Partnership Offers New Opportunities for Elementary Students in WPSD
Woodland Park School District (WPSD) is proud to announce a partnership with Catamount Institute and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF) to bring environmental education, experiential instruction, and hands-on learning to all Woodland Park elementary students for the 2014-15 school year.
“We are excited to offer such an exemplary, hands-on, experientially-based, learning opportunity for WPSD RE-2 students,” said Dr. Jed Bowman, Superintendent of WPSD. “We have perhaps one of the most unique school settings in the nation, with our district nestled next to America’s Mountain, and being able to partner with the Catamount Institute and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation allows us to capitalize on this setting!”
Catamount Institute will be offering outdoor and environmental science education classes within a schedule of different grade levels. Grades 2-5 will spend about an hour each week at Aspen Valley Ranch for a class with Catamount Institute for one academic quarter, approximately 10 classes (location and time will vary for kindergarten and 1st grade students).
“As owner of Aspen Valley Ranch, PPCF is thrilled to leverage the property for the benefit of the community,” said Eric Cefus, Director of Philanthropic Services with PPCF. “We are proud to partner with WPSD and Catamount Institute in what promises to be an outstanding example of collaboration for the entire region.”
One Catamount Institute Teacher Naturalist will lead each class, using high school aged interns, paraprofessionals, or parent volunteers to help divide classes into two smaller learning groups. “As a licensed middle school/high school science teacher and professional outdoor educator, I see this as an incredible defining moment for public education in our region,” said Tracy Jackson, Catamount Institute Education Director.
December. 2, 2014 – Press Release
Pikes Peak Community College offers classes in Woodland Park
Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) is partnering with Woodland Park School District (WPSD) and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation to offer college courses in Teller County. The collaboration began recently with limited courses being offered at the Woodland Park High School with the ultimate goal of growing the offerings to better serve the western portion of PPCC’s service area.
According to Dr. Jed Bowman, Superintendent of Woodland Park Schools, efforts to offer classes in Teller County have been on-going for years. “We tried a few different approaches in the past, but nothing had enough momentum to sustain,” he explains. However, last year, Eric Cefus, Director of Philanthropic Services with Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF) and a WPSD parent, connected Dr. Lance Bolton, President of PPCC, and Dr. Bowman, with PPCF’s Aspen Valley Ranch, a location providing innovative educational experiences that include workshops and events focused on arts, music, culture and sustainable living skills. A conversation ensued about needed environmental education studies.
“This effort allows students interested in outdoor career fields the ability to fully utilize first-class learning environments,” Bolton said. “And it gives them an edge for successful career opportunities.”
Currently, PPCC offers instruction for several Outdoor Leadership and Recreation Technology courses at WPHS with field trips to Aspen Valley Ranch and other surrounding areas. Additional courses will be offered in the spring and summer of 2015 and PPCC continues to work with Aspen Valley Ranch to utilize its 180 acres as an outdoor classroom.
“Now we are offering a long-term relationship that we hope will grow for our high school students, college students and hopefully develop into evening classes to meet our community needs,” Bowman said. The ongoing partnership between WPSD and PPCC is not completely new. They already work together in offering concurrent enrollment at the high school to include English and Spanish classes.
According to Linda Murray, WPSD Assistant Superintendent, students earn high school as well as PPCC college credit that can be transferable to colleges and universities throughout Colorado. “Our staff teaches the courses after being approved as an adjunct professor through PPCC,” she explains. “We use PPCC textbooks and syllabus to teach at no cost to the student. It’s a win/win program!” Students from WPHS also participate in PPCC’s Area Vocational Program which provides career training in key areas such as Health, Criminal Justice, and Welding & Machining.
Another opportunity is Ascent, which is run through the state. This is when a WPHS student, who completes 12 college credits by the end of the senior year and meet college entrance requirements, is considered a 5th year senior but is a full-time student at PPCC. Students pay for their own fees and text books while WPSD covers tuition for a full year at PPCC. “We are so excited to have these partnerships with PPCC,” Murray said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for our students and our community. We hope to offer more in the future.”
About Woodland Park School District
Woodland Park School District includes the cities of Divide, Florissant, and Woodland Park. Offering preschool through grade 12, WPSD is made up of five schools: three elementary schools (Columbine, Gateway, and Summit), Woodland Park Middle School, and Woodland Park High School. With students competing every year at the state and national levels in sports, academic competitions, and other activities, WPSD is large enough to offer comprehensive programs at all levels yet small enough for the personal attention and comforts of a caring community.
About Pikes Peak Community College
Pikes Peak Community College, in its 46th year of operation, is a two-year college offering 175 associate degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With four campuses and two military education centers in El Paso County, PPCC serves approximately 22,000 students annually.