Eagle County students return to the classroom | VailDaily.com

Eagle County students return to the classroom

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
CVR teacher prep KA 08-27-10

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Today marks the first day of school for most of Eagle County’s public middle and high schools.

Read on to see what’s new at each school.

Battle Mountain High School, Edwards: Teachers will use a new grading system. Students will no longer receive points for extra credit, participation or effort, as they could in past years. The new grading system uses a set of rubrics to measure whether students are mastering specific learning targets.

Outside the school, the football field has new sport turf. The company that installed the turf last year has replaced it.

Eagle Valley High School, Gypsum: The schedule is back to normal this year. Last year, the school had to shorten the school year and lengthen the school day so work could wrap up over the summer on a $23 million renovation at the school. This year, the school day is back to 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., and the school year has returned to 174 days long.

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Freshman can sign up for a new class, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers.” Students will hone technology skills such as computer drafting and video broadcasting. As the course name implies, they will also read Stephen R. Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Also, teachers will receive training in six focus areas such as standards-based instruction and 21st century skills.

Red Canyon High School, Edwards and Eagle: Several new science classes will be among the offerings. A class on “renewable and nonrenewable resources” will incorporate the British Petroleum oil spill in the gulf. Also, a new water ecology class will focus on the health of the Eagle River.

To kick off the year, new students will attend a luncheon in Beaver Creek and meet Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the original “Little Rock Nine.” The “Little Rock Nine” are a group of African American students who enrolled in the racially segregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, Minturn: Students, students and more students. The number of kids enrolled at the school has skyrocketed from about 60 last year to 94 this year. As a result, the academy has taken over two more classrooms inside Minturn Middle School. The school also added a full-time registrar to oversee scheduling and extended a part-time foreign language position into a full-time job. That means students will be able to take foreign languages over the winter, in addition to the fall and spring. New electives will include art, ballroom dancing, mock trial, geology and environmental science. On the skiing front, Abby Ghent will be training with the U.S. Alpine Ski Team’s development squad this year.

Eagle County Charter Academy, Edwards: Teachers will focus on positive reinforcement for good behavior. Students will get rewards for “random acts of character” such as picking up trash or helping another student with schoolwork. The school will send home forms to parents letting them know their kid displayed good character.

Also, bullying prevention will be a top priority. New teacher training and parent forums will touch on the role of the not-so-innocent bystander.

Plus, students will be meeting with teachers on Monday and Tuesday to define their personal and academic goals for the year.

Finally, the multi-purpose “Hawk” room got a new checkerboard floor.

Stone Creek Charter School, Avon: The school revised its upper school math program. Instead of grouping students by grade level, the school will group students according to their math skill level. Also, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders will be eligible for high school level algebra and geometry courses. To that end, the school has hired a math specialist.

In addition, the school started a new staff development program. Representatives from Peak to Peak charter school in Lafayette, Colorado, recently visited the school to do training with teachers.

New America School, Gypsum: The school officially becomes part of the Eagle County School District this year. Previously, it was a charter school affiliated with the school district.

Also, some of the school’s night classes will take place at Battle Mountain High School.

Minturn Middle School, Minturn: Missi Carpenter took over as principal this year, replacing Toni Boush. Eric Olsen has assumed the assistant principal job. Carpenter and Olsen plan to help the school prepare for its merge next fall with Meadow Mountain Elementary. The schools will be combined at the old Battle Mountain High School in Eagle-Vail. To get ready for the merge, the school has planned several joint events with Meadow Mountain Elementary including a holiday concert, poetry slam, expeditionary learning expo and family dance.

Inside the classrooms, teachers who traveled to Ireland, Iceland and Virginia this past summer will incorporate their studies into their lesson plans.

Eagle Valley Middle School, Eagle: The school is bringing back its spring play after a three-year hiatus. Also, the school has at least one new teacher in every grade, with seven new teachers total.

Berry Creek Middle School, Edwards: Students will start their day a little differently on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Students will arrive at their first classroom at 8:20 a.m. for 10 minutes of silent reading. Previously, students lingered in the cafeteria until it was time to head to their first classroom. Also new, the school will team up with community groups to offer guest speakers or activities on Tuesday mornings. Students will do those activities while teachers meet from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m.

Gypsum Creek Middle School, Gypsum: The school has two new teachers, enjoying exceptionally low teacher turnover for the second year in a row. In previous years, the school had replaced anywhere from five to nine teachers each year.

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

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