Keep kids in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com
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Keep kids in Carbondale

Adam Carballeira

There are too many students from Carbondale going to school in other towns. The exact number is difficult to find, but estimates range between 300 and 500. That constitutes one-quarter to one-third of all the kids in Carbondale and averages between 25 and 40 kids per grade level. Three hundred to 500 kids from Carbondale drive up and down the valley every day for school. I think this is hard on kids and a terrible human and economic resource drain for our schools and the town of Carbondale. Something must be done, and it is we, the parents, who must do it.Why do so many parents choose to enroll in other towns? There are several reasons. Many left as Carbondale saw a rise in its Latino population. Still others left because of frustrations with the outgoing superintendent in handling Carbondale schools. Many more have left because of false information or hearsay. Even real estate brokers tell clients to go elsewhere for school. Our schools have faced some challenges, but things are different now. The schools have responded to these challenges, made changes and have emerged better than ever. Check it out.Crystal River Elementary is on a roll; its dedicated staff has a new administrator, some exciting new programs and a new building coming soon. Carbondale Middle School provides an exciting and challenging academic program for kids and harbors an award-winning physical education program and exceptional art and music instruction. Roaring Fork High School is bursting with pride, and students are involved in many activities within and beyond the curriculum. Plans for the new high school are incredible – a state-of-the-art learning complex. We even have two public schools of choice, the Ross Montessori and Carbondale Community School; both offer effective programs for younger students who want a different option.In addition, Carbondale schools provide a real-world, multicultural experience to all kids. Our students have the opportunity to work with people with varying backgrounds, a skill that will serve our kids throughout their lives. And we have created an academic framework that challenges even the most advanced learners. That’s why our schools produce such capable, grounded and well-rounded citizens.We have solid administrators, a powerful teacher core, and really great kids. Our schools and students accomplish far too much to mention here. People need to come see for themselves. Schedule a visit or talk to the families who attend school locally. Nearly all of the students, parents and teachers will tell you: We have really good schools in Carbondale.We have really good schools, yet not great schools. No school can be great without the total support of its community. If we all enrolled our kids in the town schools, then they would be truly great. Think about it. With community support, we could have the best schools in the valley, right here in Carbondale. Families from Glenwood to Aspen would want to send their kids here!We are approaching the time of year when families make their school choice for next year. Parents of young children, especially, need to be proactive. Enroll your children in Carbondale public schools, then work with us to make our schools exceptional. I and most parents I know are keeping our kids here. But we need everyone. Talk to your friends. Let’s all work together. If you are not sure, at least make an appointment to come visit. Make a sound decision based on what you know and have seen, not what others say.If you join the flight away, and you complain about the schools here, you have only yourself to blame. If you choose to stay, then your kids can ride their bikes to school, stay after for homework help, have their friends nearby and play sports on the home team in their hometown. All that and a great education.Please don’t get sucked away. If you live in Carbondale, please support Carbondale’s public schools.Adam Carballeira is a teacher at Carbondale Middle School and a father of two.


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