$3.7M wish list pitched to Steamboat's Education Fund Board

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View submitted grant applications and learn more about the Fund Board at www.steamboateducationfund.org.

— Officials from the Hayden, South Routt and Steamboat Springs school districts and leaders of education-oriented community groups such as Yampatika and Partners in Routt County filled a conference room in the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Wednesday night to pitch $3.7 million worth of grant requests to the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board.

The pitches for dollars that would support staff, programs and tech tools allowed Fund Board members to gauge the funding priorities of the three school districts that have seen budget cuts in recent years. The board also took note of what items the school districts did not ask for.

Specifically, the Steamboat Springs School District’s decision to not apply for funding for its elementary school Spanish language program, which was supported by a Fund Board grant this school year, concerned some Fund Board members.

“There is a lot of community support for the elementary school Spanish program, and I think parents will be disappointed if it goes away,” Fund Board President Kristi Brown said after the school districts presented grant requests.

Her concern was echoed by other board members.

Steamboat Superintendent Brad Meeks told the Fund Board that the school accountability committees at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools are considering eliminating next school year the Spanish language program, which is offered to third- through fifth-grade students, to dedicate more class time to literacy.

Meeks said the program’s fate could be decided as early as next month during budget discussions. The school district requested $118,000 to support its Spanish language program at the middle school.

Tech heavy

The Steamboat Springs School District requested a little more than $3 million from the Fund Board for next school year to support smaller class sizes and school programs that include Title I reading and special education. Requests also covered professional development for district staff, among other things.

While Steamboat scaled back its funding requests for technology hardware and software, the requests made by the Hayden and South Routt school districts were dominated by a desire for tech support that included Smartboards and better broadband capability. Technology-oriented requests made up 97 percent of the $254,500 in grant requests South Routt submitted to the Fund Board and 70 percent of the $178,779 Hayden requested.

South Routt is asking the Fund Board for $95,000 to install radios on towers at Emerald Mountain and in Oak Creek and Yampa that would increase the broadband speed between its secondary school campus and its elementary school. The project also would allow South Routt to tap into Steamboat’s data network and permit the two school districts to share more applications and technology resources over a unified network, according to Steamboat Technology Director Tim Miles.

Hayden requested $47,000 to fund a similar project that would create a wireless connection between its high school and elementary school.

The Fund Board is projecting it will dole out $2.5 million in grants next school year, a slight increase from this school year but well below the $2.9 million it was able to award in the 2009-10 school year from Steamboat’s half-cent sales tax.

“There are lots of needs in all of these districts,” Brown said after the presentations. “Unfortunately, a lot of cutting (from the grant applications) is going to happen over the next few months. Everyone is going to have to find ways to do what they need to do with less funding.”

Other notable funding requests include:

■ $240,630 by the Steamboat Springs School District to fund a full-day kindergarten program.

■ $25,000 by the Hayden School District for upgrades and renovations to its auditorium. The Fund Board previously has denied funding requests for the upgrades.

■ $30,000 by Yampatika for its environmental literacy program.

■ $37,500 by Partners in Routt County for its school-based mentors program, which pairs middle school students with AmeriCorps volunteers. Partners is hoping to expand the program to elementary school students next year.

■ $35,000 by North Routt Community Charter School to implement an expeditionary learning program.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

What is "environmental" literacy and how does it differ from the literacy that means you can read and write?

What is "expeditionary" learning and how does it differ from traditional learning which was / is done in a classroom?

As long as we are promoting new conceptual courses I would like to suggest a few...

  1. "Climate Change"; How Earths climate changed dramatically and frequently before the advent of internal combustion engines and Al Gore.
  2. "Making Change" Not the hopey kind but how to actually give a customer the correct change from a $20 bill. (twice this month my wife had to explain the process to high-school graduates)
  3. Volunteering; How real "volunteers" don't expect a salary.
  4. Paying Your Fair Share; How to shame the productive 10% of society into paying 90% of society's bills.
  5. Polar Bears; Who needs them?
  6. College; Is it right for you if you don't know which end of the tube the round comes out of?
  7. Supreme Court or Twitter; Who should decide the Constitutionality of the death penalty for failing 10th grade?
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John St Pierre 2 years, 8 months ago

God what a novel concept.. teaching literacy !!!! instead of Spanish... Why should kids need how to read????

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

The schools currently teach literacy. The test scores and other measures show that SB is doing a good job of teaching literacy. Learning a second language is generally considered, supported by extensive research, as helpful at learning one's primary language. Concepts that can be hard to understand when there is only one example are easier to understand when it can be seen in both languages. The Spanish language program may have issues and not be as good as it should be.

I truly do not understand the need for South Routt to purchase their own equipment to establish their own link to SB schools. Why can't they use Zirkel Wireless or DSL (now available in OC) to connect to SB's network?

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NRCCS 2 years, 8 months ago

Regarding questions about Expeditionary Learning, here is exactly what we do at the North Routt Community Charter School.

Expeditionary Learning (EL) is a curriculum model that challenges students to think critically and take active roles in classrooms and communities. Students learn best if the learning is a meaningful integration of interactive academic disciplines based on inquiry. EL challenges students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and community.

Learning expeditions are the cornerstone of the EL model--an in-depth, interdisciplinary investigation of a rich theme or topic. Teachers formulate guiding questions for expeditions that stimulate student inquiry and debate. Each learning expedition includes challenging projects, literature that relates to the theme or topic, fieldwork, adventure and service. Learning expeditions culminate in exhibits, performances, publications and other demanding products for audiences beyond the classroom.

In order to fully implement this inquiry-based model of learning at the North Routt Community Charter School, we have requested funding for extensive staff and curriculum development.

Professional development creates dynamic leadership by helping NRCCS teachers build collaborative teams focused on student achievement and continuous improvement. A fully trained staff will better incorporate the EL teaching practices into the development of interactive, standards based teaching units or expeditions.

EL creates a compelling curriculum by connecting learning to relevant issues and identified student needs. Academic content comes alive for students through the curricular structures of learning expeditions, case studies, projects, fieldwork and consultation with community experts, service learning, and exhibitions of student work. Projects are completed that challenge students to do the work of professionals--scientists, historians, mathematicians, writers, and artists. They work with experts and conduct field research to produce high-quality academic products that meet professional standards. Additionally, students contribute to our community through meaningful service embedded in the curriculum. In fact, several of our middle school students are coincidentally completing projects related to climate change and would gladly share the results with interested community members.

In addition to core character traits fostered at NRCCS, EL helps build a culture of respect, responsibility, courage, and kindness, where students and adults are committed to quality work and citizenship. NRCCS students graduate with the academic knowledge, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving capacity needed to succeed in the Steamboat Springs High School, college and beyond. They take leadership roles in their schools and communities, and hold themselves to high expectations for quality work, commitment to learning, and character.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

There are a lot of people in this country that are having to get by on their needs and not their wants. This list sounded like a bunch of wants. I value education. I got a college degree, worked 51 years, saved my money and no longer work. That said, government and education need to get along on their needs and not their wants.

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sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the answer NRCCS. Understood. I take it that since this program has not been fully implemented that the actual results are yet to be seen and the programs intentions are what you are describing above? How many students have graduated from this program?

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