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Re: To Jeffrey
dog has bad ears

    I teach in Douglas County. I think we have good health insurance as for
    choice of plans. I do wish the district had 3 levels: employee only,
    employee & family are the two they currently have. I wish they would
    add: employee & spouse. Married pays the same as married with 1-
    unlimited number of kids. Other than that - can' complain. Have dental
    & vision insurance too. We have a very strong, active union as well. Dues are competitive. To
    be honest, I was a union member for 12 years in my other state. Been
    here 6 years now and haven't joined. I've had no problems and have
    saved the monthly fees. I get all the perks but just can't vote on
    things (such as calendar changes, etc). I do get a vote in our contract
    though. We have gotten raises in the 6 years I've been here.

    Douglas County has a reputation of almost being 'too academic'
    oriented. They push for all students to go to college and as you well
    know, college isn't for everyone. Douglas County has good high schools,
    opportunities for AP classes as well as IB programs. Good sports teams
    in many forms - swimming, wrestling, lacrosse, football, hockey,
    softball, baseball and more.

    It is hard to get into Douglas to teach. Personally I didn't have
    problems and even had a choice of schools. As you will read though,
    others have had bad luck. You really do have to stand out to get
    noticed. With hundreds of applicants to choose from, they hire only the
    best.

    Douglas County has pay incentives. You can apply for Outstanding
    Teacher or Master Teacher which gives you approx $1200. extra a year.
    I've gotten it. If you are National Board Certified - you get about
    double that a year. The district offers classes that you can take and
    get paid to do so. Average price for 18 hour class is approx. $325.

    Douglas County has a wide range of economic levels. Mostly it is middle
    to high class. Some kids have no one on free/reduced lunch. A few
    schools have a high number due to low-income apartments in their feeder
    area. We have a lot of spoiled, rich white kids. Not a whole lot of
    diversity in student body or in the staff.

    Douglas County has at least 6 calendars. There's traditional which is
    the typical school year calendar. Modified is similar to that but
    different by 2 weeks. Then there are 4 tracks (A,B,C,D). Track schools
    are at the elementary level and are year round. Not all elementary are
    tracks. Since Douglas County is growing leaps and bounds, there are not
    enough schools/space for the kids. I know 2 years ago, one school had
    the 4 tracks and was still crowded and they added another called "BB".
    So - it is unique. All middle schools and high schools are on
    traditional calendar. Our middle schools end at 8th grade. Some start
    at 6th and some are just 7th and 8th.

    At the high school, classes can have 32 kids. Elementary - not sure
    really but my friend has 29 kids.

    If you move to Highlands Ranch - expect to pay no less than $200,000
    for a house. You could find a condo for under 200.

    Hope you found this info helpful.