Mesa County Valley School District 51 changes ways with Information Age |

Mesa County Valley School District 51 changes ways with Information Age

Brittany Markert
Students still learn through books and other activities in the classroom, but many teachers are incorporating technology to help students learn.
Submitted photo |


Most schools in Mesa County will head back starting Monday, Aug. 3. Are you and your children ready? Important numbers, dates and information is provided below to prepare for the upcoming school year.


Register your child at their attendance-area school, birth certificate & immunization records required

Have all required immunizations completed, available at Mesa County Health Department:

Plan ahead for transportation: how will your child get to and from school

Apply for free and reduced lunch:

Look at lunches for the week and plan lunches from home

Pick-up school supplies

Have a fashion show and select clothes the night before

Transfer the school calendar to your family calendars

Reset sleep schedules and make sure kids get at least 8 hours of sleep each night

Practice your morning routine to make it fun and exciting

Plan time to meet your child’s teacher, but set an appointment if you need to discuss any specific issues or concerns


Boys golf will start Aug. 10 with boys soccer, volleyball, football, boys tennis, softball and boys and girls cross country will start Aug. 17.

All athletes must have a physical screening (hardcopy), parent permission form and athletic code of conduct submitted ELECTRONICALLY with the school’s athletic office PRIOR to athletes trying out for these sports. Forms are available on the individual schools’ websites or on the district webpage at Go to the Parents tab and click on Extra Curricular/Athletics for information.

Sports-specific start times/locations along with contest schedules are available at Enter your home school and bookmark this site for future reference.


District’s Main Switchboard — 970-254-5100

Superintendent — 970-254-5193

Executive Director of Elementary Schools — 970-254-5311

Executive Director of Middle Schools — 970-254-5323

Executive Director of High Schools — 970-254-5321

Office of attendance — 970-254-6320

Food and Nutrition — 970-254-5181

Safety — 970-254-5103

Transportation & Busing — 970-254-5102


Sept. 7 — Labor Day

Oct. 5-9 — Fall Break

Nov. 23-27 — Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 1 through Jan. 1 — Winter Break

Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Feb. 15 — Presidents’ Day

March 21 through April 1 — Spring Break

Last Day of School Year — May 19

Technology is constantly changing. While it may be easy for an individual to upgrade to the latest computer, it is more challenging for an entire school district to upgrade.

“The challenge with technology is that it’s rapidly changing all the time,” said Dan Dougherty, Mesa County Valley School District 51’s director of communications. “It’s expensive to integrate across the district our size. Our challenge is how to go about integrating in a smart way that we can afford within the budget.”

The district understands that it needs to be training students from an early age on how to use technology. Students must be able to use Smart phones, tablets and computers efficiently in order to be engaged members of our society.

“Most adults think of curriculum as the book that contains the information being taught,” Dougherty said. “That’s what we grew up with. Curriculum, however, is really the totality of the learning experiences, of which a textbook is just one resource.

“In today’s digital climate, those resources are textbooks, digital video, audio, models, labs, presentations and an abundance of photos, illustrations, charts and diagrams to help make concepts clear and vivid.”

District 51 currently has about one computer for every three students to use. The district hopes to reduce to a one-to-one ratio in the future.

“We expect that in the next 10 years we will see the continuing proliferation of new educational technologies and swelling access to big data,” said Odus Harwood, District 51’s director of technology.

Dougherty explained there are more than 20 pieces of technology, including smart boards, projectors and computers, that can be used in a classroom for instructional use. Currently each classroom has about eight pieces.

Pen and paper won’t be going away completely, he added. Most teachers still use workbooks and worksheets for learning, but have integrated tablets to use for games and drills.

“It’s a challenge for some students to pay attention in school,” Dougherty said. “So, we are leveraging technology to match their natural learning style.”

Dougherty hopes parents will change with the times as well and be open to the changes in education.


Students today have grown up with tablets, smart phones and computers at their finger tips and by integrating technology into the classroom, District 51 is hoping to help students learn more effectively.

“What technology allows us to do is shape instruction in a format that is more compatible with today’s native, digital learners,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty explained most jobs by 2020 will require not only a bachelor’s degree, but also a background in technology. With the help of technology integration throughout the education process, students will be better prepared for jobs after college.

“We are preparing today’s kids for tomorrow’s jobs,” Dougherty said. “The jobs that are in demand, like social media manager, didn’t exist even four years ago.”

He explained that integration is the current trend for District 51.

“Kids today are much more digitally connected with technology,” Dougherty said. “We have to shift our thinking.”

The changes will continue for District 51, but Dougherty is confident that students, teachers and the district will continue to adapt.

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