Programs give added class to Re-1 schools |

Programs give added class to Re-1 schools

Suzie Romig
Re-2 Public Information Officer

In a relatively small high school of 405 students located in a mountain valley, the opportunity to take a class in Caribbean art history with a teacher from an island in the West Indies is exceptional.

More than a dozen students at Basalt High School currently are enrolled in such unique advanced study classes as Mythology, Human Anatomy, History of Photography and even a horror literature class called “Ghoulies, Ghosties and Long-legged Beasties.”

For the first time, this year students have the opportunity to take part in the nonprofit Virtual High School program (, made possible through a grant from the former Basalt Education Foundation. Students can choose from 100 different VHS classes.

“It’s really wonderful,” said Kitty Riley, Basalt’s VHS coordinator. “The program offers classes that they can never get in a small school and the chance to meet people in cyberspace in other parts of the country and world.”

An online high school class is not for everyone because it requires a self-motivated student, but the option can work to ward off the dreaded “senioritis” and bring variety to the curriculum.

“We don’t have the numbers to drive many different classes. This gives something to students who might have more interests or just want to do something different,” said Michelle Brune, the first teacher in the Roaring Fork School District to instruct a VHS course. With Brune teaching Academic Writing this semester, up to 15 local students are allowed to participate in VHS.

In addition to the newer high-tech options, Advanced Placement courses such as AP Biology, AP English, AP Calculus and AP Art are a higher learning staple in the three district high schools. Each school has a variety of other advanced offerings ranging from Science Seminar to CISCO computer classes.

The district high schools stimulate upper-level learners through dual credit courses where students can earn both high school and college credit through Colorado Mountain College or the University of Colorado in Denver.

Through CU Succeed, now in its second year at Basalt, students can study U.S. history, political science or biology through a local teacher appointed as a CU adjunct professor. Basalt also is serving as a pilot school in the state for a new online College Algebra class through CU Succeed this semester.

“Our high schools have more expanded educational offerings than most other high schools of similar size on the Western Slope,” Basalt High School Principal Jim Waddick noted. “Our college credit classes are offered right on campus.”

“For schools of our size, we have a very diverse curriculum with upper-level opportunities in all disciplines,” noted Glenwood Springs High School Principal Mike Wells. “Students who take advantage of what we have to offer have been accepted to the most select colleges and universities in the U.S. and have excelled.”

To receive a weekly e-mailed “Community Update” or for Roaring Fork School District questions, call 384-6000 or e-mail

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