Tag Archives: San Luis Valley Tourism Association

Saguache News – April 18

Students Must Pass Civics Test – Can You?

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

“An informed citizenry is the heart of a dynamic democracy.”

                                                                                    Thomas Jefferson

Joyce Rankin

Civics is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship. The United States Citizenship Civics Test is the test all immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship must pass. Unlike Colorado some states are requiring that students pass the test before receiving a high school diploma.

Currently only 24 percent of U.S. high school students are proficient in civics. Proficient is defined as “competent or skilled” however a passing grade in many states, and for those desiring citizenship is 60 percent, which, I believe is a pretty low bar. According to a recent study a third of all U.S. citizens can’t name even one branch of our federal government.* An organization called the Civics Education Initiative believes that high school students should be required to pass the 100 basic facts immigration test. I would add that if those entering our country need to earn a score of 60 percent, shouldn’t current citizens be able to answer all 100 of the questions correctly?

Under current Colorado law (C.R.S. 22-1-104), Colorado students are required to take and satisfactorily pass a Civics course to graduate from High School. Remarkably, in Colorado, this is the only graduation requirement in state law. The actual law states: The history and civil government of the state of Colorado shall be taught in all the public schools of this state.  Note the word “shall” in this statement.  It’s critical, when reading bills, to note “shall” as opposed to “may”. Both terms are used in bill writing and, of course, have very different meanings.  You seldom see the word “shall” because Colorado is a local control state. This bill however states that history and civil government “shall”, or “will be”, taught. The bill goes on to state that: Satisfactory completion of a course on the civil government of the United States and the state of Colorado, (which includes the subjects described in subsection 2 including history, culture, and contributions of minorities, including, but not limited to, the American Indians, the Hispanic Americans, and the African Americans), shall be taught in all the public schools of the state.

In the previous paragraph you may have noticed that students are “required to take and satisfactorily pass” a Civics course. What does satisfactorily mean? That is left up to the school district.  Some districts may require a higher standard to pass than others. Is one correct answer “satisfactorily passing”? It depends on your school district.

Some people believe that there are too many tests given to students and we can’t possibly add another. I believe that next to reading and math, being a good citizen should be the foundation of our educational system and our country.  Our state should rise to the challenge and require high school graduates to not only be able to pass the test but understand the history and responsibilities behind the answers.

* There are three branches of Government: Legislative, Judicial and Executive.

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.


Saguache News – March 31

Have a Blessed Easter in Saguache

Easter_St Agnus Altar

Easter Services for St. Angus Catholic Church in Saguache will be at 8 a.m. Easter Sunday. Photo: Saguache Today


Saguache News – March 23

SLV Conference: 2017 Highlights Branding

By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

The San Luis Valley Tourism Association (SLVTA) held its annual conference in Alamosa at Adams State University on February 21. Saguache Today was there to find out what’s new in the valley and also spread the good news about what’s happening in Saguache Today.San Luis Valley Assoc Logo

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” was one of the primary themes among all the various agencies and tourist-related businesses represented at the annual conference. A spirit of cooperation, combined with the competition was encouraged, resulting in a relatively new buzz word for many rural Colorado communities: “coopetition.”

The SLVTA   is comprised of six counties: Saguache, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Conejos, Costilla, and Mineral. Each area has wonderful, unique things to offer, from towering mountain ranges, and flat prairies, to hot springs spas and rough and tumble rodeos. The regions rich heritage is celebrated with the renovation of historic buildings and tourist trains, to new cultural-agriculture projects which are keeping generations tethered together through community gardens and eclectic music venues. 

The area represented by this tourism association is big and wide spread. But, as attendees learned during a lighter moment in the conference, the SLV is also so tightly knit together, that it was discovered that the Great Sand Dunes Ranger’s father/physician delivered the mayor of Antonito’s mother-in-law!

And so, in that spirit of coopetition about 60 key players and SLV partners came together for a catch up, of sorts at the annual conference. Saguache Today will be bringing readers those updates in preparation for the summer tourist season. It’s good to know what’s happening whether it’s the new community garden in Conejos County or when the theater season kicks off in Creede.

So, read on, and stay tuned to find out what’s happening in the valley and what the future of tourism looks like.

