LETTERS

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WHAT THEY DESERVEWith the results of the Nov. 6 election still fresh in our minds, I would like to take this time to thank all the Steamboat Springs residents whose vote passed Referendum 3A, increasing teacher salaries in our school district.

Over the past few years, the state of Colorado, as well as our community, has raised the level of expectations for our public school system.

Teachers now must strive for high standardized test scores while instructing with creativity, technology and up-to-date knowledge.

Steamboat Springs' teachers have passed the test by leading students to incredible rankings on the 2001 Colorado Student Assessment Program exams.

When compared with all other school districts in the state of Colorado, of which there are 179, Steamboat Springs ranked in the:

Top 2 percent in seventh-grade reading and fourth-grade writing

Top 9 percent in eighth-grade math

Top 6 percent in fifth-grade math

Top 7 percent in third-grade reading

Top 4 percent in seventh-grade writing and fourth-grade reading

Top 6 percent in 10th-grade reading

Top 7 percent in ninth-grade reading and 10th-grade writing

These incredible scores are the result of hours of preparation and instruction by teachers of this district. Through their hard work they have created one of the best educational environments in the state.

Parents can be proud that their children attend schools whose staff have been recipients of numerous awards. The Steamboat Springs School District has employed the Colorado School to Career Teacher of the Year for four years in a row, an honor held by no other school district.

Our children's teaching staff is one of the finest as it consists of a Colorado Teacher of the Year finalist and last year's Colorado Science Teacher of the Year, who was selected by a presidential panel in Washington, D.C.

Our schools have also received honorary awards for their excellence. Strawberry Park Elementary has been awarded the John Erwin School of Excellence for the past two years and the past several years our high school has received the prestigious CHSAA Norwest Cup award, citing excellence in sportsmanship and academic achievement among its many extracurricular participants.

Even though the Steamboat schools have produced impressive test scores and been recipients to many honors, they encompass much more. We have all at one time been a part of the excitement of last-minute comebacks from Steamboat's many state qualifying athletic teams.

Many of us have spent a joyous evening listening to talented vocalists at concerts and we all have been witness to the amazing Steamboat band on skis during Winter Carnival.

Many of us have strolled through the creative science fairs, marveling at the ingenuity and revelations of young minds.

The electric car races have produced large gatherings with national visitors as Steamboat Middle School students race their intricately designed craft.

This past weekend, hundreds of us poured into the high school theater to watch the dramatic presentation of "The Wizard of Oz" with our children. Behind each of these events is an educator who has devoted hours of time to present an experience we as a community can enjoy.

Often, these countless hours are not mandated by a teacher contract but instead come from the hearts of people devoted to their jobs.

This community has made education a priority with past voter support and has once again voted to continue the excellence found within our schools.

The passing of Referendum 3A was not about the comparison of professional salaries or job descriptions. It was about recognition.

With this step we have shown we value the passion of our educators.

The teachers, administrators and support staff in the Steamboat School District have worked very hard to achieve the high standards that have been set for them.

It is about time we recognize the people behind the excellence and reward them for their efforts.

Beth Bishop

Steamboat Springs

THE 'REAL' TRUTHI usually do not write letters, but your article of Nov. 8 prompts me to respond. This is the second time the Pilot has written a headline with a negative connotation, when the real result of an airline decision is actually very encouraging.

A few weeks ago, your headline read that United Airlines had dropped flights into Hayden. If one read to the end of the article, the total result of that airline move was to INCREASE the number of seats into our area.

By dropping a couple of actual flights and using LARGER aircraft on the remaining flights, Steamboat tourism actually gained seating capacity into the valley.

A reader was not informed until almost the very last sentence of your article the true facts. How great it is that larger aircraft with more passenger comfort over mountain flight conditions is now available for our tourists.

Your Nov. 8 negative headline that Continental was trimming its schedule out of New York,was also featured in reverse. Page 8 notation stated that Inbound Seats are still higher than last winter by no less than 15,000! How fantastic!

The Houston route was bolstered by 3,000 seats alone, using larger more comfortable aircraft. Your headline should have told positives instead of the doom and gloom attitude.

Our townspeople will benefit, along with ski corp. and merchants, resulting from increased revenue spending by tourism from these airline decisions to increase seating capacity.

People who know the great skiing mountain located here will make sure they arrive here from the East Coast connecting through Denver or Houston and have a fantastic time!

More people who experience flying anxiety will be willing to board a comfortable aircraft than those "tiny little airplanes with bumpy flights over the mountains" that we have so often heard about.

How about the real truth, in a positive light, next time you write regarding tourism.

Sue Kelly

Steamboat Springs

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