2018 School Bus Tour
As part of the Colorado Association of School Board’s (CASB) second annual School Bus Tour on Sept. 6, about 20 school board members and legislators received a boots-on-the-ground view of rural schools in Northern Colorado.
During the all-day tour, attendees piled into a yellow school bus and visited schools in Thornton, Brighton, Gilcrest and Greeley. They toured state of the art facilities like Gilcrest Elementary and the new Riverdale Ridge High School, where students are issued a Chromebook to give them access to the latest educational technology.
Riverdale Ridge Principal Terry Elliott, added that the school offers students different seating options so their learning environment doesn’t keep them in the same position all day.
“I’m excited about how well thought out this new building is,” said Lloyd Worth, board director with School District 27J. “It’s not extravagant – every part of it is functionally designed.”
As tour attendees visited schools like Valley High School in Gilcrest, Early College Academy in Greeley and Innovations and Options in Brighton, they learned just because the brick and mortar aren’t new doesn’t mean the ideas inside aren’t cutting edge.
“We were able to see that the foundational learning elements that student need are everywhere,” said Amanda Stevens, Jefferson County Public School board member and CASB director. “But not every student has access to the many opportunities out there. We want to grow things to ensure they do.”
Housed in a historic school building completed in 1926, Innovations and Options is actually home to three separate schools – Heritage Academy, Bridge Academy and Bolt Academy – all aimed at providing different services to their students.
At Valley High School, upper classmen have taken charge of making the transition from eighth grade to freshman year easier through the Link Crew. This program provides freshmen a valuable resource in mentoring provided by older students that have been in their shoes.
The tour was a chance for education leaders to see programs they might only have read about in reports or in the news. “It means a lot to see it all in action,” said Rep. Janet Buckner (D-Aurora). “Seeing the diversity we have in Colorado makes a huge difference.”