Re-2 gets $250,000 grant from EnCana
Garfield School District Re-2 received a $250,000 grant from EnCana Oil & Gas for after-school tutoring.The Re-2 school board voted to approve the grant, given in $50,000 installments over five years, at its meeting Tuesday night.Re-2 already provides after-school academic and enrichment programs at its elementary schools.”This grant will help us to expand after-school programs into the secondary schools,” said Theresa Hamilton, Re-2 director of district-wide affairs.The money is targeted to specifically help low-income, low-achieving students.”The district came to us with a request for a number of programs,” said Doug Hock, EnCana spokesman. “This is the one we decided to invest in because we felt there was an obvious need.”The district has to provide regular data to EnCana to let the company know the money is being used effectively.Hamilton estimated that the money will pay for 2,500 hours of tutoring a year. Tutors make about $20 an hour. Some tutors are teachers and others are community members.”When you divide 2,500 by three days a week and eight schools, it starts to evaporate pretty quickly,” Hamilton said.The focused tutoring program is part of the district’s 2010 initiative, which includes a number of projects and improvements Re-2 wants to make over the next five years, including teaching to the standards, making work engaging and capital improvements.If the district did everything it wants to do in the initiative it would cost about $600,000 a year, Hamilton said.The grant is just the beginning of what EnCana hopes to develop into a significant partnership, Hock said in a phone interview. He said he’s toured the facilities at Coal Ridge High School and foresees Coal Ridge and Colorado Mountain College working together with EnCana.”We have a need for vocational training in order to build a future workforce,” Hock said.He compared CRHS to a school in Rock Springs, Wyo., where the company has a partnership with the public school district and local community college.”Right now this is just an idea,” Hock said.The idea is likely to develop further once CRHS hosts four grades. There are only ninth- and 10th-graders in the school right now.The board also discussed creating a committee to evaluate the school board’s effectiveness and the way it handled the money from the 2001 bond issue and the 2004 mill levy.”It’s not because of any complaints or anything,” said board president Jay Rickstrew at the meeting Tuesday night. “With a potential new bond coming forward, it’ll be good to have some independent feedback.”Rickstrew and superintendent Dr. Gary Pack said the committee might be comprised of 10-15 community members who apply for the responsibility. Rickstrew said it’s important that all the communities within Re-2 are represented.The board also approved CEBT as the district’s health insurance provider for the next year. The district has a health insurance committee that solicits for competitive bids from a number of different companies. CEBT’s rates will increase by 3 percent next year.Brad Skinner, the academic coach at Rifle High School, and Cindy Skinner, a counselor at RHS, suggested giving freshmen and sophomore students who score proficient or advanced on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test high school credit.”Some Grand Junction schools are doing it,” Brad Skinner said in a phone interview. “It might help with kid buy-in. We want to do whatever we can to help kids perform as well as they can on the CSAP so it’s a true reflection of what they know.”Brad Skinner said the idea is still in its infancy and he and Cindy Skinner will draw up a proposal for the school board.
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