Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School District is breaking records and proving it has some of the most innovative educators in the state.
Steamboat Springs High School's FLITE (Freshman Learning in a Team Environment) instructors have been selected as the Colorado School-to-Career Education Innovators of the Year. In fact, folks at the Colorado School-to-Career Partnership found the efforts of Cindy Gay, Mike Smith, Jerry Buelter, Lisa Wilderman and John St. George so impressive that they created a new award category so they could acknowledge them no one had ever nominated a team of teachers before.
"This is unprecedented," RE-2 Superintendent Cyndy Simms said. "After winning the award three years in a row, the district had already set a record. I think we've set a record that can't be broken."
This is the fourth time in as many years that Steamboat Springs School District educators have won a school-to-career award from the Colorado Department of Education.
In 1997, Allyson Spear was recognized for her fifth-grade mini-job internship program. In 1998, Jeff Ruff was recognized as the middle school teacher of the year for his "project business," which exposed students to the challenges and rewards of operating their own fly-tying companies. In 1999, Bill Shue was honored as high school teacher of the year for his "shop bus" program in which he converted an old school bus into a mobile classroom during the renovation of Steamboat Springs High School.
The award-winning team of FLITE teachers received recognition for a classroom partnership with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Yampa Valley Community Mapping Project.
"It's absolutely remarkable," School Board member Dr. Matt Hermes said after hearing of the team award.
The teachers guided a group of 80 students in developing a management plan for a newly acquired 400-acre state wildlife area. Small groups of students were paired with business mentors, including a newspaper reporter, a land planning consultant and surveyors to work on their sections of the project.
The final management plan contained data analysis, geographic information system maps, soil analysis, wildlife information, vegetation information and community survey results. The students made presentations and a series of recommendations to the Routt County Board of Commissioners and the Colorado Wildlife Commission.
High school principal Dave Schmid congratulated the teachers for accomplishing something that most people said couldn't be done. "You've proved them wrong, and done a wonderful thing for these students," he said. "They've learned a lot about life."