 2024
    PD Flyer for September conference with photos of key note speakers

    Registration Open for Rural Redefined SC BOCES Professional Conference

    Local Highlights

    Featuring the the work of area school districts, highlighting career and work-bsaed learning, including a student panel of area students! Learn more about our new initiative “Constructing Colorado Futures.”

    Featured Sessions

    Sessions appeal to all educators. With over 45 breakout sessions to choose from, everyone will find value - from early literacy to school safety and everything in between, we have sessions for everyone! We will hear a special keynote from Denille LePlatt, Executive Director of the South Central and San Luis Valley BOCES and Michael Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Innovation Zone!

    New Format

    This year, we will feature an updated format with plenty of time for interactive learning and networking time for job-alike peers! Make plans now to attend networking luncheons and connect with your peers!

    Scan the QR code on the flyer to register!

  • Apr 8, 2024


    South Central BOCES is proud to announce that we have been selected as a Phase 2 Grant Recipient of Opportunity Now Colorado – an $85 million grant program catalyzing transformative change for Colorado's workforce. We received the Scale grant to scale evidence-based practices in education and workforce development that meet employer needs and increase economic mobility for all. Visit opportunitynow.co to learn more about Phase 2 grant recipient’s programs and apply for Phase 3!

    Read our full press release here

  • Apr 8, 2024


    PREMONT, TEXAS, March 20, 2024 — In a groundbreaking initiative, the South Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of Colorado and the Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) of Texas are joining forces to pioneer a partnership aimed at enhancing educational and career opportunities for students in rural communities across both states. Funded by the Colorado Office of Economic Development’s Opportunity Now grant, this collaboration signifies a substantial advancement in ensuring that students have equitable access to career-connected education and opportunities regardless of their zip code.“A multi-state collaboration is a model for the future of rural education and we're thrilled to be partnering with the RSIZ to bring this to life," said Denille LePlatt, Executive Director of South Central BOCES. "This collaboration allows us to leverage the expertise of both organizations to create truly unique and impactful pathways that empower students to achieve success in high-demand, high-wage careers."The collaboration between South Central BOCES and the RSIZ reflects a collective effort to strengthen local economies, support workforce development, and maintain the unique identities of rural communities through enhanced educational opportunities. The two organizations operate under a collaborative model serving multiple school districts. Their partnership emerged over years of discussion and a shared vision to address common challenges in rural communities, like limited academic and economic options for students. By combining strengths and resources, South Central BOCES and the RSIZ can better tackle the need for innovation in rural education and workforce development."This is a win-win for students in both Colorado and Texas," said Michael Gonzalez, Executive Director of the RSIZ. "We’re stronger with locked arms. By working together, we can provide students with access to a wider range of career options and help them develop the skills they need to be successful in the workforce." A highlight of the collaboration is the plan to develop a student-sharing model, which will enable students from Colorado and Texas to gain valuable hands-on experience in new environments, fostering cross-state learning and cultural exchange. This unique opportunity will broaden students' horizons and expose them to new career possibilities that include everything from advanced manufacturing to broadcasting.The Opportunity Now grant has provided the necessary funding to bring this vision to life, allowing both organizations to develop and implement scalable models for student pathways and career development. The focus of the collaboration will be on establishing a sustainable framework for work-based learning that can be replicated across different states, thereby expanding educational and economic opportunities for rural students.“Investing in rural education isn't just about giving students a chance to stay in their communities, it's about creating a pipeline of talent for critical industries across the country,” explained LePlatt. “As an example of the potential, Colorado alone has a booming construction industry with over 2,766 job postings this summer, 51 percent above the national average. The state expects to need 40,000 new construction workers by 2027, with a particular need for electricians and plumbers. This partnership stands as a compelling testament to the dual benefits of investing in rural education, simultaneously catering to the aspirations of students and the demands of the workforce."For more information on the South Central BOCES and the RSIZ collaboration, or to follow the journey and support the initiative, please visit sc-boces.org or thersiz.org. Industry partners interested in supporting this initiative through sponsorships or job shadowing opportunities are encouraged to contact Michael A. Gonzalez at <mgonzalez@ruralschoolsinnovationzone.org.>About South Central BOCESThe South Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is a collaborative serving 12 member school districts spanning a vast 10,000 square mile region in Southern Colorado. The organization’s mission is to empower every student within their member districts to thrive academically, socially, and personally. Through collective efforts, they prioritize innovation, vitality, and effectiveness in education to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all learners.  The administrative unit for special education, South Central BOCES provides comprehensive support and resources to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities. In addition, they offer a spectrum of services including professional learning opportunities, alternative licensure programs, and academic supports designed to foster growth and success for educators and students alike. Driven by a commitment to collaboration and continuous improvement, South Central BOCES strives to be a catalyst for positive change in education. For more visit sc-boces.org.About the Rural School Innovation ZoneThe Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) represents a groundbreaking collaboration among five distinct districts in South Texas, aimed at redefining educational excellence in rural areas. By pooling resources, from advanced teaching staff to specialized facilities, and developing a curriculum tailored to the unique needs of the region, the RSIZ ensures equitable access and maximizes educational outcomes for all students. Initiatives such as industry-specific courses and local internship programs underscore their commitment to skills acquisition, college readiness, and enhanced job placements, reflecting their dedication to community engagement and student success. At the core of the RSIZ’s mission is the transformation of rural education into a conduit for community revitalization and student empowerment, fostering a workforce that is both deeply rooted and highly skilled. Through innovative partnerships and a commitment to skills-based education, the RSIZ is not just meeting the immediate needs of students; they are preparing them to be the architects of their own futures and the drivers of regional growth. For more visit thersiz.org.

  • Dec 18, 2023
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Financial Transparency
Financial Transparency
Conference information with photos of the speakers
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SC BOCES In the Know and On the Go
SC BOCES In the Know and On the Go
Rural Redefined: Save the Date September 16th 2024
Rural Redefined: Save the Date September 16th 2024

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