Category Archives: Schools

Top Priority: Reading

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

I taught public school fifth graders a long time ago, sometimes called “Old School.”  At least it seems like it these days.  However, there’s one thing that never changes: Reading. If you’ve been reading my columns this past year, you know that I believe Reading should be the highest teaching priority. Since you are reading this column, you, too, have learned to read. But what are teachers required to teach and what demands priority in their classroom?

First, we look at all things that determine a curriculum. In Colorado, the local board of education and the district make determinations about classroom curriculum. Here are a few classroom subjects that we frequently hear are priorities these days, social-emotional instruction, climate change, sex education, bullying, school safety, active shooter drills, anxiety coping, comfort animals (college for this one), mental health, vaping, food insecurity, suicide prevention, trauma, feeling unsafe (fear), character building and mindfulness (to name a few).

Reading: Start Early!

How do teachers determine where they spend valuable classroom time? I hear selecting curriculum can be, and is, overwhelming for teachers. By the way, did I forget to mention Reading and Writing?  What’s important, and how does a teacher prioritize?

To me, Reading should be first and foremost on a teachers list. Evidence-based research states that students between grades K-3 should be taught reading skills for at least ninety minutes per day.  For every year they are behind grade level, an additional 15 minutes should be added.  Why? Because the most important role in education is to prepare children to become successful readers. This is the mission of the READ Act (Reading to Ensure Academic Success) that I’ve been sharing with community members in my district.  In September, I was in Moffat county, a school district where teachers have learned the Science of Teaching Reading. In this district Elementary students have experienced considerable achievement growth, surpassing the state average, since their teachers were trained. I’ve also been in New Castle, Mancos, Norwood, Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Pueblo.  In October, I’m scheduled to speak in Montrose, Grand Junction, and Steamboat Springs. Some subjects are challenging to measure; but, evidence-based reading instruction is measurable, is proven to work, and leads to success. In kindergarten through third grade, students learn to read then they read to learn.  And, quite possibly, acquire information, not from being told, but by reading firsthand.

Rep. Joyce Rankin

If you know of additional subjects that are prioritized higher than Reading, send me an email. And please don’t include math, science, social studies, art and music. That’s “Old school!” joycesrankin@gmail.com.

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District which includes Leadville and Lake County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She can be reached at: joycesrankin@gmail.com.

Leaders Turn Tassels for Saguache

By Kathy Bedell, Saguache Today

While this time of year generally marks the back-to-school season, there was a special graduation ceremony held this past week that is noteworthy in Saguache Today.

Congratulations to the 7 members of the graduating class of the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) from the HEART of Saguache/KV Estates: Cristalray Dominguez, Jamie Dominguez, Michelle Loddy, Jeron Parkins, Carla Quintana , Nyla Thompson, and Peggy Williams.

On August 23, the 2018/19 graduates participated in a ceremony and celebration as they concluded a multi-week course which is offered t o “adults who want to make a difference in the community by focusing on positive leadership and civic skills.”

Here is an overview of their community projects!

Next Classes Begin in October

How will you use your voice in 2019-2020? Explore new ways and techniques to do so by taking the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) offered in Saguache by HEART of Saguache/KV. This free 20-week class starts on October 2, 2019 and is offered to adults who want to make a difference in the community by focusing on positive leadership and civic skills.

FLTI graduates, family & friends celebrated with a community BBQ after their graduation ceremony on August 24 after completing the 20-week leadership course.

 “I am so grateful to be able to go from someone who doesn’t feel like they belong in their community to someone who is so engaged and has so many connections with people around the community,” said one graduate who took the class in 2016. FLTI class will be held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month and dinner will be provided.  Classes will begin on October 2, 2019.  Space is limited apply now! Call Miracle Gomez, 719-849-3645 or email: heartmgomez@gmail.com

What is FLTI?

The Family Leadership Training Institute of Colorado (FLTI) operates under CSU’s Office of Engagement, with program support provided by CSU Extension, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office of Community Engagement.

FLTI coordinates locally based, leadership development and civic literacy training sites offering 20 weeks of classes designed to promote greater cooperation between individuals, families, institutions, public administrators and elected officials throughout the state. The 20-week training experience is modeled after the Connecticut Commission on Children’s Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) curriculum and its community implementation practices.

Participating in the FLTI experience provides Coloradans with the opportunities to build their skills, develop robust social networks, and form civic partnerships necessary to make an extraordinary community impact.

Michelle Loddy’s project involved starting a community garden at KV Estates.