By Ruthanne Johnson
MONTE VISTA— Monte Vista schools are in their third week and already students’ calendars are chockfull of studies, homework and activities. There’s math, history, assessment tests and parent/teacher conferences. There are school pictures, pep rallies and booster meetings. The high school homecoming is just around the corner; and there’s volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, football games and more.
Despite going from the dog days of summer to a flurry of things to do, “the school year kicked off really well,” said Bill Metz Elementary Principal Gabe Futrell. In reading and writing, student statewide scores rose eight percentile points. “In math, we went up seven-and-a-half percent.”
One of the reasons for improvement is an Intervention/Enrichment program the school implemented last year to provide students with 30-minute instructional sessions in reading and math, which will continue this year. The teacher-to-student ratio is high in the sessions—one teacher per 8 to 10 students. “The students have a really focused time on whatever it is they are working on or having trouble with,” Futrell said, “and I think this has made a big difference in the growth we’ve seen with our kiddos over the last year.”
Something else new at Metz is a district-wide math curriculum aimed at improving math learning and comprehension. “That’s the biggest change this year, and I’m excited to see even more improvements,” Futrell said.
Last week, the Creede Repertory Theatre performed for students the hour-long play “Seeds of Change,” which entwines math and environmental-protection concepts such as using the three Rs: reduce, recycle and reuse.
Another success in the first two weeks was a “Meet the Teacher” night during which parents completed necessary school paperwork and gathered information on school programs and upcoming events. Parents received a ticket at each station they attended, and tickets were used for door prizes that had been donated by local sponsors. Prizes included a Chromebook, haircuts, bowling games and day passes to Sand Dunes Swimming Pool. The back-to-school paperwork is typically difficult to get back from parents, Futrell said. “The event was a big help.”
Marsh preschool and kindergarten school saw enrollment growth of some 20 kids, up from about 70 to nearly 90 students, and a new teacher has been hired.
Metz mark-your-calendar dates include school pictures on Tuesday, Sept. 11, the annual Smile for a Mile run on Sept. 13 and Family Fun Night on Sept. 30. The school’s swim program kicks off later in the month and into early October for third, fourth and fifth graders.