The Dolores Re-4a School District has received two awards from the Colorado Department of Education for student performance on state tests.
Superintendent Phil Kasper announced that Dolores High School received the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award and the High School Academic Growth Award.
Kasper explained that the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Awards are given to schools that “demonstrate exceptional student growth.”
On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth and “meet or exceed” expectations on the indicator related to academic growth gaps.
The High School Academic Growth Awards recognize high schools that demonstrate the highest levels of students’ academic growth in Colorado Measures of Academic Success, English and math testing, as well as for SAT evidence-based reading and writing, and SAT math.
“Congratulations to the staff, students and moms and dads,” Kasper said.
“The credit goes to the teachers and students,” added high school principal Jen Hufman.
Vaping and school ratesHufman reported concerns about the use of e-cigarettes, commonly called vaping, by Dolores students. Reported incidents of vaping at the school are down this year, she said, but nationwide the trend is up, and it would be naive to think Dolores students are not part of the trend. It was suggested that new policies be explored that would allow the school resource officer to write citations.
According to the U.S. Center’s For Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado youths are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed.
A separate, more comprehensive state survey shows about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine, don’t see it as risky, and think vaping products are easy to get, even though it is illegal to purchase them as minors, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
“Vaping has replaced cigarettes as a way for underaged youth to use nicotine,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of CDPHE. “Too many of our young people don’t realize the health risks involved.”
Hufman said vaping devices are becoming more difficult to detect and manage because some are odorless and do not emit steam. She said new varieties are camouflaged as highlighters, memory sticks and even as hoodie cords.
The preschool is proposing to raise its rates from $34 per day to $37 per day to cover increasing costs. And the infant and toddler center is proposing to raise rates from $36 per day to $40 per day.
Board member Lenetta Shull suggested offering teachers with children a discount on the schools in order to keep them.
“Some teachers stop teaching because of the high cost of child care,” she said.
Other school board newsThe new school-based health clinic on the Dolores campus is now open for medical services. There will be an open house for school board members and school staff only at the facility, called Four Corners Youth Clinics, on Dec. 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. An open house for the general public will take place in January.
The school district is considering how to address older campus buildings that are not in compliance with the latest national flood plain requirements. A study that compares the cost of fixing the buildings with replacing them is needed.
The board discussed whether to purchase a lot at 14th Street and Hillside Avenue near the school from the town of Dolores. The board said that while it would be nice to have for uses such as additional parking for football games, purchasing it was not considered a priority.
Middle school students are fundraising for a new water fountain. So far, they have raised $1,000 for the project, which is expected to cost $2,400.
This story has been reposted to clarify that an open house for the Four Corners Youth Clinic on Dec. 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. is for school board members and school staff only. A public open house will be held in January.