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SEAL program hires teacher

Steamboat alternative school readies for fall semester

Brent Boyer

For more than a decade, Marlene Horace worked in the Houston area with pregnant students who were unable to attend traditional schools, high school dropouts and homeless children.

This fall, Horace will bring her experience in alternative school settings to the Steamboat Springs School District, which hired her to head its new off-campus alternative program.

The program is being created to address the high number of high school dropouts in the district and to provide an additional education opportunity to expelled and other troubled students. Last year, 28 high school students dropped out, and several more were expelled.

The district has advertised the alternative teaching position throughout the summer but was reluctant to hire someone to fill the position until the state Department of Education awarded it a three-year, $180,000 grant to cover program expenses.

Once the grant was awarded, the district moved quickly to fill the opening and was fortunate to find Horace, Superintendent Donna Howell said.

“The key in the program is the teacher,” Howell said. “I didn’t realize we had a resource like Marlene in the area. She’s going to be the right match for this program.”

Horace spent 13 years working in alternative programs for a Houston-area school district before moving to Steamboat last year. She worked as an aide at the high school during the 2003-04 school year and also at Colorado Mountain College as a part-time instructor.

“I’m glad to be a teacher again,” Horace said. “I’m hoping I can get the entire community to rally around the fact that we’ve needed this (program).”

Getting students active in the community is one of her goals for the program, as is incorporating technology into the classroom and using district curriculum. Most importantly, Horace said, is gearing the program to meet the individual needs of each student.

“It needs to be a program for them,” Horace said.

The program will begin this fall with a projected enrollment of 15 students. The program will use an empty classroom in the district’s central administration building at Seventh and Pine streets.

Howell said the program will maintain the same academic standards for its students as the high school does.

The high school also is implementing a new program to address the needs of students who struggle in the traditional school setting. The on-campus program, called Students Engaged in Active Learning, will begin this fall under the direction of Principal Dave Schmid and teachers Lucianne Myhre and Chad Bowdre. Schmid, Bowdre, Myhre and Horace will attend a conference this summer that focuses on how to best meet the individual learning needs of students.

— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com


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