Editorial: Applaud MCHS for efforts at change

Our View

It is encouraging to see teachers at MCHS utilizing new methods to try and improve student performance, especially given the school’s recent performance.

Editorial board members:

• Matt Beckett

— Community representative

• Brad King

— Community representative

• Allan Reishus

— Community representative

• Brent Boyer

— Newspaper representative

• Scott Stanford

— Newspaper representative

Moffat County High School teachers are experimenting with new methods to reach and challenge students. Such changes are necessary for continued improvement in our high school.

This week, Craig Daily Press reporter Darian Warden wrote about new teaching philosophies being adopted at the high school. Teachers have spent much of the fall undergoing training focused on helping them identify desired student outcomes and then working to implement teaching methods to achieve those outcomes. MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger said the new methods are aimed at engaging students more broadly with specific focuses on initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, information analysis information and curiosity and imagination.

Such approaches are welcome, particularly in the wake of scores recently given to the high school by Colorado School Grades. The nonprofit coalition of organizations whose stated mission is to give all children access to high-performing schools, assigns letter grades to every school in the state based on academic performance and growth.

Moffat County High School’s scores were not good. The school received an overall grade of C-, with a D+ grade in academic growth and a C in academic proficiency. Overall, the high school ranked 257 of 327 high schools in Colorado, placing the school in the bottom quarter of the rankings. Colorado School Grades is merely one measure of school performance, but its rankings are consistent with the most recent accountability report issued to the high school by the Colorado Department of Education.

It is against that backdrop that we applaud the high school’s efforts at improvement. Last fall, several high school teachers undertook the acclaimed Education Theory Into Practice training. Out of that training, teachers developed a set of principles to get students more engaged in learning, enhance their technological skills and improve their writing.

At the center of the changes is the school’s shift to the Understanding By Design approach to education. Understanding By Design is an education practice that turns the traditional education process on its head. Historically, schools have adopted curriculum based on available textbooks and lesson plans. In Understanding By Design, the process is reversed — first, educators identify what students should learn and then build curriculum and lesson plans designed to get students there.

Understanding By Design is not easy to implement, but schools successfully have used it to improve student performance.

In the age of school accountability, no school can afford to maintain the status quo. School report cards and rating systems do not wholly define a school or a district. But they do reveal opportunities for improvement and change. Teachers must be willing take on such changes. It’s good to see Moffat County High School teachers trying to meet such challenges.

Comments

Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope this works, I really truly do. I have a huge problem with this editorial though. First line "Moffat County high school teachers are experimenting". I think the experiments and the never ending con job should end. Followed by some people's jobs ending. Like the principle, superintendent and many of the school board members. They have been there before, during, and now when the major performance crash has happened. The irony in this editorial couldn't be greater. The last sentence in the last paragraph starts like this, " In the age of school accountability" We the people need to reread that line and start holding people accountable! We need to think about what that word means. I doesn't mean acceptance, continued failure, or job security. I hope this works, for the sake of the kids. But regardless, tomorrow I start my second letter. I'm doing one a month. If this doesn't work, by this time next year, hopefully enough attention will have been shined on the subject that heads will roll. Let the drum beat begin. Lets us express resolve here and now that if this does fail, that by this time next year if our schools, any of them fail, we change leadership across the board. Including any board members that are up for a vote along with principles and the superintendent. I've had a lot of people already express great approval for this cause I've taken up. So I again invite others to join in again on this post. Many many more people out there than I knew of are just as fed up as me and you. I want to thank the paper and the people who worked on this letter, we really need to keep this conversation going if we are going to hold the school district accountable. It is a hopeful feel good letter that has its place. But I think it's time for a more critical tone to be taken.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

Let me tell you a success story of leadership in education. It can be found right here in Craig. The middle school principle's school got an "F" or something close to that her first year as principle. One year later, the school is Moffat county's trophy. I think it got a "B" or close to it. She turned it around in one year and is still going. Period, end of story. Success, there is no substitute for that. People of Moffat county, we need to expect more from the people who work for us. We need to reward the ones who succeed. We need to stop taking this beating, or rather, we need to stop the beating and abuse that our children's futures are taking. For now though, as we start to ponder what we must do, let's start by thanking the principle of the middle school. Her name is Julie Baker. Thank you Julie!!!!!

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TSnyder 1 year, 1 month ago

Patrick, LOVE your energy and enthusiasm for improving education in Moffat County. This coming November, there will be, I believe, 5 positions up on the school board election. Maybe you can spread your enthusiasm and get more people interested in serving on the board. When I initially ran for the school board in 2003, there were 3 seats available for election and mine was the only contested seat. Four years later when I ran again, NO contested seats. I was term limited in 2011 with 4 seats up for election. I believe Tony St. Johns district was contested but 2 were not and one district did not even have a candidate so a board member had to be appointed. My point is that boards are supposed to represent the community in which they serve BUT If the community members do NOT participate, it is difficult, to say the least. I can honestly say to you that for the 8 years I served on the Board of Education, there was never a decision made without asking the question, "what is best for our students." Thanks again for your thought provoking editorials and comments.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