SLV Conference_crowd_2

The San Luis Valley Tourism Association drew a good crowd during their annual conference last February. The organization comprises of representatives from six counties who are all part of tourism in the SLV. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

SLVTA Highlights “Keep It Cool” Campaign

Jay Young with the San Luis Valley Tourism Association (SLVTA) and owner of Colorado Gators Reptile Park in Mosca, kicked off the annual conference with an overview of the tourism association’s 2017 activities and marketing efforts. Since the group is relatively new, much of the focus in 2017 was on branding and marketing strategies.

Last year, explained Young, the SLVTA put into play the monies secured from a Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) grant. A majority of those funds went into the “Keep it Cool” Campaign, which included a SLVTA map and brochure. Over 100,000 were printed and placed in the Colorado welcome centers, as well as distributed in the Grand Canyon corridor, encouraging Arizona residents to come up out of the summer heat. Part of those CTO monies also helped to purchase two billboards in Denver from April – August 2017, during the warmer months. Many people mentioned seeing the signs, reported Young.  The SLVTA also purchased print ads in Discover Taos and Colorado.com magazines. The 2017 “Keep It Cool” campaign was touted a success bringing more people into the valley to visit.SLVTAKeep Cool

Looking ahead into 2018, while the CTO grant funds will not be available for this year’s budget, the SLVTA’s marketing efforts are still keenly focused, just on a smaller scale to stay in line with the budget. The “Keep It Cool” campaign continues offering visitors a reprieve from warmer temperatures. All in attendance at the conference predicted a busier summer season for 2018. Is your business ready?

Readers can stay connected to the Visit San Luis Valley Facebook page, which is the most up-to-date communication method and maintained by SLVTA board member, the fabulous Kat Hazleton Olance who is also the president of the San Luis Valley Museum Association.

Later in the conference, the six counties that represent the SLVTA were given an opportunity to update attendees about what is happening in their areas and what’s on the horizon for 2018. Since each report is rather detailed, we’ll be breaking it up a bit at a time through the spring season. For today’s closing report, Saguache Today brings you the latest from the Gator Park!


The new Gator Lagoon is complete at the Colorado Gator and Reptile Park located in Mosca off Highway 17 in the beautiful San Luis Valley.

Colorado Gators Reptile Park – is one of the Valley’s most unique attractions!  The Park originally began in 1977 as a fish farm, using geothermal water to grow tilapia for human consumption.  All of the tilapia are sold live, but of course not all of the fish live to go to market; so in 1987 the owners purchased 100 baby alligators to eat the dead fish.  Soon people found out about the alligators and wanted to see them so in 1990 Colorado Gators opened to the public.  Before long people were dropping off their unwanted/illegal pet alligators.  Today Colorado Gators is an alligator and reptile rescue, home to 300 alligators, crocodiles, caiman, and hundreds of other reptiles including giant pythons, rattlesnakes, huge lizards, turtles and tortoises, and so much more!  

Colorado Gators Reptile Park is located in the heart of the SLV and is “the only high-altitude alligator farm,” now a full blown tourist attraction. The idea stemmed from convenience, really, as the site was originally a fish farm and the best way to dispose of the remains of that venture were gators.  Today they also offer classes in gator wresting. Now, that’s got to be on somebody’s birthday wish list!

And if you’re looking for something a bit more subdued but that will capture the attention of your friends and followers, then remember, every visitor to Colorado Gators has the opportunity to meet, pet, hold, and take pictures with a little alligator!  For $2 visitors can buy a bucket of “Gator Chow” to feed the alligators, and occasionally there will be dead fish available to feed to the alligators as well!  The park also has several large African Sulcata tortoises that wander freely throughout their own sections of the tour.  Feel free to pet these tortoises, but watch your step, there are several low “tortoise fences” to keep each tortoise in his or her section.  


Mr. Bo Mangles is one of 5 albino alligators on display at Colorado Gators. There are only about 50 albino alligators in the world. Photo: Colorado Gators Reptile Park.

Two of their most popular exhibits are the albino alligators, including Mr. Bo Mangles, and Morris the Hollywood alligator from “Happy Gilmore.”  Some of the other reptiles you can see at Colorado Gators Reptile Park are:  fearsome Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, a 17′ reticulated python, anacondas, red tail boas, 3 species of rattlesnakes, monitor lizards, tegus, geckos, iguanas, box turtles, snapping turtles, and caiman.

Who knew, a zoo, right in the middle of the San Luis Valley?! For more information visit: Colorado Gators. The Colorado Gators Reptile Park is located at 9162 CR 9 N Mosca, CO 81146. Phone: (719) 378-2612 Connect with them on Facebook

That’s all for the first report from the SLVTA Annual Conference. Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to send Saguache Today your news. ST primarily focuses on things happening in Saguache and Saguache County, but we’ll do our best to help spread the word about things happening throughout the valley. You can email documents, photos and video to info@saguachetoday.com.

