School News: Panther Update
It’s vacation time for kids, a well-deserved break for teachers and staff, and what-are-we-going-to-do time for parents and families! The Lake County School District is on Winter Break until Tuesday, January 7, 2014. So have fun, be safe, and enjoy your holiday!
There’s still lots of school news to catch up on. . . The Lake County High School Panthers Wrestling Team competed in the Soroco Invitational Tournament in Oak Creek, Colo. on December 14. Head Coach Nick Rose reported the following individual results with a team score of 71 – Congratulations!
- Aaron Medina – 1st Place
- Ryan Arguello – 1st Place
- Terell Sandoval – 3rd Place
- Daniel Duran – 3rd Place
- Darian Fairclough – 4th Place
School District Announces Services for Gifted Students
The Lake County School District (LCSD) announced last week that it will be offering enhanced, specialized services for gifted and talented students. According to LCSD Superintendent Wendy Wyman, new offerings in the district include services that are being offered to all students, but that are particularly targeted at advanced learners.
Many of the district’s new offerings use “blended learning,” or learning that uses a combination of online resources and teacher-directed instruction. Through several different grants, the district has begun integrating the use of iPads into its Kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms. Teachers are using iPads to extend and individualize learning for students.
For instance, in 3rd grade, students are using math applications and videos on iPads to focus on skills in which they are not proficient. This self-directed learning allows them to practice a skill on their own until they become proficient. Hand-held devices will also be used to enhance reading. Several grades are also planning to bring Kindle ereaders into their classrooms. On these devices, students will be able to take notes, look up words that are unfamiliar to them, and even translate words into a different language.
When asked about the new offerings, Wyman emphasized, “The district’s goal is for every single student to be able to reach his or her potential. We want instruction and opportunities to stretch the ability of all of our students – from those who are performing at grade level, to those who are not quite there yet, to those who are surpassing every expectation we put before them.”
Another blended learning project the district has embarked on is the use of Discovery Education, an online media-rich resource that provides videos, digital textbooks and more. The district’s subscription is funded by a two-year grant through the Colorado Department of Education related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
When asked about the benefits of Discovery Education, district Instructional Coach Kathleen Fitzsimmons said, “The materials liven up learning, and connect us with a learning community of millions of teachers. Also, it allows us to search by the Common Core standards to identify the best resources. In a rural environment, this helps level the playing field in access to educational resource. It’s more than ‘just a video’ and teachers are being taught how to use it as one piece in effective and engaging instruction.”
In addition to offering blended learning opportunities to all students, the district has recently begun offering special services for its gifted & talented students through Stanford University. Through Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth, identified students in Lake County grades Kindergarten through 7th will now have the opportunity to take online courses in Mathematics and Language Arts. Thanks to new computer labs and bandwidth upgrades for all schools, this best-of-class learning opportunity will now be a reality for Lake County students despite our remote location.
The US Department of Education defines gifted & talented students as, “Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.” Typically 10% of the overall student population within the school district is identified as gifted & talented annually.
Superintendent Wyman acknowledged the efforts of those who have found funding and time to make new opportunities for gifted and talented education and blended learning possible, including newly appointed Gifted and Talented Coordinator Michelle Schamberger, teachers willing to try new things, and a group of committed elementary school parents.
“Improving our school district’s educational outcomes is a team effort, and we are very grateful for all of the great ideas and energy that are being given to this effort right now,” said Wyman. “Exciting times lie ahead for our schools and our students.”