Summit County schools in full swing with first week of class
August 21, 2013
Beginning today the school year will officially be in full swing when pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students join the rest of the Summit School District for their first day of classes.
But for some students in the district, school activities started more than a week ago.
Amy Raymond, athletics and activities director for Summit High School, said she is looking forward to the fall season.
In addition to the always popular Friday-night football games, the season revolves around the 54 girls signed up for Summit High School's club rugby team, which has won the state title five years running and also is undefeated in Colorado during the same time period.
“We just finished the kickoff for the class of 2017. The enthusiasm of this class is just contagious.”
Summit High School principal
Of the more than 700 high school students, 229 are playing on at least one of six available athletic teams, but those numbers do not yet include the dozens more who will try out for nonathletic programs, such as the fall play, the band and choir and the speech and debate team.
"The number of kids we have participating this year is great and a lot of credit goes to our phenomenal coaching staff," Raymond said. "We get a lot of participation throughout the school year. It makes for exciting games. It's just awesome.
Looking at the 2013-2014 from a more cultural approach, Jim Smith, dean of students at Summit High School, said he, too, is excited about the start of the school year and is focused on continuing to create a positive, safe and respectful environment for students.
Last year Summit High School cut its number of state-reportable offenses by 25 percent. A state-reportable offense is anything for which a student can be suspended.
"We're excited because we know if a student walks into Summit High School and they feel safe, it's going to positively affect their education," Smith said. "Cutting state-reportable infractions by 25 percent means we have that much more classroom time with the student. We believe good behavior leads to better education."
Focusing on behavior is paying dividends if last week's release of district and state Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test scores are any indication.
Earlier this week Summit High School principal Drew Adkins said these were the best scores he's seen in his 18 years with the district.
Although he agrees with Smith that a radical change in school culture is responsible, he also credited the Summit County community for playing a pivotal role in student development.
Last year there were 100 pre-collegiate students in the seventh through 12th grades, Adkins said. The pre-collegiate program is designed to provide college scholarships to students who would be the first in their families seek a higher education.
Of the 100 total pre-collegiate students, 30 were seniors. All 30 graduated and each will attend college in the fall, Adkins said.
"More than $300,000 dollars in college scholarships were awarded to a class of less than 200 students," Smith added. "You can do the math and that's what this community does for us. … So many people are working toward making Summit County the best place for kids."
Although the first day of class and Friday-night football games are obvious highlights of the first part of the school year, Adkins said he has the most fun working with incoming freshmen.
"We just finished (Thursday) the kickoff for the class of 2017, teaching them the fight song and the culture of Summit High School," Adkins said. "The enthusiasm of this class is just contagious."
In addition to teaching the new class of freshman the fight song and the culture, students also began setting goal for graduation, Adkins said.
"It may seem like light years away for them, but we know it's right around the corner," he said. "It's pretty exciting to think about the things they are going to accomplish over the course of the next four years."