Kathy Bedell is a Colorado journalist who owns The Great Pumpkin, LLC, a digital media company located in Leadville, Colorado. She publishes two online news sites: Leadville Today and Saguache Today.




Sagauche News – March 19

Tree Pruning Workshop Planned for April

Those who live in Saguache Today fully understand how important those big beautiful trees are that line the local streets and sidewalks. They provide shade from the sun and shelter from the storm. So if you’re looking to improve your understanding of how to care for these incredible living monuments, there’s good news!Trees_Easment_Saguache Today

The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) will be offering a tree pruning workshop on Thursday April 5 in Center. The primary focus of the workshop will be the pruning of young trees from the ground without the use of a ladder. By using basic tools such as pruning shears and small pruning saws, participants will gain hands-on experience in basic tree pruning techniques and structural pruning. There is a $20 fee for the workshop and space is limited, so make your plans and reservations today!

“It is better practice to remove branches while they are smaller”, says Adam Moore, Forester at the CSFS Alamosa Field Office. According to data released by the CSFS, it is much easier for a tree to heal over a 1- to 2-inch diameter wound versus a 5- to 6-inch diameter wound, the latter caused by removing a larger branch later on in a tree’s life. It also is much more cost-effective to remove smaller branches than it is to remove larger ones.

Trees add value to a property by accentuating a home’s architecture, enhancing aesthetics, providing summer shade and offering protection from winter winds. Trees benefits can be improved through pruning young trees to provide clearance over sidewalks and streets will help to minimize the amount of large-diameter limbs removed in the future.

Vince Urbina, community forester with the CSFS Urban and Community Forestry Program, will be the instructor for the workshop. The following pruning topics will be covered:

  • Developing and maintaining one dominant vertical stem.
  • Branch spacing.
  • Where to prune.
  • How much to prune?

 “Vince brings a wealth of knowledge from the nursery, fruit tree and community forestry industries,” says Moore.

The workshop will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 5 in the Kiwanis Building at S. Broadway St and E. 5th Street. The morning session will be classroom-based, with an afternoon field session. The cost of the workshop is $20, which includes lunch. Space is limited to 20 participants so be sure to register early. Call 719-587-0915 for reservations.          

The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) provides professional forestry assistance, wildfire mitigation expertise and outreach and education to help landowners and communities achieve their forest management goals. The CSFS is a service and outreach agency of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and provides staffing for the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. For more information, visit csfs.colostate.edu

Saguache News – March 16

Help for Landlords in Saguache Today

Do you own a rental property in Saguache Today? Or maybe you are a property manager and are looking for more information about the eviction process?House in SaguacheToday

Then circle March 22 on the calendar and be sure to secure your reservation by March 20 for the 4th Annual Free Clinic on Eviction Process. Presented by the 12 judicial District’s “Access to Justice Committee,” the program will take place from 3 – 5 p.m. next Thursday, March 22

This is the fourth annual free presentation on the legal process landlords must follow in an eviction. The presentation will cover the basic steps and requirements and also include a panel discussion with  attorneys, judges, court personnel and law enforcement. This is a great opportunity to know your rights and get any questions answered – for FREE!

Seating is limited please RSVP by March 20.  For more information and to register please contact Kaylene Guymon at (719) 589-7621 or 12selfhelp@judicial.state.co.usEviction March 20_Sag

This presentation is for tenants landlord’s property owner’s property managers attorneys and other interested in learning more about the eviction process

Join the March 22 from 3 to 5 PM in the San Luis Valley behavioral health east building entered through the east entrance located at 8745 county road nine S is in Alamosa at the the

Saguache News – March 13

CO Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees Named

An astronaut, four nonprofit leaders and activists, a university chancellor, a former Colorado Lt. Governor, a journalist and suffragette, an educator of the deaf, and a community builder and cattle owner comprise the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Class of 2018. 

In honor of March being Women’s History Month,  Saguache Today brings you the ten inductees who are the next group of extraordinary contemporary and historical women with significant ties to Colorado. These women will be inducted on March 28 in Denver; do any have ties to Saguache Today?  Regardless, they are all people who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields, inspired and elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and society.CWHF_Invite.jpg

“Extraordinary is the operative word,” says Beth Barela, Chair of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF).  “These women are unsung heroes who have endured with superlative strength, beauty and love.  They deserve to have their stories told and to be honored as shining examples of the potential of all women.”

