Letters to the Editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the Editor

TAP showing results

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to a recent comment published in the Vail Daily’s Tipsline regarding the Eagle County School District Teacher Advancement Program.

We are only in our second year of TAP operations, but we have already seen significant student achievement gains in schools that launched the program. In particular the largest gains in last year’s School Accountability Reports were recorded by two of our TAP schools – Gypsum Elementary and Red Hill Elementary – which both jumped to “high” ratings and showed “significant improvement.”

Those results were echoed in the NWEA results, the district’s other standardized achievement testing model.

Any change worth making takes an investment of time and money. All Teacher Advancement Program costs incurred to date have been funded by the community through passage of the 3-D election. The district is committed to providing support so our teachers can reach their highest potential and we strongly believe that our high performing teachers should be rewarded financially.

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The Teacher Advancement Program represents a substantial systemic change from the way public education has traditionally operated. We understand that this change has caused anxiety among staff. That is the nature of change.

But we remain committed in the central motivation for launching this reform. The very best thing we can do to improve student achievement is to make sure that a well-prepared and highly effective teacher is in front of every one of our students, every single day.

Volumes of research have been compiled to show that teacher effectiveness is the single most important factor in determining student success. By giving teachers the professional support they need, providing them with time to work in collaboration with their peers and rewarding them financially for their successes, we believe the Teacher Advancement Program is an effort that champions teachers.

By supporting teachers, we support kids. That’s what TAP is all about.

John Brendza


Eagle County School District

Working together

On behalf of Gore Range Natural Science School (GRNSS), I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to our partners at the Discovery Center on Vail Mountain.

Vail Resorts and the Holy Cross Ranger District (White River National Forest) give generously to ensure that GRNSS fulfills its mission “to raise environmental awareness and inspire stewardship through natural science learning experiences in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Ecosystem.”

We see the results of this partnership daily. Our snowshoe tours are up 40 percent over last season. This means we not only see more people on tours, we spend more time with them. This success is due in no small part to the significant financial and in-kind contributions from Vail Resorts and the Holy Cross Ranger District.

Housed in a yurt atop the gondola at Eagle’s Nest, the Discovery Center provides visitors to Vail Mountain an opportunity to learn about the natural environment in which they recreate. Our naturalist staff offers short indoor interpretive programs, and leads guided snowshoe tours daily at 3 p.m. Vail’s commitment to providing public access to this wonderful resource allows non-skiing visitors the opportunity to join us on these tours. The gondola is free to foot traffic every day this winter after 2 p.m.

The partnership between Vail Resorts, the Forest Service and GRNSS is an outstanding example of how a public corporation, government agency and non profit organization can work together to benefit the community and the natural world.

If you have not done so, please visit the Discovery Center and learn more about the unique natural environment atop Vail Mountain.

Markian Feduschak

Executive Director

Gore Range Natural Science School

Great event

The Bravo! Guild would like to thank all the sponsors, volunteers, and participants in the 11th annual Bravo! By Starlight Snowshoe and Cross-Country Event, which was held on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Vail Nordic Center. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Bravo! Music Education Fund.

Special thanks go to Tom Gaylord at the Vail Recreation District for setting up the course and to Vail Resorts Inc. for their contribution of illuminating glowsticks. Thanks to Patty Gray at the Seasons at the Green for donating the Kreuger Room for registration and awards, along with a welcome supply of hot chocolate. Thanks to Fiesta’s and the Tap Room for donating chili and to Meet The Wilderness for use of their snowshoes.

A special thanks to the following local merchants who contributed to the prize drawing: AlpenRose, Golden Eagle, 4 Eagle Ranch, Cordillera, TiAmo, Bob’s, Paddy’s, Masato’s, Hair Dudes, 1st Bank, Fiesta’s, Pazzo’s, and Bogart’s.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts in making this event successful, and hope to see you this summer at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival concerts.

Marcia McCalden

The Bravo! Guild

Tough break

With the recent articles in the Vail Daily on injuries and rescues, I thought I would share my story. I was skiing there over New Year’s for five days with my 14-year-old son.

I have been skiing in Colorado, mainly Vail, for about 22 years, but usually only for a week, sometimes 10 days or so. On the last day, five minutes from finishing, I fell at the bottom of Bear Tree while slowing down to stop near my son.

I must have been tired as it was a slow and twisting fall and my binding did not release and I broke my left leg in a couple of places. I am almost 59 and guess I tire more easily. It was fairly early, about 2:45 p.m. My son wanted to go ice skating and I wanted to finish early as the runs were not groomed much as it snowed that morning. –

But I sure wish the binding would have released. It was checked later as being correct for my age and weight and level II skier. The only day that I fell was that last day and I had done some difficult runs on the other days, like Blue Ox and Emperor’s Choice after they were groomed. Maybe I should have taken another lesson, but the last two times that I had taken lessons at Vail, private and public, the instructors sure emphasized speed, I thought. The bindings do release better when going faster, but you have to stop some time.

My leg didn’t hurt at first and I was wondering if I really broke it, but after the sled arrived and they turned me over and put me in it, it sure hurt. They operated the next day and I now have a plate in my leg with 14 screws. I was a hospital resident for almost five days and my son had to fly home alone for the first time. It is now the end of February and I still cannot walk without crutches or barely with a cane. Still hurts, too.

The doctor here in St. Louis, who does the professional hockey team players and other athletes, said the doctor in Vail, Dr. Abbott, sure did a good job. Lots of practice, I guess.

But when I asked the doctors at Vail hospital if they ski, only one said that he still does. Maybe they were trying to make me feel better since they probably assumed I never will again. In fact, one said that I would have a hard time emotionally doing it.

It does seem crazy to hook planks to your feet real securely and ski down a mountain. But I used to think that it was second only to sex in terms of pleasure and rush. Now I am definitely not supposed to jog anymore, but I mainly did that to get ready to go skiing at Vail.

My last comment is that the hospital was really busy while I was there. The person next to my bed had also broken his leg and a nurse said that about 20 people were admitted with broken bones that day. They sure were lined up in the operating room. While not many die while skiing, how many injuries result from skiing? The medical bills are not cheap. Does Vail Resorts keep those statistics??

Does anyone want to buy my time-share? Check the ads in the Vail Daily March 5-11 for Wk 10 at Apollo Park.

Mike Zahner

St. Louis

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