Schools preparing for opening day – The Daily Planet

Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

As the lazy days of summer draw to a close, teachers and administrators at Tellurides public schools and the private Telluride Mountain School are getting ready for the 2017-18 year.

Telluride Elementary School (TES), Telluride Intermediate School (TIS) and Telluride Middle/High Schools (TMHS) which operate under the Telluride R-1 School District will kick off on Monday, Aug. 28. The first day of classes at Telluride Mountain School is set for Tuesday, Sept. 5.

While most Denver public schools are already underway, Telluride Superintendent Mike Gass said that Telluride doesnt begin school until late August due to the various school spaces that are leased for the summer by organizations such as Telluride Science Research Center, Telluride Academy and Telluride Film Festival.

Gass said he intends to adjust the 2018-19 school calendar so that the first semester ends before winter break, which means classes will begin earlier in August next year.

Teacher training, however, kicks off this week: on Wednesday, for the new math curriculum at TMHS, and on Thursday, for a teacher leadership training. All district teachers officially return to their classrooms on Aug. 21.

High school athletic teams volleyball, golf, cross-country and soccer officially begin practice tomorrow.

Registration for new students opened this past Wednesday.

According to TMHS Principal Sara Kimball, there are already 33 new students registered for the middle/high school.

We graduated a big senior class last year and we have a smaller freshman class coming in. So we thought we might be down in enrollment, Kimball said. But weve got a lot of new kids coming in.

Kimball urges parents to submit their registration materials soon; they are due Aug. 25.

Two new teachers will join TMHS: a new middle school counselor and a new high school special education teacher.

New to the public school district this year: The Pinhead Institute will be teaching middle school technology classes. The high school also added a new anatomy and physiology class and a broadcast journalism class to its schedule.

According to TIS Principal Chad Terry, enrollment at the intermediate school also is rising significantly.

So far we have over 30 brand new students to the Telluride Intermediate School, said Terry. Because of all of these new families, we are sitting around 340 students in these four grades. All of the grade levels have four homeroom sections. Fifth grade in particular issitting around 90 students, which is historically one of the largest classes that Telluride has ever seen.

Notably, the dual immersion program will grow into third grade this year.

We have a great third-grade team of teachers, Terry said. (They) have invested a ton of time and energy into helping the dual immersion program grow into (the intermediate) school and continue to offer a great education in bothEnglish and Spanish.

TIS welcomes new teacher Cela White to its fourth-grade classroom.

Terry added that there will be an opportunity for parents and students to drop off supplies and set up lockers/cubbies on Friday, Aug. 25, from 2-3 p.m.

TES will kick its first day of school off with a longstanding tradition in which teachers, parents and students gather on the front steps of the elementary school at 8:05 a.m. to share opening day comments and introductions and to sing the school song.

According to TES Principal Susan Altman, so far there are 10 new students entering the elementary school. She said there are four new TES teachers this year: two from Spain, one from Mexico and one Telluride local.

We also have increased our classes to four sections in both kindergarten and first grades, opening up a third dual immersion classroom at each grade level, Altman said. This will honor our continued efforts to keep classroom sizes down.

Other than routine deep cleaning of all floors, and painting and prepping classroom spaces, there have been no major renovations to any of the public schools.

Gass encourages people interested in running for one of three available School Board seats this fall to submit their petitions, which are now available at the district office and are due to the San Miguel County Clerks Office on or before Sept. 1.


Meanwhile, the Head of School Search Committee at Telluride Mountain School is in the final process of determining a replacement for Karen Walker, who is entering her last year at the helm.

According to Associate Head of School Andy Shoff, the committee hopes to announce that decision before Sept. 1.

Students return to classes at TMS on Sept. 5 with the exception of new, incoming Montessori students, who will begin the following day, Sept. 6.

TMS teachers return to their classrooms on Aug. 21, two weeks before TMS students arrive, for preparation, collaboration and professional development.

While there were no major changes to the TMS campus, a small bouldering wall was installed onto the building over the summer for outside play.

According to Shoff, the school is enjoying its largest enrollment ever, particularly in the high school, though there are new students entering just about every grade this year. There also has been a strong uptake in inquiries from international families, given the imminent launch of the International Baccalaureate program at TMS in grades 11 and 12.

Though most classes are now full, some seats are still available. For more information about admissions at TMS, contact

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Schools preparing for opening day - The Daily Planet

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