A changing landscape in Moffat County education | CraigDailyPress.com

A changing landscape in Moffat County education

Representatives from Moffat County School District, including Superintendent Brent Curtice, GOAL Academy and Northwest Colorado Home School Association discuss the future of education in the county at the Moffat County Global meeting Thursday.
Lauren Blair

Maybell School information

Those seeking more information about the Maybell School can call Maybell Principal Amber Clark at 970-826-6595. In spring 2015, Moffat County School District will look at the student population count in Maybell and determine if Maybell will open for the 2015-16 school year, according to a press release.

— While kids enjoy their last week of summer freedom before the new school year starts, those in charge of providing for their learning are busy making big decisions about the future of education in Moffat County.

One major question hanging in the balance is what’s ahead for Maybell School. It will not be opening its doors along with the rest of Moffat County schools Aug. 25, and the Moffat County School District Board of Education must decide whether to suspend operation of Maybell School for the 2014-15 school year due to a low population count, according to Maybell School and Ridgeview Elementary School Principal Amber Clark.

The board likely will make a decision about Maybell School at an upcoming Board of Education meeting.

“What that means for students in Maybell is that they’re enrolled in schools in Craig for now,” said Clark, who emphasized that the school was not closing, just facing a possible suspension for the year.

The change for Maybell students comes at a time when other parents, students and educators in Moffat County are working to create more choice and flexibility in how students are educated. And for Maybell and Craig students, this could mean more and better options through a new initiative called Moffat County Global.

Administrators and constituents met Thursday to discuss Moffat County Global, which is a collaboration among the various education organizations in the county. Populated with leaders from Moffat County School District, the GOAL Academy and Northwest Colorado Home School Association, the organization is attempting to create bridges between the different organizations to give students the greatest number of opportunities possible.

The goal of Moffat County Global as stated on the MCSD website is “to provide individualized, focused, outcomes-oriented services to all students, families, and communities. We are developing a solutions-oriented approach incorporating both traditional and non-traditional education pathways to elevate Moffat County to become a global player.”

It will be Moffat County Global’s first full school year as an active organization. Discussion at the meeting centered primarily around how to navigate the logistics of weaving together multiple systems of education and pulling out the “weeds,” a term that MCSD Superintendent Brent Curtice employed to describe the barriers they face.

“If you’re a GOAL student or a home-school student, we need to break down the walls,” Curtice said, referring to the difficulties these students face when trying to sign up for single classes or join athletic programs or activities at the public schools.

“Our immediate goal today is to see how the kids can transition between different schools,” Curtice said. “What does it look like? How can a student take band at the high school, or sports, or an activity? We want to be very open to that.”

The participants of Moffat County Global faced ample challenges as they discussed funding issues, limited resources and how to support special needs students not enrolled within the school district.

The bottom line, according to MCSD’s Executive Director of the Personnel and Student Services Departments Renae Dove, is: “Our principals understand clearly that if they’re asked (by a home school or GOAL parent), our doors are open.”

Members agreed that professional development materials used to train teachers within the district could be shared with parents who home school their kids and that more resources could be shared through the new MCSD website. Those in attendance also agreed to work on developing a joint policy outlining how a GOAL student could take a class at Moffat County High School or vice versa in order to streamline the process and make it easier for parents and students.

Curtice and the head of the Northwest Colorado Home School Association, Connie Sue Ellis, plan to study other counties that have created successful collaborations between public school and home-school programs in order to find a model that might work for Moffat County.

“We’re doing something that really hasn’t been done,” Ellis said. “I think it’s so exciting to be a part of something that’s so cutting edge. I’m anxious to see how it flows out from here.”

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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