Mountain Edition - December 18th, 2014

Dec 18, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Schools in the Roaring Fork Valley get graded- some of the best and the worst in the state are here.

Basalt has its first menorah lighting to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah.

Aspen’s new Airport Director takes the helm as County Commissioners decide how to widen the airfield.

New owners at Krabloonik aim for a kinder, friendlier era and they are receiving a “thumbs up”, so far, from a group whose aim is to make sure the sled dogs are well cared for.

Colorado Report Card Gives Aspen Charter School An "A+"

Dec 15, 2014
Creative Commons/Brad Flickinger

The Aspen Community School is one of the top-ranked schools in the state, according to a new analysis. The school near Woody Creek, ranked six out of 500 middle schools.

The organization Colorado School Grades releases its report card annually. Nearly 2000 public schools are ranked. The group uses data from the Colorado Department of Education and a formula that looks at academic achievement, academic growth and gaps in education.

Today on CrossCurrents, Roaring Fork School District is holding a series of community meetings throughout the month to discuss the RFSD Facilities plan.

Guests are Dr. Diana Sirko, Superintendent of RFSD and Shannon Pelland, Assistant Superintendent in charge of the Facilities Project.

Elise Thatcher

On Sunday, October 5th, Aspen High School hosted just under three thousand students and parents from Lake City, Durango, and other far flung Colorado towns. They quizzed University representatives and took workshops as part of the Colorado Western Slope College Fair. It’s been around for years, but this time, the focus was on helping students with the details, like essay writing and affordability.

Elise Thatcher

Colorado Mountain College is turning its focus to what kids are learning before they walk in the door. Right now more than half of incoming students are severely lacking in certain subjects, usually math and English. So now the community college… the largest such network in the state… is working on finding a way to improve what kids are learning in elementary, middle, and high school. It’s part of a larger effort to better serve mountain communities.

Preschool Program Focuses On The Brain

Sep 16, 2014
Kate Lapides

A growing education program in the Valley is teaching preschoolers how their brain works so they can focus on learning. The “Focused Kids” program is being taught to low income, mostly Latino kids, in a unique preschool. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, this new program is happening inside a school bus.

Inside El Busesito, a small group of students and teachers are playing games on the carpeted floor. It’s a comfortable space that doesn’t look at all like a bus. The seats have been removed to make way for books and toys.

Marci Krivonen

On Thursday we told you about how the Aspen-based Valley Marijuana Council is working on educating people about retail pot. Today we’ll explain how the State of Colorado is using tax money from marijuana sales to create an education campaign of its own. The Colorado Department of Public Health is planning to roll out television commercials, radio spots and billboards early next year around how to use marijuana safely.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Mike Johnston

State Representative Millie Hamner carried three times the number of bills this legislative session, than she did in the previous session. The democrat, who represents several Western Slope counties including Pitkin County, chairs the House education committee. She told Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen that she's most proud of two measures that bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Colorado schools.

Snowmass Village democrat Gail Schwartz wrapped up her career as a state senator this week. The lawmaker is term-limited after spending eight years under the gold dome in Denver. Her impact on issues like education, healthcare and water have been felt around the state, including here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, Schwartz’s colleagues saluted her service, including Senate Majority Leader Rollie Heath.

Lessons on Ducks, Snow; Environmental Education Expands

Mar 17, 2014
Marci Krivonen

Environmental education is expanding in schools across the Roaring Fork Valley. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies grew its teaching programs over the last two years to include schools like Basalt Elementary and Carbondale’s Crystal River Elementary school. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, studies show schools with environmental programs score higher on standardized tests.

Environmental educator Melanie Poole instructs a group of kindergarten students plopped down in a semi-circle. Today’s lesson is about duck adaptations.

Roaring Fork School District (RE-1) is considering a change to the school calendar. Superintendent Dr. Diana Sirko discusses the process and  the next steps along with John Bennett from Aspen Community Foundation's Cradle to Career Initiative.

The show is about The Aspen Challenge at Denver Public Schools with Natalie Travers, Program Manager of the Aspen Challenge, Will Palmquist, a junior at East High School in Denver, and Solicia Lopez, the Student Board Director at Denver Public Schools.

Mountain Edition - October 24th, 2013

Oct 24, 2013

It’s election time and we’re taking a look at issues on the November ballot and what they could mean for a voter’s tax bill. First, there’s a statewide income tax increase for public schools.

And, there’s a local proposal to build a rec center in the Mid-Valley. Supporters say will enhance the community, while critics say it would mean hundreds more in property taxes for homeowners.

Basalt residents are being asked to redevelop land along the Roaring Fork River. The plan forces out more than a hundred people from a trailer park.

Finally, we’ll hear the latest weather forecast for the coming winter… there’s good news, and bad news.

Mountain Edition - October 10th, 2013

Oct 10, 2013

The government shutdown trudges on but Pitkin County is working to alleviate the pain by increasing access to a local attraction on federal land.

A proposal for funding public education has been called historic by Colorado’s governor. But, the ballot measure could stretch wallets.

The Aspen Skiing Company hopes to catch the eye of up and coming skiers from certain Asian countries.

And, changes may be in store if the USA Pro Challenge bike race returns to the upper Roaring Fork Valley next year. We talk with an economist who says big sporting events may not mean more money for the towns hosting them.

Finally, we get an update on local athletes training for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Univers beeldbank

This week, Governor John Hickenlooper enthusiastically supported Amendment 66, calling it the single most important education reform initiative in the history of the United States. School districts in the Roaring Fork Valley are also weighing in on the measure.  Hyperbole aside, the amendment would change the way the state funds public schools. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, school administrators aren’t the only groups sharing opinions before voters head to the polls in November.

The Roaring Fork School District's Visioning Process with Dr. Diana Sirko, Superintendent of Schools and Dr. Rob Stein, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer.

Kitty Boone of the Aspen Institute with Dr. Kathy Klug on this year's Western Slope College Fair, Sunday October 6th.

More about the fair at:

Al Cunningham and Richard DeCampo of the Haiti School Project. Also an update from Haiti School Project co-founder Tim Myers from Haiti.

More on the project:

@millie_hamner (Twitter)


The latest legislative session in Denver was the first Lawmaker Millie Hamner spent representing Pitkin County. It was the democratic representative’s second term, but a redraw of legislative maps in 2011, broadened her district to include Pitkin County. A former superintendent of schools, she now chairs the education committee at the Statehouse. Her most controversial bill this session centered on funding for k-12 education. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with her about it shortly after the session ended on May 8th.



Adam Frankel is founding executive director of Digital Promise, a bipartisan, public-private partnershipchartered by Congress to spur innovation in education. Frankel was special assistant to the president and senior speechwriter for President Obama after speechwriting on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.