from my window… No TELL survey for Rangely; GED could be key move

The TELL Colorado survey, carried out every two years statewide, is a great learning tool for the school districts concerned. It is a confidential survey done solely by state-certified instructors at Colorado elementary, middle and high schools.
The Herald Times looks at Barone Middle School this week as the second of a three-part series, wrapping up next week with an examination of the teachers’ opinion of how matters are run at Meeker Elementary School.
The survey shows what is right with the schools and points out areas where improvements are needed — depending on the school.
We have learned there are problems at Meeker High School with teachers voicing their discontent over several things. We have learned that things are better at Barone Middle School, and next week we will learn that things aren’t too bad at Meeker Elementary School.
I have received five phone calls from Rangely with the callers expressing emphatically that they believe the Herald Times should do the same examination of the schools there.
There was never any intention to ignore the Rangely schools. In fact, I told the first person who called that yes, we would be doing the same examination of Rangely schools that we had done with all Meeker schools.
I was wrong.
After I started doing Meeker and right after the first call from Rangely, I went to the TELL Colorado report and changed my mind. Or, should I say, my mind was changed for me.
We won’t be doing an examination of Rangely’s schools.
Why, you ask? That’s not fair!
The reason why is disturbing.
The reason we won’t be looking at Rangely schools is that only one teacher out of 36 certified instructors within the Rangely school system who were sent the survey, returned the survey. Only one!
That is a participation level of 2.78 percent while teachers in Meeker returned their surveys at a level of roughly 86 percent.
That is sad for so many reasons.
What better opportunity to send a message — good or bad — to the Rangely superintendent, administrators and fellow teachers than an anonymous survey compiled by an independent group without any chance of reprisal?
Anyone wishing to see the complete report on the Meeker schools or anyone wanting to see how the one teacher in Rangely who did return his/her survey feels, can easily go to www.tellcolorado.org/results.
The full report and several state comparisons are available there as are the changes in percentages since the 2011 survey.
The Meeker answers are revealing, interesting and could be quite important for the districts to see what is being done correctly and what should be the focus of planning for the future.
Sorry, Rangely, your teachers and school district missed out on a great opportunity.

Humility is a good thing — sort of.
I had the opportunity to go fishing in Colorado for the first time in about five years on May 11 at Kenney Reservoir.
After covering the graduation/commencement at Colorado Northwestern Community College at mid-afternoon, my wife and I decided to try wetting our lines at the reservoir to see if we could catch dinner for that night.
I consider myself quite a fisherman as I have fished in warm water, cold water and saltwater since I was old enough to carry my own rod. Not so my wife. She didn’t fish much as a child. As a teen and adult, it just wasn’t cool to go fishing, or to deal with worms at any level.
When she became a hairdresser and nail technician, there was no way she was going to get fish guts in her hair or, even worse, under her fingernails.
After a few years of playing spectator, pure boredom won out and I got her to fish. I had to bait the hook, take the fish off the hook when she caught the rare fish, and I had to gut the fish for eating.
This continued for the majority of our 31 years of marriage, but finally she really took a liking to the sport, even to the tune of ice fishing. Then we moved to Arizona. So much for ice fishing or fishing for trout, unless we wanted to drive for more than two hours to Flagstaff. We didn’t.
But I was pretty psyched when we pulled into the parking lot at Kenney. I was ready to catch my fish and once again enjoy fresh trout for dinner.
It took us a little while to get going, reworking rods that had been in the trunk of my car for years.
Finally in the water, we had to wait about 25 minutes for the first fish.
About 15 minutes later the second fish was on the line.
About a half hour went by and, sure enough, the third was on the stringer.
After another 45 minutes the fourth trout was on the ground. Since they were all about 10 to 12 inches, we figured that was enough for dinner that night, so we called it quits and headed back to Meeker for dinner.
There was only one problem with an otherwise wonderful time.
My wife had caught all four of the fish.
I didn’t even get a bite in the hours we sat on the grass. I cast farther, I tried fishing along the shore, I tried bottom fishing … I tried everything. No good.
She put the worm on the hook, she cast the bait, she caught the fish and, possibly for the first time, she even cleaned the fish. When we got home, she cooked the fish.
She ate the big fish and I ate the smaller three. And I was very thankful.
And for the first time in years, I even might even say I was humbled.
Meanwhile, I am still waiting to catch my first Colorado trout.

It is great to see that Rangely School District RE-4 is offering free GED classes to those in the Rangely area. The GED is basically the equivalent of having earned a high school diploma and is a necessity to any person who has any plan at all of landing a job that pays more than minimum wage.
A GED is key to getting into almost any post-high-school educational institution, almost no employers will hire someone who does not have a GED, and chances of advancing up the ladder at any company is practically zero without a GED.
Students I have known over the years have ranged from 18 to 94, the latter agreeing to earn her GED to impress her great-granddaughter of the importance of education.
The woman took the class with her great-granddaughter and both ended up passing the test with flying colors. Now the great-grandmother and the great-granddaughter are proud of their accomplishment and, after a few years of being out of school, the great-granddaughter enjoyed the classes so much she actually enrolled in and was accepted into Mohave Community College in Arizona.
This past fall, she earned her associate’s degree and was accepted into the University of Arizona as a full junior.
I can’t stress enough the importance of getting one’s GED. I would urge every student to at least try and earn an associate’s degree at a junior college or even push on as far as they can go in higher education. But not enough attention can be put on the need for the high school diploma or GED.
I would equate it — no humor intended — to playing a game of Monopoly and having every roll of the dice end up with a card stating, “Do not pass Go — Do not collect $200.”
GED classes are also available in Meeker through Colorado Northwestern Community College, but those classes are not free. Contact CNCC’s Meeker campus for more details on when those classes are offered.

Kudos also to all the Meeker businesses that decorated their front windows to wish the three DI (Destination Intelligence) teams from Meeker the best of luck as they compete this week at the Global competition in Knoxville, Tenn.
The percentage of participation speaks loudly that the community cares.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
But let’s keep in mind that the holiday is in remembrance of all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — their lives — in military service to our country so that we may live in freedom. Not enough can be said about these men and women who so diligently served our nation.
Enjoy the day, but keep in mind those we are commemorating. They would appreciate the day set aside in their honor.