Tag Archives: Mountain Valley School District

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.

Career Fair Offers Options for Students

Students consider their future at the Career Fair held at Mountain Valley school on May 6. Photo: Miracle Gomez

On May 6 Mountain Valley School hosted a Career Fair organized by HEART of Saguache/KV. HEART Initiatives Organizer, Miracle Gomez and MVS School Counsellor, Lisa Powers were instrumental in making this event come together. Turnout was strong, with more than 60 students from Mountain Valley School, Moffat School, and Crestone CHarter attending booths hosted by more than 30 presenters. 

The gym was packed and the day event for students turned seamlessly into an evening Job Fair for the community. The Career Fair supported students in an exploration of their Individual Career and Academic Plans. This special event was a very informative opportunity for students to talk over their visions for and questions about the future. This will be an annual event that is very important for getting our students off to a good start in their post high school careers whether that involves entering the workforce, attending a trade school or going on to further their education in university.

The Career Fair brought together representatives from Aventa Credit Union, First Southwest Bank, The Village Pub, Alta Convenience Store, Mountain Valley Lumber, San Luis Rural Electric Cooperative, Power Zone Equipment Inc., Valley Publishing/Center Post Dispatch, Rio Grande Hospital – Physical and Occupational Therapy, Moffat Family Health Center – Valley Wide Health Systems, Valley Wide Dental, and Eagle Air Med. Government services participating included; Saguache County Land Use, Saguache County Housing Authority, Saguache County Social Services, Saguache County Administration, Saguache County Clerk and Recorder, Saguache County Road and Bridge, Town of Saguache, Saguache County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Buena Vista Correctional Complex, Saguache Volunteer Fire Department, and Northern Saguache County Ambulance District. Military branches attending included; United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, and the United States National Guard. Adams State University, Alpine Achievers Initiative, and Mountain Valley School District also had booths. Craig Schroeder presented on How to Become an Entrepreneur. Pavement Maintenance Services, Joyful Journey Hot Springs, and the United States Forest Service came specifically for the evening Job Fair.

The gym at Mountain Valley School was packed as the community came together to help students consider their career options. Photo: Miracle Gomez

The Career Fair was followed by Career Cabs which took place during school on Thursday, May 9th. For this event, the Mountain Valley sophomore class took a field trip to visit different employers in the area. Students got tours of the businesses and were talked to about the skills and education they would need for a potential career in the field. The students visited; Saguache County Social Services, United States Forest Service, Mountain Valley Lumber, Rio Grande Hospital, Power Zone Equipment Inc., Eagle Air Med, and Aventa Credit Union. Thank you to all the participating businesses for taking the time to support our students in such an important way.

HEART of Saguache/KV would like to thank all the students and presenters again for their enthusiasm and dedication in bringing this event to life. HEART and Mountain Valley School intend to make this an annual event that will continue to grow. Special thanks to Mountain Valley School for partnering with us make this all possible. If you would to be involved in this project please contact Miracle Gomez, HEART of Saguache/KV Initiatives Organizer at heartmgomez@gmail.com.