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Education & Childcare

Courtesy Photo / Anna Stonehouse

More than 500 high school seniors in the Roaring Fork Valley graduated Saturday from parked cars and outdoor celebrations rather than traditional gymnasium and football field ceremonies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Car horns replaced rounds of applause, and graduates wore face coverings. Now that these graduates have their diplomas, some worry their college plans may not go according to plan. 

Kendall Reiley / Glenwood Springs Elementary School

As the school year comes to an end for Roaring Fork School District and Aspen School District students, the districts are already preparing for what learning may look like in the fall. 

(HS)2 / Colorado Rocky Mountain School

As schools everywhere are faced with the dilemma of cancelling summer programs amid the pandemic, ‘High School, High Scholar,’  known as '(HS)2' at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, or CRMS, in Carbondale is going virtual. 

Dana Berro / Courtesy Photo

Honks, sirens and cheers filled the streets of Aspen Friday afternoon as Aspen School District teachers drove through town to wave to students and their families. Educators decorated their cars with posters and cheered as they passed students lining sidewalks. 

Kendall Reiley / Glenwood Springs Elementary School

For Kendall Reiley, a fifth grade teacher at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, the first week of working virtually with students had her feeling, well, hopeful. 

Colorado Mountain College / Facebook

Alexa Vorhees, 20, graduates in May from Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Springs campus with an associates of arts degree after working hard for several years to maintain all A’s. 

Vorhees looked forward to having her grandmother fly in from out-of-state to watch her walk across the graduation stage, but all in-person Colorado Mountain College graduation ceremonies were canceled

Courtesy Photo / David Baugh

Last week, Aspen School District announced David Baugh as the new superintendent. He will transition to the Roaring Fork Valley from Pennsylvania this summer; he currently serves as the superintendent for the Centennial School District. 

Roaring Fork Schools / Facebook

Students in the Roaring Fork School District will begin online learning April 20. District officials said they are working with students, their families and teachers to assess their needs until then.

Facebook

The Aspen School District's Board of Education announced Tuesday its next superintendent will be David Baugh. He will move to the Roaring Fork Valley in the coming months from Conshohocken, PA where he was Centennial School District's superintendent.

Elise Thatcher / Aspen Public Radio

Census day comes every ten years on April 1. When Coloradans fill out the census, it determines how federal funds are allocated to each state. After the 2010 census, Colorado received over $13 billion throughout the decade for schools, transportation services and other state-funded projects and programs. 

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado public schools are closed until at least April 17, so Aspen School District is rolling out virtual learning for its students beginning April 1. 

Students will access content on their own time and work at their own pace, instead of teachers and students meeting online in real-time each day. 

Garfield RE-2 School District / Facebook

While the Garfield RE-2 School District is closed until April 17, at the earliest, due to COVID-19, the district has been working to still provide free breakfast and lunch to its students.

Thursday, March 18 is the last day for students in Rifle, Silt and New Castle to get those meals since spring break technically begins Friday. Local organizations LIFT-UP and the River Center will provide mobile lunch services during the break.

Governor Jared Polis said Tuesday that all public schools will be closed until April 17. The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to work to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time.

Pixabay

The Roaring Fork School District announced Friday all district schools will be closed until March 29 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

The two week closure, one week including spring break, will allow custodial teams to deep clean schools, and district officials to monitor the coronavirus outbreak with local public health officials. 

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen School District will be closed Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Interim superintendent Tom Heald said in a letter to parents and community members that school principals will meet Friday with staff to go over plans and expectations going forward.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Mountain College announced Thursday all campuses will extend spring break until March 20 and hold classes online for three weeks starting March 23 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. 

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

The Roaring Fork and Aspen school districts are putting plans into place as coronavirus spreads. Sporting events are canceled, schools are preparing for conducting classes online and penalties for absences are being waived if they are related to COVID-19. 

Courtesy Photo / Sage Kaufman

Four eighth-grade students at Riverview School are hosting Empowerfest Friday. The event highlights female leaders as well as local organizations working to promote equality for all genders, races and abilities.

