School Board to study accelerated classes

The lengthy to-do list for the Steamboat Springs School Board got longer Monday night.

During the public comment portion of the board's meeting, a Steamboat parent expressed concerns about a lack of accelerated classes for gifted and talented students at district schools. About two weeks after board members -- along with district staff and administrators -- created a list of nearly 30 items to discuss at coming board meetings, board President Tom Miller-Freutel said gifted and talented programming will be added to the agenda of a March board meeting.

At Monday night's School Board meeting, school bus driver Bethany Aurin commended Steamboat Springs Middle School Principal Tim Bishop and Assistant Principal Jerry Buelter for their actions after school Friday.

When a car got stuck on the hill leaving the middle school, blocking traffic and delaying busloads of kids, Bishop and Buelter "rushed outside and began helping with buckets of sand and traffic control," Aurin said.

With cooperation from school staff and quick thinking from bus drivers -- including moving children to the backs of buses to provide traction on the icy hill -- the incident was resolved with no accidents.

"A huge public thank you needs to be made to Tim Bishop and Jerry Buelter," Aurin said.

-- Pilot & Today staff

"There's a strong feeling among our group that our middle school does not do enough for gifted and talented students," said the parent, who said she is involved with a local group called PEAKS, or Parents Educating and Advocating for Kids, and has children in the first and third grades at Soda Creek Elementary School and in the sixth grade at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Ann Sims, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, invited the parent to the next meeting of the district's Gifted and Talented Advisory Committee. That meeting is at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 in the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street.

Superintendent Donna Howell said the Education Excellence Commission, one of three commissions that prepare recommendations for the Education Fund Board, has a proposal this year to fund two additional gifted and talented teachers.

Also on Monday, board members discussed the list of coming study session and designated facility planning and curriculum issues for board meetings in March and April.

Howell said Tuesday that staffing and budget concerns need to be addressed soon, as well. Discussing gifted and talented programming makes sense in that context, she said, as does looking at hiring new staff to teach the district's growing number of English Language Learners.

The School Board's next meeting is Monday.

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