Educators plan alternative track for seniors

Students who do not choose to go to college may soon have options

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— Hayden students who want to stay in Routt County but do not plan to attend college may soon get the skills they will need to find a job right out of high school.

Every Wednesday for the past several months, a group of 10 teachers, along with Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer, has been meeting to plan an alternative vocational track for students at the school.

Nothing is written in stone, but the group hopes to have a proposal for the Hayden School Board by spring break, Schafer said at Wednesday night's Hayden School Board meeting.

As it stands now, the group envisions a college-style schedule concept wherein the core classes such as math, science and English are taken during the freshman and sophomore years. At the junior level, students can either continue on the college track, taking the needed higher academic classes, or they can enroll in training programs for locally based careers. The school would offer such things as resort management, guiding and outfitting and mechanics.

"We would be able to customize a tailor-made curriculum for one kid," Schafer said. "But one thing we have determined this far is that there are a lot of variables, and this will take a lot of time to put together. We want to do it right the first time."

Schafer said the group is looking into internships at TIC and mining companies to incorporate the program.

"This program could fill a lot of needs of the school and the students," he said.

One need in particular, he said, would be the ability to gauge students' progress in academic subjects by the end of their sophomore year. The school has been working hard to improve scores on the SAT, the ACT and Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.

On Wednesday, Hayden High School students took a mock ACT test, Schafer said. All the tests were graded and students scored an average 17.8.

"Hopefully students will have a better handle of the ACT when it comes around in the spring," he said.

In other business, the board certified the mill levy for the 2003 tax year at 31.193 after the passage of a ballot issue to increase property taxes and with them teacher salaries.

On Wednesday night, the board awarded the McGuffey Award to former school board member Kelly Hayes. Hayes served on the board for six years. During his time on the board, Hayes served as secretary and vice president.

A written announcement of the award read "One of Kelly's significant contributions was his representation of the youth in the community. (He) kept close contact with them, listened to their concerns and therefore was keenly aware of their needs."

Superintendent Scott Mader also announced several candidates have been interviewed for the position of Cyber School teacher. A $39,000, three-year grant will allow the school district to hire a partner teacher for Margaret Berglund.

Mader said he plans to hire someone before the next board meeting. The board will be asked to vote on the hiring after the fact, which does not go against board procedures, Mader said.

"With the candidates we have, I don't think we will make a bad decision," he said.

The board went into executive session to discuss the possible sale of land at the corner of Third Street and Breeze Basin Boulevard to the town for a planned intersection realignment project. The town received an Energy Impact Grant for the improvement but cannot complete the project without the acquisition of a little more than an acre of land owned by the school district.

But before the board closed the meeting for the executive session, it took a break to celebrate Patty Bruchez's birthday.

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