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 1985.  Every two years, the organization inducts contemporary and historical women with significant ties to Colorado; who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields, elevated the status of women, helped open new frontiers for women and society, and have been sources of inspiration for others by their example.

Since its founding, the CWHF has inducted 152 women from many races, backgrounds, economic levels, career choices, political philosophies, and religious beliefs for their outstanding contributions to society.

The lives of these extraordinary women are proof of what can be achieved with passion, commitment, spirit, grit and the grace to stand tall in the face of obstacles. They are trailblazers, visionaries, and women of courage, glass-ceiling breakers, innovators, and rule changers in all walks of life. Their contributions span Colorado’s colorful and storied history, reaching all four corners of our state, and have spread to touch our nation and our world. 


Contemporary Inductees

Leslie Foster – Non Profit Leader and Activist, President of The Gathering Place.

Leslie Foster

Leslie Foster

For nearly 30 years, Leslie has devoted her career and her outside activities to transforming the lives of women, children, and people who are transgender by providing positive relationships, resources and a community of support through her work as President of The Gathering Place, a Denver nonprofit organization.  Additionally, Leslie has supported and mentored countless women volunteers, service recipients and professionals who share her desire to improve the world, who value their own strengths, and then who use their strengths to make contributions to improve their own lives and the lives of others.

Gerie Grimes – Early Childhood Education activist/Non Profit leader The Hope Center

Gerie Grimes
Gerie Grimes

Gerie Grimes has dedicated and committed her life to the needs of others (especially women and women of color of all ages), building community and using her voice to be a strong advocate for the voiceless. She has dedicated 36 years of her life to Hope Center, originally called Hope Center for the Retarded.  Gerie has dedicated her life to creating the opportunity for all children to have a better early childhood education experience.  She has led Hope Center for the last 12 years.  Her leadership, intelligence and expertise has made Denver’s Hope Center a model for how all children deserve the best education – no matter race or level of capability that society has labeled them.  As Marie Montessori said, “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six.”  International research supports this belief.

In addition, Her leadership roles include being active in the Denver community serving presently and in the past on many boards and committees, such as the Center for African American Health, Denver Early Childhood Council, Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, National Black Child Development Institute Denver Affiliate, Equity in Early Childhood Coalition, Transforming the Early Childhood Education Workforce (National efforts), Denver Preschool Program Advisory Board, Holly Area Redevelopment Project (HARP), East5ide Unified Leadership Team, Mayor’s Head Start Policy Council, Mayor’s Early Childhood Education Commission, Metro State University Board of Trustees, Metro State University Alumni Board, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Falcons Youth Organization and the Police Activities League. She presently serves as Board Treasurer for Colorado’s Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Susan Helms – Military, Astronaut. The first U. S. military woman in space, Susan Helms is a retired Air Force lieutenant general (LTG) and astronaut who was a crewmember on four space shuttle missions, holds the world record for the longest space walk (8 hours and 56 minutes), and was the first woman to serve on the International Space Station (ISS).

Susan Helms

Susan Helms

She was a member of the first class at the Air Force Academy to include women, flew on over 30 American and Canadian aircraft as a flight engineer and weapons separation engineer (planes including the F-15 and F-16 fighters), and retired in 2014 as a three-star general after serving as the first female commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

LTG Helms is a resident of Colorado Springs, where she lives in the home she purchased in 2002, intending to retire there. She is a 1980 graduate of the Air Force Academy. She returned to the academy from 1985 to 1987 to teach aeronautical engineering and was assigned to the Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base from 2002 to 2004.

Dorothy Horrell – Educator and Community Builder, Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver. As a community college president, leader of the state system of community colleges, foundation executive, chair of a higher education governing board, and now university chancellor, Dorothy Horrell has a proven record of transformative leadership. 

Dorothy Horrell

Dorothy Horrell

Throughout her illustrious career, she has been a trailblazer, often serving as the first or only female in her position, and along the way has inspired countless others to realize that their full potential.

Raised on a farm and ranch homesteaded by her grandfather in Northeastern Colorado, Dr. Horrell’s roots run deep in the “Centennial State.”  She earned her first paycheck by working summers at the Cherub Home, a residential facility for developmentally disabled children in Holyoke.  Her professional career began as an Adams County high school teacher, moving from there into state administration at the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.  From there she rose through the ranks to become the first female Director of the Division of Occupational Education, President of Red Rocks Community College for 10 years.  After almost 30 years as an educator, she entered the non-profit sector as President for the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.  In 2016, Dr. Horrell became Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, where she remains today. 

