Students at Children’s Kiva Montessori School on Wednesday displayed a variety of art, research and writing projects at a gallery night for family and friends.
From the campus of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Kaitlin Munroe, who teaches fourth through sixth grades, said her students this year have learned about the formation of the universe and early life on Earth. They took a field trip to public land near Mancos to look for fossils and then wrote poems and selected a prehistoric creature to research.
She said Crow Canyon is a wonderful place for kids to learn about the science of archaeology.
“The campus here, the campus is a gem,” Munroe said. “We can go out and take walks, we can listen to birds, we can talk about who we think that might be, and just being outdoors is wonderful.”
Fourth-grader Coulter Weyand made a clay model of the Coccosteus, an armored fish that lived in freshwater and saltwater about 400 million years ago.
“It’s mouth kind of looks like a sharp beak, and it has a bone in its jaw that opens its jaw wider,” Weyand said. “It has bone-crushing jaws, very sharp teeth.”
Nielson Hurst, also in fourth grade, created a comic book about trilobites. In the comic, Hurst said two guys find a trilobite on the beach and then take it to a scientist who teaches them about the ancient arthropods.
“It’s just a fun way to share information instead of just looking at a little story that just says facts,” Hurst said of his comic.
Among middle school students, seventh- and eighth-grade teacher John Whitehead said his students in November and December each read a book and created book report movie posters, then turned the book into a movie and cast whoever they wanted as actors. They also wrote argument papers on the topic of children and technology.
Two of his students, Avelyn Parks and Megan Schmalz, both in eight grade, wrote about their opinion on the appropriate age for a child to own a smartphone or start using social media. They both said 13.
“I thought it would be something that would appeal to students,” Whitehead said. “I know most of my kids have phones, they often talk about what video games they’re playing, and so it’s a topic that they can relate to and get into.”
The school’s board of directors and recently appointed Head of School Jon Orris also have been at work trying to keep their school alive.
Lori Haukeness, superintendent at Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1, on Dec. 11 stated that CKMS had breached its contract with the school district and RE-1 would issue a breach of contract letter, giving CKMS until February to come with a stable facility with a long-term lease and the commitment from enough families to ensure sustainable student enrollment in the 2019-2020 school year.
If the CKMS board cannot provide that documentation by February, the school will likely close at the end of this school year.
The school is “looking at all angles,” Jackson said, and they are potentially working on a plan to recruit students. Carol Mehesy, RE-1 charter school liaison and director of school improvement, said earlier this month said the best-case scenario is CKMS would have an full-time equivalent enrollment of 90 students next year. However, the school needs 98 full-time equivalent students to break even.
Jackson said she’s not sure how CKMS could bridge that gap.
“I don’t know that we have the answer for that just yet, but I’m glad we have 60 days to work on it,” Jackson said.
Orris, who has 10 years of experience as executive director of Paradox Valley Charter School, was appointed head of school on Dec. 10. In his first week, he said he’s been busy learning about the school. He said his main focus as head of school is academics, and he wants to introduce more consistency in alignment with standards.
“Basically I’m stepping on a very fast moving train and playing a little bit of catch-up,” Orris said.