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Summer's out for the school year

Last week, the school grounds glowed with the smiles of students, parents, and teachers during GOAL week. Silverton School is officially back in session for the ‘23-’24 school year. Enrollment at the school continues to grow as the wider Silverton community grows. As of the first day of school, there were almost 80 students enrolled.

Teachers and staff returned for the school year on August 14th for professional development work and preparation. They did professional development seminars, arranged classrooms, updated learning materials, and opened space on the walls for the new demonstrations of student learning. Students started classes last week with “Goal Week” during which teachers help students perform assessments, begin building the classroom CREW, and start preparing students for the year of learning ahead. CREW at Silverton School is the time in which students work on developing relationships with themselves, each other, and their teacher, also called social emotional learning. It is a pillar of the teaching philosophy at the school. This week began the first week of regular classes and the students will dive into their expeditions and learning adventures.

As some of the more experienced teachers on staff, including Kelly Habecker, Sallie Barney, and Katie Shapiro, stepped into new roles that will provide additional learning support for students and mentorship for staff, the school enthusiastically welcomed a few more members to the staff. Megan Corson came to Silverton from Denver to teach the kindergarten and first grade class. She’s joining the school alongside six kindergartners who started at “The Big School.”

Destiny Babb joined the staff to oversee the essential afterschool and out-of-school programming. Babb also comes to Silverton from Denver where she worked in education for almost 20 years. With The Youth Center up and running again, programming will run Monday-Friday for students in every grade.

The school hired a new part-time nurse, Jamie Stacey, from Albuquerque to help support student health efforts at school. This position will be a combined position with the Silverton Clinic.

Two counselors and social workers have also signed on to support Silverton students. Lee Copenhagen, who has worked with the school as a consultant in previous years, moved to Silverton last winter from Montana and will spend one day a week at the school. Joel Birdie will come up once a week from Durango to work with the students. Birdie is also a licensed social worker and counselor.

Cross-Country practice started for middle and high school students in mid-August and the team has been practicing after school. Coaching them this year are Hannah Kurzweil, Kevin deKay, and David Emory.

The school’s schedule will operate on a block schedule again this year, taking eight Fridays off during fall semester and six Fridays off during spring semester. Starting this week, students will begin their Friday rotation of regular class time or swimming. Fridays off will begin in late October and go until the end of the semester.

As a special kick-off celebration for the school year, the school community will spend the night at Eureka Lodge, following a tradition at the school for many years. The activity had to be paused during the pandemic but will return this year.

After the school year kick-off event, High school students will be the first to go on fieldwork outside of Silverton, with a multi-day trip on the Upper San Juan River in collaboration with FLOW (Fort Lewis on the Water) Program at Fort Lewis College. Fieldwork is a chance for students to learn more about their current expedition in real time and tie the experience in with their learning targets. The high school students and teachers will raft a section of the river while learning about desert ecology. They will also use this special time to build their CREW in a different setting than the school building.

This will be a busy and exciting semester at Silverton School. Stay up to date at the school’s website or consider attending the monthly Board of Directors meetings which are on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:00 in the school library.

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