Consultant emphasizes technology, alternatives

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Plenty of stay-at-home moms have served on the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, but now a stay-at-home dad is ready to step up.

At least that’s what Centennial resident Dallas Jones was until the younger of his two daughters graduated from Arapahoe High School last spring.

“I’ve been happy with the way I’ve lived my life and the choices I’ve made,” he said. “Being a stay-at-home dad 14 years ago was not so popular. But good, bad or indifferent, the choices I’ve made have been mine. That’s what I want for Littleton Public Schools kids — a chance to control their own lives.”

Jones’ background is in business and computer science. He has a master’s degree in management and works as a financial-systems consultant.

“We’re moving into a world that is going to be more and more data driven,” he said. “One of the things I’m excited to do on the board is to push us in that direction.”

Jones is excited about the possibilities of alternate forms of delivering curriculum, and puts forth Khan Academy as an example. It’s a free online resource that lets anyone, anywhere take classes, and the Los Altos School District in California is piloting it.

“That’s where I would like to go as well,” said Jones. “Littleton has always been on the forefront of innovation, so it makes sense to go in that direction. … We’ve got to be open to new ideas, and it’s interesting, because I think schools are about the last institution to embrace technology.”

Khan lets students study at their own pace but requires an absolute level of proficiency before allowing them to advance. In other words, there is only one passing grade instead of only one failing grade, as in traditional schools.

“The concept is changing education, because now we punish people for making mistakes and we allow them to be mediocre and move on,” he said.

Jones has been on the district’s financial advisory committee, among others. But he considers himself an outsider, especially now that his girls have graduated. While he thinks it’s great so many LPS grads go on to college, as his did, he notes that’s not everyone’s path.

“Let’s make students aware of what’s possible after high school,” he said. “Lots are college-driven, and that’s the majority, but it’s certainly not the only possibility. Whether it’s the military, business, trade school — I think we can do a better job of spelling that out and showing the way there,” he said.

To that end, he would place a strong emphasis on customer service.

“We do a pretty good job in customer service, but where we can improve is to push the idea of education ownership earlier,” he said.

Like the other four candidates, Jones hopes the current board decides to place a bond issue on the November ballot to strengthen the physical and technological infrastructure that makes learning possible.

“We love having kids, and we want to make the most out of every child’s future,” he said. “And more importantly, we want to teach them to make the most out of their own future.”