Let me clarify my view using a chess apology. In chess you have a Royalty row that has knights, Bishops, and a King and Queen. Then you have a row of disposable pawns. The school board, administration, and even teachers to some extent, are the pawns. The public, the parents, and the students are the royalty row. The teachers are kind of in between. They have dedicated, and sacrificed large portions of their lives and wealth to serve the cause of education. Unlike 50 years ago, teachers have gone through a rigorous process that weeds out the week and unmotivated. That's another reason why I'm not seeing the bulk of the problem there. The other reason, I've sat in their class rooms and seen the job they do. No broadway show can compete with the instruction seminars they put on. Many a times I was memorized by their abilities to present the matters at hand. But yea, the board and management are the disposable pawns. Not the kids.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

TSnyder, my morning post didn't post for some reason. Probably because it was to long. Thank you for your service. As far as public input goes I don't believe the board wants any. I had requested 12 times from Joe Petrone to be put on the school boards agenda. Finally it ended in conflict. What did I want to ask you? I wanted to request the board put on their permanent agenda a ten minute spot for public input. That way you could have more support for good ideas and more resistence for bad ideas. Right now when someone gets the idea to get involved they get pushed off to some group or commity until they go away. I'm sorry you are part of such a failed and sad organization. You probably are a really good person. But you probably aren't in charge either. Sometimes things become more than the sums of their parts. Sometimes that's good, but not in the case of the board, they have built walls around the bubble they live in, and they like it there.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

TSnyder, you make it sound like we should accept the complete and utter failure our school board and administration is in because no one will run.? This may sound harsh, but if I had been there the past two years I would have resigned. If you can't fix it and have continued to fail, step away. I say that because that is the level we need to hold the employees to. For goodness sake, at least push to fire some people. Like Joe. In my opinion he is a very flawed individual. I tried to work behind the scenes and he choose to go another route. A very public route. Not a real bright guy in my opinion. I had my doubts that that approach would be effective anyway, but holy cow. Talk about people who live in glass houses. Anyone who lives in this glass house of a failed school system should be supporting a ban on rock throwing altogether!!! Lol Not instigating a public campaign for rock throwing by way of change and replacement.
I know he's just a pawn, and I don't want to give him more attention on this matter than he's due. Because he is just one of many that should go. No, we need to focus on improvement, and replacement at this point. That's the drum beat that will go on. PS the Joe thing really doesn't bother me. I've been planning this for years. I had many friends on the board so I just kept my mouth shut. Joe just decided the direction is all. And in the end, probably the best direction to affect change. I'm sorry TSnyder, this is going to be a long and public indictment. Change will happen, if your one of the good members, start standing up now. The public is coming. The public will be watching a listening starting now. I will do all I can to help the members who feel powerless and trapped. But I'll need you to call me and tell me what I can do to help you! I promise I will.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

I would like to publicly thank Tony Saint John. He is a very good school board member. I called him a couple of months ago after having been just fed up with the failure of the system. After I told him how mad I was at him, he asked me, "Well, where have you been?"Then we started working on ideas and directions to go. He had a great point. I never really lose arguments, but I did that day. Hahaha thanks Tony! Keep trying my friend. I'm here now. And I'm just getting started.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

TSnyder, let me explain why public input is so important. In a marriage the man or woman at any given time come may up with really really bad ideas. Then their spouse, kindly explains how, what they had just said is completely crazy. In a nice way I'm sure. The school board doesn't want to hear from the public how crazy and improbable their ideas sound. The school board has created a bubble of crazy. Seriously, after I sat there for just one meeting I couldn't believe the ideas I heard. But you have no idea probably what I mean, because I couldn't speak to you. And that's okay as far as the issue with me goes. I have a desire to write about it a share it with Moffat county. So with me it is actually a good thing for the public. But for the school board it's a bad thing. They need desperately need to have public input and pressure, or nothing will ever change. Thank you so much for all you've done TSnyder.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

TSnyder, again thank you for your service. I re read your post, did some math, and see you are not on the board at this time. So I really can thank you for your service!!!! And mean every word!!!!! Thank you so much for your input. Still, my offer stands. Call me if there is anything you can think of that I can do to help.

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George Robertson 1 year, 1 month ago

Boy he can sure rattle like a bean in a cup can't he!

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

Wow! Did a guy who calls himself nimrod just try to burn me? Okay, my turn. You go Nimrod. I know people have always picked on you and said you couldn't read but look at you go! I don't care if you lick the widows and interfere with farm animals, because your freakin special sunshine. You go you crayon eating ba$tard!

There, that's how you insult someone. PS I am just fooling with you. Don't take it to serious. And for the record, yea I did go on a little to much. Peace! PSS And next time be brave and post your real name. Unless you work for the school district. And in that case I can see how shameful that would be.

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George Robertson 1 year, 1 month ago

LOL No the guy who calls himself nimrod just let you burn yourself on that one.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

I can't play any more nimrod I have to do real work now on another letter. As much as I would like to keep this going, I gotta go, while continuing comments and a back and forth with a failed school official does give me more and more opportunity to bring out their faults, its a small fry game. Got to move on to bigger things. Take care.

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Patrick Germond 1 year, 1 month ago

Thank you everybody who came up to me last night at the Pinewood derby and thanked me for taking on this issue.

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