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Preschool leading to larger discussions

James Chamberlin, principal at Soroco Middle School and Soroco High School, reported several items to the School Board, including: The middle school and high school reported a 95 percent class-passing rate for students in the first semester. "It is definitely a significant increase, particularly at the middle school," Chamberlin said. He attributed the success to an increased focus at both schools on giving students time to make up missed work and receive extra tutoring. The new finals schedule piloted during exams last week worked well, Chamberlin said, but needs adjustments before finals in May. Winter Festival is next week at the high school. Events include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, arm-wrestling and dance contests, snow sculptures, a pep rally on Friday and the "Frost Hop" Winter Festival Dance on Saturday. District accountability committees and administrators will conduct climate surveys of students, staff and parents in coming weeks. "The results of the survey are used to help guide decisions in curriculum, instruction and programs," Chamberlin said. "We're pretty anxious to get good participation, so we can get a good sampling of ideas."

Planning for a new preschool in South Routt County may involve more than just creating a place to teach young children.

“It’s sort of spilling over into a master plan discussion as far as the school district is concerned,” said Jan Kaminski, an architect with the Mountain Architecture Design Group hired by the South Routt School District to plan a new Early Learning Center.

At Thursday’s South Routt School Board meeting, board members heard information about the center from the public and Kaminski, then discussed plans to move ahead with site selection, slated to occur late next month. Current options for preschool care in South Routt are limited primarily to the Board of Cooperative Educational Ser-vices, or BOCES, center in Oak Creek.



Kaminski and a site selection committee are considering three sites for the preschool — one each in Yampa, Oak Creek and Stagecoach.

Although a preliminary survey of construction criteria such as snow storage, soil quality and wind exposure gave the best score to a site near South Routt Elementary School in Yampa, Kaminski said “social factors” gleaned from public comments also significantly will influence site selection.



Much of that public comment, he said, touted bringing a preschool to Stagecoach.

“Everybody in Stagecoach (involved in that site’s preschool committee) is excited to see the growth out there,” he said.

Developer Brian Stahl has donated a 10-acre plot of land from his as-yet-undeveloped Neighborhoods at Young’s Peak subdivision in Stagecoach to the school district. The site could provide a site for an early learning center and eventually an elementary school. Plans for the subdivision include 136 homes.

Kaminski said he plans to have a final report for the board that will analyze all public comments and construction data for the sites. The report should be completed within the next couple of weeks.

The board is scheduled to review that report at its Feb. 16 meeting and may hold a special meeting two weeks later to finalize the selection of a site.

“We’re trying to make the April 1 grant round at DOLA,” Kaminski said, referring to the state Department of Local Affairs. The school district has entered into a contract with the department for a grant to help fund the preschool’s construction.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com


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