Don Williams: Giving credit

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I want to thank Susan Bacon for the article she wrote in the March 21 Sunday paper titled "An alternative approach to education." However, I feel that there were several people and organizations involved in the creation of the Routt County Alternative School who were not mentioned.

The school began as a collaboration between the South Routt school district, the Hayden school district, Northwest Colorado BOCES, and a few members from the community. Two committees were formed that met during the course of a year to design a school using the input from all of these people. One committee was led by a man named Tom Heald, who is the director of the Yampa Mountain School (an alternative school in Glenwood Springs). Tom had worked with Steve Jones (the South Routt school district superintendent), to set up the Yampa Mountain School.

The committees involved in planning the Routt County Alternative School included some very wise and experienced people with different educational backgrounds. There were two superintendents (Steve Jones and Scott Mader), four school principals (James Chamberlain and Richard Coleman from Soroco, and Nick Shafer and Colleen Poole from Hayden) and a few BOCES employees (Jane Toothaker, Sharon Taliaferro and Lynn Meyers). Bob Anderson from the Conoco Station in Steamboat also was an active member on one of the committees, as well as Terry Gerba (a school counselor), Robin Tschider (a special education teacher) and a few other educators.

The Hayden school district decided to pursue its own version of an alternative school, which they called "Cyber school." The South Routt school district decided to start the Routt County Alternative School in Oak Creek. The funding for the school was provided by a grant from the Colorado Department of Education. The grant was written by Lynn Meyers (the grant writer for BOCES) and Steve Jones (the South Routt superintendent). Additional funding has been provided by the South Routt school district.

I was very embarrassed when I realized that the article in the Steamboat Pilot made it sound as if I had single-handedly started the Routt County Alternative School, when I was simply a small cog in a big wheel. The policy manual was written by combining the input of all the previously mentioned people (as well as a few people on other committees, who I have failed to mention because of my fading memory).

Don Williams

Routt County Alternative School director

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