School News: Education at Elevation
New Staff. New School. New Year.
Christmas Vacation. Semester Break. The Holiday Gap. While it’s true that 2020 has been challenging in and out of the classroom for students, teachers, staff, and above all parents, this week (hopefully) everyone will get a break – ENJOY! To celebrate school success, Leadville Today brings readers this #goodnews report when it comes to education in America’s #highestcity.
It was an early Christmas present for some CMC staff members as the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees approved leave benefits for part-time staff at a special meeting held virtually on Dec. 22. The board voted to adopt a policy of one hour of annual leave (vacation or personal time off) for every 30 hours worked, and one hour of medical (sick) leave for every 20 hours worked for part-time college staff. The new policy will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
The college’s new policy exceeds the requirements of Senate Bill 20-205, which also takes effect Jan. 1, 2021. The bill requires employers with six or more employees to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, regardless of full-time or part-time status. This is a “meet or exceeds” standard; CMC trustees voted to exceed it.
“The college often exceeds the benefits and salary typically found in our local markets,” said Matt Gianneschi, CMC chief operating officer and chief of staff. “It helps us improve the college’s competitiveness in the labor marketplace and assists with recruitment and retention.”
Gianneschi said CMC management is still determining the ways in which SB 20-205 applies to, possibly, adjunct instructors since they are employed on a contract basis, and student employees, who are often classified as work-study students and funded by federal grants. Prior to this change at CMC, only full-time or three-quarter-time staff received medical leave benefits.
New Dean at CMC-Leadville
In other school news, there is also be a new person on staff at CMC’s Leadville Campus as Kathleen Law is welcomed as the campus’s new assistant dean of instruction. In her role, Law will hire, support, supervise, and evaluate faculty members. She will also work on strategic programming and course scheduling to maximize enrollment and achieve optimal degree outcomes.
“I’m excited to be part of CMC’s commitment to providing inclusive, accessible, excellent education,” Law said.
Law received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Wesleyan University, and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She brings 13 years of experience as an educator, teaching English, literature and outdoor education.
Most recently, Law was an English faculty member at Colorado Academy in Lakewood, Colorado, and spearheaded the school’s Writing Center.
Complementing her work as an outdoor educator, Law has her Wilderness First Responder certification and has completed AIARE 1 and 2 avalanche training. Law moves to Leadville with her husband Morgan and two sons, Huckleberry and Axel. Welcome to America’s highest city!
West Park: New School, Current Classrooms
In the fall of 2021, the Lake County School District expects to open their new pre-k through second-grade building. This building is located just north of the current West Park Elementary site. West Park Elementary was built when the town of Climax incorporated into the Leadville area in 1962-1963 to accommodate the influx of students because Margaret J. Pitts Elementary was at capacity.
The new building will also house The Center Early Childhood Program. The Center opened its doors in 1988 to bring childcare, preschool, and family services together. The Lake County Board of Education has been soliciting names for the community and is expected to make a final decision soon.
Until the new building opens, education continues in the current location with the following updates provided by Principal Kathleen Fitzsimmons and her team of educators and staff. The video includes activity highlights, as well as #shoutout to students doing good works as the school district, continues to navigate the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic both in-person and with distance learning. Go Panthers!
Have you earned college credits but have no degree? A new scholarship at Colorado Mountain College can help you finish what you started.
The Finish What You Started scholarship is intended for people who are not currently attending college, but who may have earned enough credits in the past that they may be close to earning a degree. If it’s been more than a year since you took a college class, you’re likely eligible.
Students who take 12 credits or more may receive a scholarship of up to $500 per semester or $1,500 for three semesters.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with a CMC counselor. With the counselor you can look at the credits you already have, determine how close you are to earning a degree and see if you qualify for the scholarship.
You may be a lot closer to finishing that degree than you think. And with this scholarship, it’s more affordable than ever to Finish What You Started. For more information, visit ColoradoMtn.edu/Finish.
Read ‘The Sun Does Shine’ with CMC
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of two counts of capital murder. He spent 30 years locked in solitary confinement on death row at Holman State Prison in Alabama for crimes he did not commit.
His memoir, “The Sun Does Shine,” describes how he was able to not only persevere but to triumph over an unjust criminal justice system.
“The Sun Does Shine” is Colorado Mountain College’s selection for 2021’s Common Reader. The book addresses such contemporary themes as racial inequality and the deep need for reform in the national criminal justice system, while telling a first-person account of how one man was able to find freedom, strength and empowerment on death row.
Now in its 14th year, the college’s Common Reader brings together faculty, students and community members to read a selected book together and to participate in talks with the author. Virtual speaking events with Hinton will be 7 p.m. on both Feb. 24 and 25, 2021. The author talks will be streamed live through the college’s website. For more information, go to the CMC website or call 800-621-8559.
Common Reader during COVID-19
To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Colorado Mountain College is offering the 2021 Common Reader, “The Sun Does Shine,” in several formats and locations. In addition to online availability on eBooks and audiobooks, the book is available to the public after Jan. 3, at CMC Leadville (New Discovery and Learning Commons) as well as CMC Salida.