Fay Matsukage – Law/Asian Activist. Fay Matsukage is an accomplished attorney with a reputation for professionalism and integrity who has dedicated her life and career to furthering the interests of women and those of Asian Pacific descent.

Fay Matsukage

Fay Matsukage

Her civic engagement, humility, courage under adversity, work ethic, and her contributions to the Colorado community exemplify the values of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

Today, she practices law at the Doida Law Group, LLC, Ms. Matsukage is one of the few female subject matter experts in securities law with her level of seniority and experienced. She also has made considerable, long‐term contributions to the legal field and to the Asian Pacific Community. From the beginning of her career, Ms. Matsukage worked in a male‐dominated field as a woman of Asian descent and faced the daily challenge of proving herself as a professional and as an equal. She was inspired by these challenges to start charitable foundations that are so well funded to this day they provide annual scholarships and other charitable contributions to women and individuals of Asian descent.

Gail Schoettler – Banking, Government and Women’s Activist. Gail Schoettler was the first woman to be both Colorado’s Lt. Governor (elected in 1994) and State Treasurer (from 1987 to 1994). 

Gail Schoettler

Gail Schoettler

She narrowly lost the election to be Colorado’s governor in 1998.  Prior to working for the State, she had been involved in founding the Children’s Museum of Colorado, based in Denver.  In 1976 she joined the organizational group to file for a National Bank to be located in downtown Denver to serve the needs of small businesses.  The preliminary approval was awarded by the comptroller of the U. S. Currency on 7/7/77.  After raising the $2 million capitalization required, in 1978, she helped found the Women’s Bank N. A. in Denver.  In 1984, Equitable Bankshares of Colorado was formed to own the Women’s Bank and Equitable Bank of Littleton, which Gail chaired.

In 1979, she was elected to the Douglas County Board of Education and served for eight years; she became president beginning in 1983.  That same year, she was named Executive Director of the state’s Department of Personnel under Governor Dick Lamm. In 1986, Schoettler was elected State Treasurer, where she served two terms managing the state’s assets.  In 1994, she was elected Lieutenant Governor with 55% of the vote on a ticket with then-incumbent Governor Roy Romer.

She founded a group called Women Electing Women supporting candidates running for Governor and U.S. Senators roles.  Her latest venture eGlobal Education promotes travel to business people and corporations to develop international business, experience, knowledge, and contacts.

 Historical Inductees 

Mae Boettcher – Community Activist, Philanthropist. Long-standing Colorado resident, Mae Boettcher influenced our state and its citizens as a culture-altering pioneer – a figure who led Colorado in its transition from cow-town days into an era of sophistication through her dedication to higher education, championing children’s and women’s healthcare, and her selfless philanthropy. Well-respected for decades of tenured leadership with The Children’s Hospital and the Boettcher Foundation, her legacy of devotion continues to touch and alter the lives of countless Colorado residents. She is also celebrated as one of Colorado’s first female pilots and a member of the historic Amelia Earhart’s 99s, founded in 1929 by Amelia Earhart. Mae Boettcher

Ellis Meredith – Journalist/Women’s Suffrage. Ellis Meredith is often called the “Susan B Anthony of Colorado” as she was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Colorado who also worked nationally for the women’s vote after Colorado gained suffrage in 1893.  She continued to work for American women’s right to vote until the 19th Amendment was finally ratified on August 18, 1920, 27 years after Colorado passed our bill.  Meredith was a journalist who wrote for many Colorado newspapers as well as several national magazines.

Although born in Montana in 1865, Meredith’s family moved to Colorado not long after when her father began working as an editor for the Rocky Mountain News.  She was a Denver resident until 1917 when she moved to Washington D.C.  As a journalist she worked for the Rocky Mountain News for many years and also published articles on women’s suffrage for several other Colorado newspapers. Ellis Meredith

Doreen Pollack – Speech pathologist/Audiologist/Educator of the Deaf – The Listen Foundation. The impact of Doreen Pollack’s method for teaching children who are deaf to listen and talk has literally been “heard” around the world.  She was a true pioneer in the field of speech pathology and audiology at a time when the medical community did not believe anything could be done for the profoundly deaf child.  Her intellect, dedication and tenacity changed the way we look at, address and treat children with hearing loss both in Colorado and internationally. She immigrated to the United States in 1948 after graduating from London University, moved to Denver in 1951, and lived in Colorado for the remainder of her life.