Students Sage Kaufman, Kate Hardaker, Taia Nykerk and Lily Stelzriede worked since the beginning of the school year to recruit speakers and local organizations for Friday's event.

Allison Johnson / Basalt Middle School

Actors from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Violence Prevention Program performed at Basalt Middle School last week. The program uses live performances and roleplay to teach students Shakespeare literacy and ways to intervene when they see violence in school.

Aspen High School / Facebook

Aspen School District's Board of Education announced four finalists for the district's new superintendent. The board initially interviewed 24 candidates and now the finalists will head into the final-round interviews on Tuesday, March 3. 

Every ten years, people all over the country take part in the census, a national headcount that decides how government resources are distributed that's responsible for bringing 13 billion dollars of federal funding to Colorado. 

School districts in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield County received 25 million dollars from the last census, which took place in 2010.  Aspen School District receieved $1.4 million from the previous census. $11.7 million went to the Roaring Fork School District.

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

UPDATE 11:10 A.M.

Pitkin County officials say Watson Divide Road from Highway 82 to Snowmass Creek Road is closed to all traffic until further notice. If you live on Watson Divide Road, officials say you will have access through. 

Eagle County says their county government offices and departments will have reduced services today. Glenwood Springs City Hall has closed for the day. 

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

The Aspen School District is currently searching for its next superintendent, and the Board of Education has made community outreach a priority in the process. 

Consulting company Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates worked with the district to create a leadership profile outlining what the community would like to see in the next superintendent. 

Aspen High School / Facebook

As Aspen School District looks for a new district superintendent, it is encouraging community members to help with the process. 

The district is working to create an advisory group made up of students, parents, staff and other valley residents. Board of Education President Susan Marolt says the group will sit in on final-round interviews and give input to help inform the board’s decision. 

Two members of Aspen High School’s robotics team have written and illustrated a children’s book, "Betty the Yeti," that extols the joys of STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. 

Author Jeremy Martin and illustrator Tilly Swanson sat down with kindergarteners at Aspen Elementary School last Friday to read the book, talk about robotics and show off the robotics team's robot. 

Colorado Mountain College / Facebook


For the second year, Garfield County Board of Commissioners authorized the Colorado Mountain College Foundation to apply on the county’s behalf for $75,000 in scholarship funds.

The state’s Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, or COSI, provides scholarship funds for 501c3 nonprofit organizations to administer. Each such nonprofit must be authorized by a county partner to apply for the funds, and then the nonprofit pledges to provide matching funds.

LIFT-UP / Facebook

Winter break started a week ago for Roaring Fork School District students, and the time off could mean some students are left without food they would typically get in school. 

Sarah Fedishen, the director of Family Services at the Family Resource Center in the district, says to help students and their families who are food insecure, the district gave them food before the break started and also works with local food pantry Lift Up. 

CREATIVE COMMONS/GOOGLE/US NAVY

A group that works to make childcare more affordable and accessible in the mid-valley is asking the town of Basalt to fund a study of the town’s childcare needs.

The Basalt Early Childhood Coalition is asking for $10,000 for that study.  The last needs assessment for the area was completed by Kids First, which coordinates childcare in Aspen, along with the City of Aspen, ten years ago.

WikiMedia

More and more schools are using something called restorative practices in an effort to reduce harmful verbal behavior and encourage positive behavior through building healthy relationships between students, educators and administrative staff.

The Roaring Fork School District is working to move towards more of these restorative practices. To educate parents and community members how these practices would benefit its students, they are holding a three day event series throughout the Valley. 

Creative Commons/Google/US Navy

As of 2014, the average annual cost of childcare was anywhere from $16 to $18 thousand per child in Pitkin County. City of Aspen’s Kids First Childcare Financial Aid helps families bear that cost. The deadline to apply for that aid is Friday, November 1. 

To be eligible for the financial aid, families must work or live in Aspen’s urban growth boundary, which is the downtown area to just beyond the airport. Parents must work while the children are in daycare, and use a service within Pitkin County. The children in childcare must be five years or younger.

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