School board hears concerns
The Aspen School Board heard concerns about the district’s math curriculum during its meeting Monday night.District math teachers and principals discussed low test scores and problematic teaching practices, leading to students entering Aspen High School without the proper background in the subject.”I see it as a major concern, but not a crisis,” Superintendent Tom Farrell said.Joel Sheridan, a member of the district’s mathematics curriculum review committee, said each school in the district could benefit from some sort of math support for teachers and students.”The idea right now is something in the terms of a math coach,” said Sheridan. “They would spend 10 to 15 hours a week working with the math program, helping teachers with ideas and bringing in new ideas.”Board president Augie Reno said he would keep the idea of a math coach in mind as the board prepared next year’s district budget. The mathematics committee might also pursue an Aspen Education Fund grant for the coach.Three seventh-graders, prompted by homeroom teacher Tim Somerville, addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting to argue certain points of Aspen Middle School’s dress code.The code states that tank tops, sunglasses pushed back on the head or the hoods of sweatshirts will not be allowed in class. AMS Principal Griff Smith said the code was installed after a faculty meeting and subsequent parent conference, and was also discussed in homeroom classes for student input.Reno and Smith encouraged the students to bring their concerns to the student council, which would in turn meet with school officials about the issue.”I think you should sit down and talk with Griff and see where it goes from there,” Reno said.The students also questioned their Friday class schedule, which includes attending all eight of their classes in one day. The seventh-graders agreed to broach this topic with AMS administration, as well.Other items of discussion:-The board approved an official calendar for the 2001-02 academic year Monday night. Seventh- and eighth-graders will begin classes on Aug. 27, followed by kindergarten through sixth grade on Aug. 29. Aspen High classes will not begin until after Labor Day, on Sept. 4.-As construction plans continue for the high school, Superintendent Farrell’s office and the high school auto shop will be demolished in April, followed by the old Colorado Mountain College building in May. Modular structures will be erected on campus to make up for lost space.-The annual Student Summit, a forum which allows board members to meet with students of the district and hear their concerns, is set for April 6. Reno and board member Janet Uris have formed a summit committee and will decide the location and number of students to be invited to the conference later this month.Return to The Aspen Times or AspenAlive.com
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Amid the pre-Thanksgiving gloom of grim pandemic news here in Aspen, across Colorado and the mountain west came a small but significant dose of hope in the unlikely form of an Aspen Music Festival and School announcement.