Steamboat Springs School Board hears update on science curriculum |

Steamboat Springs School Board hears update on science curriculum

Teresa Ristow

Financial update:

Finance director Mark Rydberg told the school board Monday that his staff was focusing most of its energy on an Oct. 12 audit.

He also updated the board on how spring budget projections are holding up so far.

Rydberg said he believes state funding will be less than anticipated, potentially meaning a cut of $360,000 to the district. He also said utilities costs are coming in higher than budgeted and employee salaries are coming in lower that budgeted, all of which will continue to be monitored.

— More professional development and more dedicated time would help improve science curriculum within the Steamboat Springs School District, teachers told the school board Monday.

The board received an hour-long report on the K-12 science curriculum during its meeting from Director of Teaching and Learning Marty Lamansky and teachers Ben Barbier, Cindy Gantick, Katie Weeks and Charlie Leech.

Overall science curriculum is working well within the district, incorporating technology, student trips and interdisciplinary projects, the teachers said.

Strawberry Park Elementary students are using Skype to connect with a penguin bird rescue in Africa and a class in New York to share about chicken gestation, according to Weeks, while some students at Steamboat Springs Middle School have taken advantage of trips to Keystone Science School, Barbier said.

Gantick demonstrated the use of science kits, which facilitate hands-on learning and easier planning for teachers, and Leech touted high test scores and impressive science rigor.

After highlighting science programs at each school, the teachers were asked by the board what could be done to improve science programming.

Barbier emphasized the benefits teachers and students would receive if even just one or two science teachers per school were able to do more science-specific professional development.

Teachers at every level also seek more time dedicated to science instruction, according to a written report by Lamansky that complemented Monday’s presentation.

“[At the elementary level], there is a challenge in finding enough time to cover science within the context of the day,” the report said.

The report and presentation together are one of several program reviews, which are presented to the board on a regular basis throughout the year.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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