Celebrating School Success in Leadville
Last Week for Leadville Students
The Lake County School District will wrap up its 2020-21 school year this week. A big gold star for all the students, teachers, staff and parents for another successful year! The following are some highlights from the K-12 grades. Have a wonderful summer! Keep learning!
The other school news stories come from Colorado Mountain College which announced its outstanding faculty and staff members from the past academic year. Congratulations. And that spirit of celebration continues as the college president reports on a special designation the educational institution was received.
It’s the final countdown to summer with plenty to celebrate!
Student Digital Art Show
The Lake County Art department proudly presents its district digital art show for the 2021/21 school year. The annual Spring Art show was postponed for yet another year, but the school district art teachers Erin Farrow, Amanda Good, and McKenzie Stock have created art in new and different ways. Lake County artists have demonstrated great perseverance and resilience.
The following is a sampling of students’ amazing work from this past year.
“We thank you for the wonderful support that our community and school district has shown for the arts!” the art teacher team reported.
West Park Elementary School
By McKenzie Stock, WPE Art Teacher
Hi West Park Artists and Families! Throughout the year, I have been cataloguing student artwork in an online gallery called Artsonia! Here, you can see many of the fun projects that we have been creating in art class this year. If you would like, there are also opportunities to purchase various merchandise featuring your student’s artwork. Some of the proceeds benefit the West Park Art Department. If you cannot see your student’s art, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up an account.
I am so proud of all of the hard work that our K-2 Artists have done this year! They have demonstrated craftsmanship, curiosity, perseverance, collaboration, and so much growth. Being their art teacher is such a joy, I can’t wait to see what they create over the summer and next year! Thank you so much!
Lake County Intermediate School
By Amanda Good, LCIS Art Teacher
LCIS students have worked incredibly hard this year despite the overwhelming difficulties we have all faced. I am proud to present to you a showcase of artwork from LCIS that is just a small example of the amazing work they have created over the past year. I have tremendous gratitude for our Lake County students; you all inspire me each and every day. Thank you!
- LCIS 3rd Grade Art Show link
- LCIS 4th Grade Art Show link
- LCIS 5th Grade Art Show link
- LCIS 6th Grade Art Show link
Lake County High School
By Erin Farrow, Lake County High School Art Teacher
I am beyond proud of the perseverance, grit and resilience of our Lake County High School students this year. It is has been difficult and has challenged us all in different ways. Art has been especially tough through hybrid and virtual learning. But even through it all, our high school students managed to produce some profound and skilled artwork. I am looking forward to having students back in the art room!
Elks Present Flag for New School
On June 14, 2021 the Elks’ Lodge #236 held its annual Flag Day Ceremony, rich with history and tradition. Employees of Lake County School District attended, and the ceremony ended with Exalted Ruler Andrew Ault presenting a new flag to Eva Mascarenas, Custodial Director for Lake County School District.
The new flag will be flown over the new Lake County Elementary School. The School District is very grateful for this meaningful gift and appreciative of our partnership with the Elks Lodge in Leadville.
CMC Recognizes Faculty, Staff
By Carrie Click, Colorado Mountain College
Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville campus recently named its outstanding faculty and staff for the 2020-21 academic year. The college names overall employees collegewide, and also individually at each site.
The local full-time educator receiving Faculty of the Year was Geoff Lautzenhiser from CMC Leadville. Lautzenhiser is an assistant professor of welding and oversees the welding department. He and his students have built nearly every piece of furniture and fitting in the welding shop, as well as railings, bike racks and other items around campus. They also do welding repairs on campus snowplows and snowcats.
“Fewer people are joining the welding industry than those retiring,” said Lautzenhiser. “I am motivated to bring in a new generation of welders.”
Richie Moutoux, who teaches electrical engineering, was named the Leadville campus’s adjunct Faculty of the Year. A former faculty member at University of Colorado Boulder, Moutoux was a founding partner in Ethos Distributed Solutions, which services and installs renewable energy systems.
The Leadville campus also recognized Annette Johnson as CMC Leadville’s 2020-21 full-time Staff of the Year for her role as an enrollment services assistant.
Kelli McCall, professor of developmental education, joined a number of colleagues in her praise of Johnson’s positive contribution to the Leadville campus.
“Annette provides a wonderful environment as the first person anyone sees when they walk into the building,” McCall said. “She is truly a lovely person to work with and we are grateful to have her on the team.”
Sometimes you have to set your sights on a target that’s seemingly out of reach and pour your energy into accomplishing it.
