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Red Canyon High School gets big grant

Cindy Ramunno Special to the Daily

Red Canyon High School is the valley’s alternative high school for kids all over the valley.

Although it’s only been in existence for three years, the school has been very successful with staff members thinking “outside of the box’ to motivate and teach young men and women – most of whom don’t fit in with the traditional setting most public high schools offer.

The school boasts a waiting list and is capped out at 72 students. Why? Because sitting in a classroom for six to seven hours just doesn’t happen at Red Canyon.



Four years ago, Mark Strakbein was the principal of Battle Mountain High School. It was there that he began work on Red Canyon High School.

Strakbein spearheaded the movement for an alternative high school in the valley, and for those who know him, they know that Strakbein is all about taking opportunities. So when the opportunity came for the school to receive major funds from an outward bound program, Strakbein jumped at the chance.



Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound is the model Red Canyon is working under and the school received $210,000 to implement it.

“It’s not “outward bound’ in the typical way that we think of that term,” says Strakbein. “It’s in-depth study of certain subjects or themes.”

The school received the funds via the Colorado Reform School Grant.



For instance, a group of Red Canyon students recently helped spawn the trout beds at Dillon Lake. After the scuba-diving adventure, they cleaned up around the lake.

“We’re creating learning experiences that are interesting to students’ lives,” says Strakbein. He adds that since different students are interested in different events and themes, unique experiences are created to benefit every student.

This money will create more opportunities such as this.

The district recently employed a grant writer, Melinda Glatisch.

“Melinda was instrumental in us receiving these funds,” says Strakbein. “It will provide tremendous opportunities for kids.”

The projects and themes hit every core subject: science, language arts, math and social studies, and then some. Kids are learning through an experience as it relates to them. These experiences are “hands-on’ learning at its best.

For more information on programs at Red Canyon High School, call 328-2852.


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