School: Walk-Outs and Winter Break
Principal Thwarts Students’ Walk-Out Plan
The Lake County School District is officially on its Winter Break, with all schools being closed from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2, 2022. Students and staff return to school on Monday, Jan. 3.
But for parents and staff expressing concerns about the planned Walk Out by Leadville students just prior to the officially planned time-out of Winter Break, the following response was posted on December 13 from Erin Dillon, Interim LCHS Principal:
Dear LCHS Parents & Caregivers,
You may have heard about a walkout that some of our students are organizing for this week during our crew period. The intention of the walkout and this group of students is to advocate for their teachers, specifically as it relates to compensation. I appreciate the love our students have for their teachers, as well as their desire to create a student led initiative that addresses teacher retention.
Today, both Dr. Massey and I sat down with two of our students to hear about their experiences and perspective. They shared with us about the impact teachers leaving has had on them and its disruptive nature on their education. As a part of the conversation, they identified postponing the walkout until they are more organized, including working more closely with our Student Senate.
At the current moment, we do not believe that a walkout this week is still their plan. However, we do want to make you aware of the possibility. This way you can talk to your child about it in advance. Additionally, it’s important you know that the LCHS team takes our responsibility to educate, empower, and support all students very seriously. If and when students decide to exercise their right to protest, we will work with them to make the best choices for themselves and our entire school community. We will remain neutral with our students and work to ensure all students feel safe, regardless of where they stand on an issue.
If you have questions or concerns about this potential walkout, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. Thank-you in advance for having these conversations at home with your child. ~ Erin Dillon, Interim LCHS Principal.
Search for New Principal Comes Up Empty
It is worth noting an earlier update post concerning the district’s search for replacing LCHS Principal Ben Cairns who left at the end of last school year to take on the position of Vice President of the local Colorado Mountain College campus. Here’s the official word on that vacancy:
We wanted to inform you that after the first rounds of Principal interviews for the LCHS vacancy, we have not filled the position. We will repost the vacancy next semester. We appreciate Ms. Dillon, Ms. Berman and Mr. Carroll who have stepped into interim administrative positions during this time of principal absence. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we seek to find the right candidate for our community. ~ LCSD.
Funds Available for Youth Programs
The Colorado Trust is now accepting grant applications for one-time funding related to COVID-19 pandemic recovery The Colorado Trust announced earlier this month that a one-time funding opportunity is available to Colorado-based nonprofits in one of the following categories: Arts and cultural organizations that
a) have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and
b) have Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) leadership;
or Youth athletics organizations that
a) have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and
b) whose participants are majority BIPOC youth.
The anticipated amount of grant awards is expected to range from $10,000 to $50,000 per organization. Applications must be received by Jan. 14, 2022, with awards notification expected by Feb. 28, 2022. Click here for more information on funding criteria, the application process and other details. For more information, please contact Genina Taylor at The Colorado Trust.
CMC Presidents Reflects on Progress
By Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser
Roughly a year ago, the first reports of a COVID-19 vaccine were emerging. Shortly thereafter and across our mountain region, early doses were being administered in area hospitals, pharmacies and clinics – often by Colorado Mountain College nursing graduates. A sense that the worst was behind us characterized the final weeks of 2020.
As we know, 2021 has now come and (nearly) gone without the “return to normal” we had eagerly anticipated. Even so, all of us at CMC have reflected deeply, adapted and evolved in order to support our students and return on the investments our beloved mountain communities make in us. With CMC’s fall semester coming to a close, it’s an opportunity to share some highlights from that journey, and what has made it possible.
For instance, despite the seemingly endless twists and turns of an ever-evolving public health crisis, CMC graduated one of its largest classes ever in May. Over the summer, thinking the other side of the pandemic was in reach and given extremely high voluntary vaccination rates among employees, we planned for the fall term and welcomed students back to a fully “open” environment.
However, as August approached, we saw worrying signs that conditions were not as promising as projected. Enrollments were unpredictable and weaker than historical patterns, suggesting that students were still hesitant about investing in the future. Employees reported extreme difficulty securing affordable housing and childcare, further destabilizing the region’s full-time workforce. And, an even more virulent strain of the virus gained a foothold just as classes began.
Consequently, CMC pivoted (again). Our talented team of faculty and staff leaned into the headwinds and successfully launched another semester. Our intrepid students were right there with us. Together, we masked up (again) and hunkered down (again).
While the pandemic pushed some colleges and universities across the country to close or merge, CMC’s unique localized funding model, operational structure and personalized approach allowed the college to withstand extreme fiscal pressures. In fact, we were able to invest even more deeply in our students and build programs that support our region’s greatest workforce needs.
We took advantage of historically low-interest rates and launched a major, multi-community investment in student housing, a win-win given our students often have jobs with local employers. You will see the construction of these new on-campus apartment units begin soon at four campuses where we have available land (Steamboat Springs, Vail Valley, Breckenridge, and Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs).
We also invested over $1 million to create a network of inter-campus digital classrooms, equipping 36 of them at a dozen CMC locations in seven different counties. Partnering with local school districts, we secured one of the largest education grants in the state, allowing us to install another 28 “smart” classrooms in area high schools. By linking them to CMC’s network of classrooms, we’re expanding concurrent enrollment access (and valuable college credits) for high school students across a wide swath of Colorado’s Western Slope.
Holiday Message From CMC Students & Staff
Nursing faculty modified their classes to add simulations, resulting in several major philanthropic gifts and the construction of three new high-fidelity nursing labs in Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs and Breckenridge that will enable nearly twice as many nursing students to complete their clinical hours more efficiently and affordably.
Finally, CMC is now officially recognized as both a Dual Mission Institution, reflecting our blend of certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree offerings as well as a Hispanic Serving Institution, resulting from our deliberate efforts to grow enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of Latinx students. This latter designation opens up new federal funding opportunities that benefit all students across the college.
Clearly, it takes more than a pandemic to stop Colorado Mountain College, and these noteworthy successes don’t happen by accident. They are the result of stable financial resources and generous philanthropic support, of the dedicated work of skilled professionals, and a deep appreciation for the special towns and regions we all call home.
With the benefit of hindsight and after enduring nearly two years in the grip of a global pandemic, it is natural to be a bit more guarded about what 2022 will bring. However, one thing is certain. The team at CMC — after six consecutive volatile semesters — can handle whatever the year ahead has in store. Our students and communities are worth it. Thank you for your support.
Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser is President & CEO of Colorado Mountain College. She can be reached at email@example.com or @CMCPresident.
A Holiday Message from CMC President Hauser
In this holiday message, Colorado Mountain College President Dr. Carrie Hauser sends season’s greetings along with an overview of the school’s success stories as well as what is on the horizon for 2022.