Farewell From CMC VP/Dean
My deepest thanks to everyone with whom I’ve worked, laughed, played and collaborated over the past five years as Vice President and Campus Dean at CMC Leadville and Chaffee County. I am proud of our many accomplishments and grateful for the support and kindness shown to my family and me.
The college is actively seeking the next Vice President for the Leadville and Chaffee County campuses. CMC leadership is listening intently to the hopes and dreams of both communities as it identifies a new leader. Rest assured that, regardless of who is the selected for the best job in Colorado, the work will continue. Please stay engaged throughout the process and support the work of the college in identifying my successor.
CMC is an institution with a large geographic footprint and a formidable statewide and national presence. At the same time, it works tirelessly to honor and support its students and beloved local communities with incredible faculty and staff. You are so fortunate to live in a CMC community and to benefit from a local college that is never satisfied with the status quo. It’s the very best environment in which to work and to be a student.
I will be watching from Oregon as Salida and Leadville continue to thrive. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your story.
With love, Rachel Pokrandt
CMC’s Hispanic Institution Designation
By Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, President CMC
Several years ago, the team at Colorado Mountain College established a goal to become Colorado’s next Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the federal designation assigned to colleges and universities that successfully support a student population that is 25% or more Latino. Based on CMC’s history, it was a seemingly overconfident objective. But, by putting the right strategies in place, we knew it could be achieved.
There are just over 500 Hispanic Serving Institutions in the United States (about 10% of roughly 5,000 colleges and universities nationwide). These colleges are found in 21 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and are most often concentrated in states with large Latino populations, such as California and Texas, and in metropolitan areas. In Colorado, only about one-third of the state’s public colleges have been granted HSI status. CMC will be the first HSI located in Colorado’s rural, high-cost mountain resort region.
When I arrived at CMC in 2013, the college was launching into its newly-authorized bachelor’s degree offerings. Then, CMC’s Latino population was approximately 13% of overall enrollments, which was not representative of the general population. Troublingly, at that time, CMC’s Latino students were underperforming with regard to retention and completion compared to their majority counterparts. In fact, Latino student achievement lagged by double-digits.
We promptly adopted performance objectives for each of our eleven campuses and the college as a whole. In every category – enrollment, retention, credit accumulation, and course completion – we focused on disparities between Latino and non-Latino students.
By 2020, the improvements at CMC were dramatic and positive. On nearly every metric, Latino student performance not only improved but stubborn gaps in retention and completion finally closed. In fact, Latino students had the highest completion performance among all groups in 2019-20. Noteworthy, these improvements did not come at the expense of anyone else. Over the past five years, equity disparities have dissolved and ALL students at CMC have become more successful. A true win-win.
Though we cannot isolate any one strategy as a “panacea,” several initiatives were important.
First, the college “doubled-down” on its commitment to offering concurrent enrollment classes in area high schools. We knew the populations in many local school districts were 50% or more Latino. So, instead of waiting for these students to come to CMC following high school, we made the college more accessible to them at an earlier age. Today more than 2,000 local high school students enroll at CMC annually. Along with their high school diploma, many also earn post-secondary certificates or associate degrees – free from any tuition costs to them or their families.
Second, we applied millions of state and philanthropic grant funds as well as newly designed financial aid programs where they were most needed. The college also directed hundreds of thousands of dollars to local school districts to cover the costs of tuition and books for high school students, and through our President’s Scholarship, guaranteed funding to every graduating senior across CMC’s region.
Finally, we intentionally added new career-focused certificate and degree programs, concentrating our energy on programs leading to stable employment in our region, such as nursing, teacher education, law enforcement and business. And, our evolution into a “dual mission” institution – one that offers bachelor’s degrees in addition to locally-relevant certificates and associate degrees – gave students seamless pathways to continue their education close to home while contributing to the local economy.
These efforts were not designed to increase enrollment, revenues, or “grow” the college per se. Instead, we focused on improving outcomes and becoming a highly effective institution where students complete their program of choice without incurring burdensome debt.
And, it worked. Today, our student enrollment is modestly lower than it was in 2013 but we’ve doubled the number of degrees and certificates awarded annually. More of our students – now approaching 28% Latino – enroll full time and finish what they started.
CMC’s newly minted HSI status marks the end of the beginning, not an end to itself. Considerable effort still lies ahead including pursuing federal grants for which we are now eligible – resources that will improve the CMC experience for everyone.
Without question, this new designation is a testament to the fact that great things happen when thousands of talented people apply their energy toward a shared goal – to level the playing field so that anyone who attends CMC is welcomed, supported and successful.
Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser is President & CEO of Colorado Mountain College. She can be reached at email@example.com or @CMCPresident.