In 1969, a group of parents of children that benefitted by Doreen’s method formed the non-profit The Listen Foundation in Denver, which continues to support families, and children who use her methods today.  Listen Foundation was the first organization in the world to advocate Listening and Spoken Language therapy (LSL), and remains Colorado’s only parent-centered, auditory-based communication approach for teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing spoken language through listening.Doreen Pollack

Amache Prowers – Community Builder, Land, and Cattle Owner. Amache (Walking Woman) “Amy” Ochinee Prowers was a full-blooded member of the Southern Cheyenne tribe, born in 1846 in the eastern Plains of what is now Colorado.  She and her husband John Wesley Prowers operated a successful cattle-ranching and mercantile business at Boggsville, one of the region’s earliest American settlements, to which Amache contributed her own land, labor, and skills.  At a time when Cheyenne society was under severe attack by Anglo incursions and undergoing dramatic changes, Amache chose the path of an innovator and mediator – successfully negotiating the boundaries between her own Cheyenne culture and language and that of the Euro-Americans (Mexicans and Americans alike) who had intruded into her tribal lands.Amache Prowers

About the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame:

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame was created to recognize, honor and preserve the contributions of trailblazing Colorado women. Both historical and contemporary women have shared foresight, vision and accomplishment, but lacked a forum for recognition. Since 1985, the Hall has inducted 152 extraordinary women who have been outstanding in their field, elevated the status of women, helped open new frontiers for women or inspired others by their example. Inductees include scientists, teachers, social activists, philanthropists, authors, business leaders, elected officials and more.

To learn more about inductees, stay in touch via CO Great Women Facebook Page, their LinkedIn group: Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, follow CWHF on Twitter @ColoradoWHF, by phone at 303.271.3599 or info@cogreatwomen.org. Happy Women’s History Month!


Saguache News – March 12

Testing, Testing – It’s Just Around the Corner

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Formal sport coat

State Board Rep Joyce Rankin

Do you remember the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)? Yikes, was it that long ago? ITBS, developed in 1935 by the University of Iowa, was administered as a tool for improving K-8th-grade education. Students took tests at each grade level to determine how they were learning. In 2017 Iowa’s new testing program, Next Generation Iowa Assessments (NGIA), was rolled out.  Nearly all of the school districts in Iowa currently use this assessment tool. Many other states are also using Iowa’s tests. Over the years other tests have been developed by different testing companies and Colorado, it seems, has tried more than a few.

Colorado has changed tests over time, in attempts to align with the Colorado State Standards.  There have been ongoing concerns with the time it takes to administer tests and turnaround time, but these times have improved. 

Here is a review of the latest progression of testing in Colorado:

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was replaced, in 2017, in favor of the Colorado Measurements of Academic Standards (CMAS) tests in Math and English Language Arts (AKA Reading, Writing and Arithmetic!). These tests are ninety minutes shorter than previous tests.  CMAS Tests are given every year from 3rd – 9th grades. Social Studies which encompasses, History, Geography, Civics, and Economics, is administered on a sampling basis with schools participating once every three years. Science tests are taken in grades 5, 8 and 10.


Students are engaged in learning in Saguache Today Photo: Mountain Valley Schools.

The college entrance exam, the SAT, is taken in 11th grade with the preliminary tests PSAT 9  and PSAT 10 given in 9th and 10th grades respectively. The meaning of the acronym SAT is complicated.  Originally it stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test. Then the name changed to Scholastic Assessment Test. In 1997 the people who created the test announced that the acronym SAT no longer stands for anything.

This year testing will take place from April 9-27.

The SAT can be used for college admission and is known as a “high stakes” test. Students try to get the highest score possible, and there are strict protocols for test administration: students must sit at least four feet apart, if students talk, during the test, they will be dismissed and not receive scores, and students arriving after the exam begins are not admitted. Last month the New York Post reported cheating by 200 students at a Bronx high school.  Students broke every rule set forth by proctors of the exams. For such a high stakes test, it is imperative that strict protocol rules are followed.

We’ve gone from Iowa Tests of Basic Skills to SAT. But what about the Kuder Preference Test? Remember that one? When you finish taking it, you will get an idea of your career path. I just completed the free online version: I’m destined to be a TEACHER! Whew!

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.