Dolores seemingly will fill up again with students and teachers as the school year starts on Tuesday, Aug. 16.
An open house on campus will take place for students and teachers on Monday, Aug. 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students will be able to access their lockers and meet their teachers.
Superintendent Scott Cooper said everything is prepped and ready on campus, including a renovated football field.
The high school is going to a new block schedule that will give students more time in class. The elementary will improve the reading program, thanks to a $420,000 grant recently awarded by the Colorado Department of Education’s Read Act.
“It is the first revamp of the reading program and materials in 10 years,” Cooper said. “We’re receiving pallets and pallets of new books and materials.”
The three-year grant includes new textbooks, teacher training, curriculum materials and literary coaches.
Staff turnover was not a big issue compared with last year, when the school hired 23 new teachers and staff. This year, several new teachers and staff were hired.
Cristy Gomez was hired on as a preschool teacher. She has three children in the Dolores district and formerly taught at the High Desert Early Head Start in Cortez.
“I have two years’ teaching experience and 18 years’ experience as a parent,” she says. “I’m really excited to be part of a great team at Dolores.”
Maggie Gillette is the new band teacher and brings experience with multiple instruments. The position was expanded to full-time this year.
Gillette plans to bring back the marching band, and to expand the musical experience for all students.
“It is a time of growth for the music program,” she said. “There will be a lot of variety of music classes throughout the day.”
Brian Rhodes just moved to the area from Crestone, where he was a teacher in the Moffatt School District. He will be teaching fourth grade and has eight years’ teaching experience.
Besides hitting the books, Rhodes focuses on experiential education “to anchor what they are learning so they retain the information better.”
There is still open enrollment available at the Dolores School district for families who live outside the district boundaries.