Our commitment, as a district, is to ensure all our students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their dreams and reach their potential.
We provide multiple supports to students to prepare them for college or career while they are still in our schools. In fact, Montezuma-Cortez High School offers more advanced placement courses, more concurrent enrollment options, and more career and technical classes than any other school in our area.
For many of our students, pursuing their dreams includes going to college. MCHS offers advanced placement courses such as AP English and AP Physics that are challenging college-level classes, which give students an opportunity to gain the skills and experience that colleges recognize. MCHS also offers concurrent enrollment classes, which allow students to earn college credit while they are still in high school and at no cost to the student.
Students who take full advantage of this have the option to earn an associate’s degree while they are still in high school.
Last year, the high school offered 13 concurrent enrollment classes.
We also know that some of our students may need additional support to gain the skills they need to get into college and continued support for being successful once they get there. That is why we are excited to share that we have received a seven- year GEAR UP grant, which will allow us to provide support to our students for a longer period.
The district is already implementing AVID, a program that provides middle and high school students with additional support in college and career readiness skills ranging from organizational skills, reading and writing, and collaboration, to critical thinking.
The GEAR UP program will build on this and allow us to provide additional student advising to individuals and small groups in middle school and high school to help them create a plan for college application and enrollment.
The GEAR UP program will also help students with developing college-ready skills and preparing for and taking key college admissions tests such as the SAT.
Finally, and perhaps most exciting, the GEAR UP program will allow us to continue our support of students after high school graduation and into their early college years.
Many students struggle their first year of college with being away from home, adapting to the college environment, and adjusting to new schedules and expectations.
This program will allow our advisor to check in with these students and help them work through challenges they may encounter once they enter college and help them be successful in achieving their college dream.
For some of our students, their dreams include going right from high school graduation into a career. MCHS also offers more career and technical education classes than any other school in our region.
We offer courses and career pathways that allow students to earn industry-recognized certification in the medical field (EMS and CNA), fire science, agriculture, art, computer applications, culinary arts, welding and much more. Students who graduate with these certificates are ready to move directly into pursuing a rewarding career in a field of their choice.
It is personally exciting for me to see so many of our graduates, whom I watched grow up in our schools, currently working in and contributing to our community after graduating from high school or upon returning to our community after graduation from college. Seeing our students pursue their goals and dreams is why I have stayed with the Cortez School District for years, and why I took this job as superintendent.
Supporting our students in reaching their potential is also why our teachers are so dedicated to our students and community.
Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Reach her at email@example.com.