Eagle County schools have new reading, language programs | VailDaily.com

Eagle County schools have new reading, language programs

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS elementary testing KA 08-30-10

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The first official day of school at the public elementary schools is Wednesday.

Read on to find out what’s new at your child’s school.

Avon Elementary, Avon: A new, electronic sign will soon take up residence outside the school. Along with displaying the time and temperature for the community, it will broadcast messages for parents.

Taking another stride into technology, the school will incorporate 30 iPod Touches into fourth- and fifth-grade lessons. The school received the iPod Touches last year but students will use them for the first time this year.

In the cafeteria, the school hopes to add fresh fruit to its breakfast program beginning around the second week of school.

In the classroom, the dual language program will expand to the fourth grade. Last year, students in kindergarten through third grade took dual language.

After school, The Youth Foundation will offer 40 minutes of tutoring daily along with its regular afterschool program.

Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle: The cafeteria is launching a pilot program with all entrees made in the school kitchen. Students should look for homemade dishes like Italian stromboli meat, cheese and veggies wrapped in Italian dough. Along with removing processed entrees, the school will introduce a fresh fruit and vegetable station. The cafeteria also switched to real silverware instead of the disposable variety.

Eagle Valley Elementary, Eagle: Second- through fifth-graders will have conversational Spanish every day instead of once or twice a week. Also, the dual language program will expand to first grade. Last year just kindergartenders were introduced to the program.

Eagle Valley may also become an official International Baccalaureate school. The school has been introducing the program to students over the past two years. This coming November, a team from the IB organization will evaluate the program and decide whether to authorize Eagle Valley Elementary as an official IB “world school.”

Edwards Elementary, Edwards: In the classroom, students will start the bilingual literacy program in third grade this year instead of fourth.

Also, the school will not put its modular classrooms to use this year. All classes will take place inside the main building, assistant principal Emily Larsen said. The school has about 30 fewer students than last year, for a total of 365, she said.

“We’ve noticed lots of families moving within the valley, which is pretty typical, and we’ve noticed quite a few families leaving the valley,” she said.

In the cafeteria, the school hopes to add fresh fruit and some hot food to its breakfast program.

Gypsum Elementary, Gypsum: Enrollment is up compared to last year. The school reports 338 students enrolled, up from 320 this time last year. Despite that, the equivalent of two full-time teaching positions at the school were casualties of the district-wide staff cuts.

Teachers and staff have been meeting to discuss how best to serve the needs of the students with fewer employees.

During their 90-minute planning sessions on Wednesdays, teachers this year are focusing on state standards for the curriculum.

In the classrooms, more teachers will be incorporating the school’s “clicker system,” handheld devices students use to answer questions and digitally shoot answers to the teacher’s computer.

The school also has a new cafeteria manager. The cafeteria installed a walk-in freezer and refrigerator.

June Creek Elementary, Edwards: The school is starting a breakfast program this year. The program will be free for students and likely will include cold cereal and fresh fruit.

Also, uniforms could be on the horizon. After 80 percent of parents who took a school survey last year said they supported uniforms for students, school leaders plan to engage parents in talks about whether to implement uniforms in the future.

In the classroom, six staff members are doing research on projects-based learning. They plan to weave those methods into their lessons this year, with plans to expand projects-based learning to the whole school in three to five years.

Enrollment at June Creek has reached 300 students, up from 259 students at the end of last year.

The Youth Foundation has taken over the afterschool program. Previously, The Learning Camp ran it.

Meadow Mountain Elementary, Eagle-Vail: Eric Olsen is the new assistant principal. He and Principal Missi Carpenter will be overseeing next fall’s merge between Meadow Mountain Elementary and Minturn Middle School. The schools are combining into the old Battle Mountain High School in Eagle-Vail.

Meadow Mountain plans to bring back its school play this year, after taking a break from it last year.

The school will also launch a breakfast program.

Also, The Youth Foundation will offer an afterschool program four days a week instead of three days.

With regard to parent-teacher conferences, students will play a bigger role. Students will plan the conference themselves and present it to their parents.

Red Hill Elementary, Gypsum: Students who need extra attention will get it. The school made room for a daily 60-minute time slot for reading intervention. Groups of students divided up by their needs will meet with a teacher during the regular school day.

In the same vein, first-graders struggling in reading will be eligible for extra one-on-one help with a teacher before and after school.

On the technology front, every teacher has a document camera this year. The device magnifies a page in a book or a student’s paper and projects it onto a big screen in the front of the classroom. Last year the school had just six document cameras.

In the classroom, the music instructor plans to teach kids ballroom dancing and organize a “Dancing With the Stars” style performance.

Red Sandstone Elementary, Vail: The theme for this year’s reading incentive program is “Reading Safari.” The program encourages students to read with their parents.

Also, the school’s new kindergarten teacher, Dr. Nancy Murri, has returned to the Vail Valley with a doctorate degree in tow.

With regard to extracurricular activities, one teacher is looking into the idea of starting a hiking club.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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