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Education

  • Young spellers are more than c-o-m-p-e-t-i-t-i-v-e

    Patagonia.

    Not only is it a region in Argentina, it’s also the word that put fifth-grader Paige Gilloth, 11, over the top in the Conifer area elementary schools’ spelling bee at West Jefferson Elementary recently.

    Paige and 14 other fourth- and fifth-graders competed to see who would advance to the state spelling bee on March 11. Elk Creek, Marshdale and West Jeff each sent five students to compete.

  • Becoming restaurateurs

    A chaotic buzz permeated TNT Country Kitchen last Wednesday as fifth- and sixth-graders from Red Rocks Elementary zoomed about the Morrison restaurant.

    Students acted as waiters, bus staff and hostesses for the evening, moving hastily from the kitchen to the dining tables, balancing plates of piping-hot spaghetti, trays of baked goods and glasses of ice water.

  • Platte Canyon teacher ending 30-plus-year career

    Sue Villarreal has spent more than 30 years teaching at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. In the mid-1980s — less than 10 years after graduating from the high school — the Bailey native returned to teach home economics, known now as consumer and family studies. Back then, the classes revolved around managing a household: balancing a checkbook, meal preparation, parenting, sewing and any number of other tasks involved in family life.

  • It was their first rodeo

    In honor of the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, a local elementary school on Friday hosted its annual “rodeo” as well.

    The rodeo at West Jefferson Elementary in Conifer doesn’t include live animals, but rather creates obstacles or challenges for kindergartners and their fourth- and fifth-grade mentors to compete in. This year, approximately 60 students participated.

  • Can you spell D-R-A-W?

    A satisfying cadence infuses the words spelled aloud at a bee — staccato, enunciated, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

    The 80-minute Mountain Area Spelling Bee on Jan. 25 at Wilmot Elementary saw 21 third- through seventh-graders using their spelling-bee cadences as they went through round after round.

    This year’s contest had its dramatic moments, and after the final two contestants went 10 rounds spelling difficult words correctly, bee officials declared it a draw, and those two students will be sent to the state bee.

  • ‘High School Musical’ attracts huge cast at middle school

    Evergreen Middle School musical director Montana Brown prides herself on picking shows that will appeal to middle-schoolers to entice them to get involved in the theater program.

    So this year, rather than something like “Peter Pan,” which she considered, she went with Disney’s “High School Musical.” She hoped the basketball portion of the show would attract boys.

  • District weighs options ahead of talks with union

    With less than a month before contract negotiations begin with the Jefferson County Education Association, the school district is trying to prepare for a worst-case scenario when it comes to next year’s state funding.

    In the wake of the failure of ballot initiatives 3A and 3B in the November election, district officials are concerned that the uncertain nature of state funding could complicate efforts to retain current teachers and attract new hires.

  • Students take time for some rhyme at Elk Creek Elementary

    Some students at Elk Creek Elementary School recently shared their favorite poems with fellow classmates and family.

    Called Poetry Café, the event is an annual tradition at the school. Students in all grades pick a poem to recite to the class, and then the teachers pick three to four students to participate in Poetry Café.

  • School district enacts partial hiring freeze

    Effective immediately, Jeffco Public Schools has instituted a hiring freeze on almost all non-classroom positions, and all new hires will have to be approved by a district cabinet consisting of 11 people.

    According to chief human resources officer Amy Weber, the cabinet last week discussed the hiring freeze, which will exclude grant-funded positions and essential positions such as teachers, para-educators, bus drivers and food service employees.

  • School board discusses teacher pay in wake of ballot failures

    Following the failure of Jeffco schools' ballot initiatives 3A and 3B — which would have resulted in a $535 million bond issue and generated $33 million annually in increased property taxes — the district says its top priority is keeping the teachers it has by improving compensation.