Yampa Valley High School lead teacher Chuck Rosemond was named Steamboat Springs School District's educator of the year for 2013-14.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Yampa Valley High School lead teacher Chuck Rosemond was named Steamboat Springs School District's educator of the year for 2013-14.

Steamboat Springs School District educator of the year longs to change YVHS reputation

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— When Steamboat Springs School District Curriculum Director Marty Lamansky approached Yampa Valley High School lead teacher Chuck Rosemond at the beginning of the year with the broadest of education administrative questions — “What do you need?” — Rosemond didn’t need much time to think before he answered.

Most high school teachers seek funding for materials to fill classrooms and keep students advancing along their curriculum. Rosemond wanted his alternative school students to be able to attend Steamboat Springs High School’s prom.

The idea is simple: More than materials or money, Rosemond wants to squash the perception that Yampa Valley High School is for bad kids. Moreover, he wants those kids getting a bad rap from outsiders to feel like any other high school student inching his or her way along toward a diploma and graduation.

“There is always this perception with alternative high schools that it’s a school for kids who have been expelled from other programs,” Rosemond said. “In a lot of districts, that is the deal. We definitely have struggled with that — our image. I think we are emerging in a place right now that we’re establishing a reputation finally.”

It’s a school of choice, as the five-year teacher said. Students must apply, and when they’re accepted, they shouldn't expect a movie to be played for their entertainment to fill the school day.

YVHS has its own curriculum, its own diploma and some of the strictest attendance and performance guidelines found in Routt County.

It’s a pass-fail program without homework. If students are to learn, Rosemond said, they are going to have to show up in class every day.

School policies may be unconventional in comparison to Steamboat, Hayden or Soroco, but Yampa Valley High School's goals are no different.

“We serve students that are motivated to graduate from high school,” Rosemond said. “We aren’t a glorified daycare down here.”

For the first time since the Steamboat Springs School District took YVHS under its wing four years ago, teachers at the alternative school were put in the pool of candidates for the district's annual educator of the year award.

At the May 19 school board meeting, Rosemond accepted the honor.

He hopes to share the award to get YVHS “on the map." He has spent the better part of his career in small-classroom environments, beginning with adjudicated youths in Pennsylvania. He went on to work with Outward Bound, The Lowell Whiteman School and YVHS even before the district recognized it as one of its own.

He remembers the day YVHS used to be tucked away in the farthest reaches of the district’s grounds on Seventh Street. Slowly but surely, the school transitioned into the district building’s facade, where remodels were made with real classrooms and lockers for students — another way for its 28 students to feel like the high-schoolers they are.

And as the end of May approaches with graduation right around the corner, YVHS students got to enjoy what most teenagers do when school winds down — they got to attend prom.

“All these little things that finally made us feel like a school,” Rosemond said. “Students no longer felt like they were going to an alt school.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

Comments

Scott Wedel 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It’s a pass-fail program without homework.

Well, there is the center of having a diminished reputation. What is wrong with grades recognizing more knowledge and skill than merely Pass? And no homework gives up on learning the material in another setting at another time which is generally considered very helpful in learning the material.

There is no particular reason that an alternative school cannot have grades and homework.

The alternative high school in the high school district that I attended was able to attract some college headed students for a semester because it wasn't a black hole on the transcript.

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bill schurman 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Congratulations on developing this asset to the community. Grades are not necessarily meaningful. My son was not exactly a scholar grade wise in high school but that did not prevent him from graduating from Regis University. And after all I got the A1 in Property Law in Law School at DU and I no nothing about property law. So there you go!

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bill schurman 6 months, 4 weeks ago

You got me, this I "no". But, thanks for proof reading.

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rhys jones 6 months, 4 weeks ago

DU!! Regis!! Just get in; your future is assured. My degree is from Wasted State, which, along with a buck, will get me a cup of coffee at McDonald's. My cumulative 3.42 GPA over four years impresses nobody. I bailed on it and that career, shortly after moving here.

One of my first friends upon moving here had a toddler son, whom I thought was rather slow... years later, I'm writing my software, washing dishes at night to support it... now this kid is in high school, my assistant at the restaurant... then he goes to Mines, gets hired by Intel, flies around the country, making beaucoup bucks, putting out fires for them... meanwhile I still wash dishes...

So there you go!! Go where you can!! And don't study humanities; science and math are where it's at.

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Zac Brennan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Congratulations Mr. Rosemond. Keep up the good work!

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jerry carlton 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree Zac! Sounds like a person who was meant to be a teacher!

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I went to college at UC Santa Cruz which at the time didn't have letter grades, but gave written evaluations. It was nice since it meant a point or two on homework or a test didn't matter since you wouldn't miss a grade cutoff by a few points. Thus, students didn't bother arguing with how the professors docked points for mistakes. It also meant that you could recover and get highly positive evaluation after a poor midterm because there would be a sentence saying how you did on the final. That was nice. It also gave the opportunity for some very nice comments. I saw one where the evaluation said a student showed good understanding of the material and then had a paragraph on how the student was so helpful to other students in the class. So it was a B with a testimonial that you want this person as part of your organization.

The typical written evaluation would say how you did on the midterms, homework and final exam with often a statement on overall quality of work Typically, it would use words like "excellent", "very good", "average" which were were code words for grades. So the typical evaluation read like a series of grades on the classwork with an overall rating so central admin could calculate a GPA if required by some grad school.

So I am not suggesting that grades are required, but Pass/Fail is notorious for having the goal of achieving Pass with no incentive to do any better than that. Thus, a YVHS graduate showing a Pass/Fail transcript is going to be recognized as coming from a lesser high school by a typical employer and will be seen as having a C average. Whereas, grades or written evaluations might be seen as still from an alternative high school, but it doesn't have the stigma of Pass/Fail.

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mark hartless 6 months, 4 weeks ago

"My Child Passed at YVHS"

What a great bumper sticker

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jerry carlton 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Beats being a dropout in any of our country's major cities where drug dealing is your current or future occupation.

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well duh, but the goal of YVHS isn't to just be better than a drop out drug dealer, but to become comparable to the normal high school including going to the prom.

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rhys jones 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I can empathize with your point, Jerry, but let's do the numbers: If everybody is selling drugs, who is buying them? I would submit that there are a whole lot more people in the latter category.

Don't sell drug-dealing short. One could get rich quickly, were one to do it right. Problem is, there are so many pitfalls. You deal with a shady element, in secret, since your activities are illegal. The larger amount of money involved, the more you have to watch your back, because there are armed jackals out there, only too happy to lighten your load.

It takes a toll on your body, depending on substance, some are more benign than others, because you have to party with your clientele, usually on what they just bought from you, you're just lucky you're not pushing alcohol...

You get phone calls at 3 AM -- "C'mon, ya OWE me."

Nothing ever happens on time; your guy is having too much fun getting it for you. The line of people waiting stretches out your door.

But the worst part is, if you make a mistake, the law grabs you, and now you're dealing with the likes of YOU, Jerry, running your life and laying on the guilt trip...

That alone was reason to find another line of work. :-)

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jerry carlton 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Rhys It has been over 20 years since I kept the druggies and dealers locked up but the ugliness of addictions {including alcohol} never leaves the memory. It creates a sad sight.

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