logo

 

Contact Information

Address:
403 Pitkin Street
P.O. Box 127
Saguache, CO 81149

Phone: 719-655-2578
Fax:  719-655-2875
Hours:  
M-Th 8:00am-4:00pm


Click here to email us.

MVS Weekly Video Newsletter

Booster Club

Principal's Corner Menu

Exceptional Services

Superintendents Corner Menu

Superintendents Corner

Superintendent News

 

Mountain Valley School District was recently awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new PreK-12 school. There have been a lot of great questions during this process, and I want to take some time to answer these frequently asked questions. My hope is that our residents will have all of the information they need to make the best decision possible for our students, families, and community.

WHAT IS THE BEST PROGRAM?

Building Excellent Schools Today legislation was passed in the spring of 2007 for the purpose of assisting school districts with low property values in upgrading facilities to a minimum standard of safety and functionality. Without this BEST funding, low property value school districts, like Mountain Valley School District, would never be able to build safe and modern school facilities for our students, families, and community.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROPOSED NEW SCHOOL COST?

The total cost of a new PreK-12 school facility presented in the Mountain Valley School BEST Grant proposal was just under $31 million dollars. Last May, Mountain Valley School District was awarded a $27 million BEST Grant. To receive this BEST Grant, it will be necessary for district residents to “match” about $3.7 million of this cost (about 12%) by approving a bond during the 2017 election. The State of Colorado will be providing 88% of the approved BEST project funding costs.

 

Architectural drawing of possible new school. The final design will be determined
by our school community.

 

WHAT WOULD IT COST TO SIMPLY RENOVATE OUR CURRENT FACILITIES AT MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT?

A 2009 facilities assessment by the Colorado Department of Education found almost $17 million worth of needed repairs at Mountain Valley School District. Since that time, conditions at the school have only deteriorated while costs have escalated. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, Mountain Valley School can never repair the existing problems without funding assistance. Due to the current condition of our facilities and cost to renovate, remodeling was never a feasible option. The Colorado Department of Education’s Capital Construction Board ranked Mountain Valley’s new school construction project as the highest need in the state of Colorado and awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new state-of-the-art school facility for our community.

WILL WE KEEP ANY OF THE BUILDINGS WE ALREADY HAVE?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan allows the Middle School building to be repurposed as a Transportation and Maintenance facility.

HOW DISRUPTIVE WILL THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS BE TO THE EDUCATION PROCESS?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan shows that the new school will be built and opened before vacating the old buildings.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO DO THIS NOW? ARE OUR CURRENT BUILDINGS NO LONGER SAFE?

During the 2017 BEST Grant application process, Mountain Valley School District was the top-ranked school in the state needing new educational facilities. Our buildings currently exhibit numerous safety, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofing issues, as well as other urgent needs. In addition, there is only a limited amount of BEST funding available for projects like the one Mountain Valley School District has been awarded. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity to provide a much-needed new PreK-12 facility for our students, families, and community. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, our district will never be able to improve our facilities situation and provide both today’s and tomorrow’s students with the safe and modern facilities they deserve. This $27 million BEST Grant funding opportunity may never be offered to Mountain Valley School again. Moffat, Creede, Sanford, South Conejos, Sargent, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Sangre De Cristo and Centennial schools have already built new and modern facilities with BEST funding.

 

Outdated plumbing and frequent sewer backups cause school cancellations.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN A HOUSE OR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

If your property’s assessed value is $25,000, your tax impact will be about $2.34 per month or $28.02 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $50,000, your tax impact will be about $4.67 per month or $56.04 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $75,000, your tax impact will be about $7.00 per month or $84.06 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $100,000, your tax impact will be about $9.34 per month or $112.08 per year.

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN COMMERCIAL OR AGRICULTURE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

For business and agricultural owners, the tax impact for every $100,000 of assessed commercial or agricultural property will be about $37.36 per month or $448.32 per year.

WHAT HAPPENS IF VOTERS DO NOT APPROVE THE 2017 BOND DURING THE NOVEMBER 7, 2017ELECTION?

If the November 2017 bond fails, the $27 million BEST Grant awarded to Mountain Valley School District reverts back to the State of Colorado to be distributed to another school district that is willing to meet its BEST Grant match requirement. The first district in line to receive this money if we fail to pass our 2017 Bond is Mancos School District, which has already been selected by the BEST Grant Board as an alternate project should any project ahead of them fail to provide their match this November. If the bond fails, Mountain Valley School District will not have the necessary funding to address current safety issues and failing systems. BEST Grant funding is dwindling, and there is no guarantee that state funding will ever be available again to help our school.

If you still have questions or need more information regarding the BEST Grant, please contact me at 719-655-0268. I would be happy to schedule a time to meet and tour our school. 

Have a fantastic week!

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 1


It is going to be another great year at Mountain Valley School, and I am excited to see students back in the building. I have truly missed all of the kids and the laughter and joy they bring. As we begin 2017-2018 school year, MVS will be focusing on three main goals: relationships, innovation and rejuvenation.

 I believe that relationships drive the culture of a school. Not just relationships with students, but relationships with parents, families and the community. It is also critical to foster quality relationships between staff members as we work towards continuous improvement. This year, we will continue to build positive relationships with each and every student, family and the greater community. My hope is that everyone can feel the welcoming atmosphere at Mountain Valley the minute you walk through our doors.

 Innovation is also a priority this year. Not just doing something new, but doing something new and better. Teachers and students will be encouraged to take educational risks, experiment, fail, learn and repeat the process. True learning takes place just outside of one's comfort zone. Individualized student capstone projects, technology integration, and staff-driven professional learning are some areas of innovation this year at Mountain Valley. Experts say that human knowledge is doubling every 13 months, and we can no longer afford to do what we have always done. Educational reformist John Dewey said it best when he stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow.”

 Transportation, technology and facilities are all focuses of rejuvenation this year. Our aging transportation fleet was in desperate need of attention, with most vehicles logging close to 200,000 or more miles. In order to provide safe transportation for our students and staff, Mountain Valley School recently purchased a route bus as well as two activity vehicles. Technology improvements at MVS include quality mesh WIFI throughout the entire school, which has completely solved our past connectivity problems. Additionally, teachers and students now have up-to-date Chromebooks and will be integrating technology throughout the curriculum.   

 As you have probably heard, Mountain Valley School District has received a twenty-seven million dollar BEST Grant to build a new school and athletic facilities for our students and community. This grant requires a twelve percent match, which will come from a  $3.7 million bond to be voted on in November 2017.

 I am excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our school while providing a modern and updated educational facility for our community. Our school is the heart of the community, with numerous events taking place at MVS throughout the year.  

 In a 2009 site assessment, it was estimated that Mountain Valley School had almost $17 million in needs with a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million. Since that time, our needs have only increased. We currently have countless plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, and security issues, with several components of our facilities well beyond their useful life. Without help from the BEST Grant, we will never be able to improve our situation or sustain our school district facilities in the future.

 We will be having a BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community informational meeting at Mountain Valley School on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 6:00 PM. During this meeting, we will celebrate our success in obtaining the BEST Grant, review the proposed plan for the new school, discuss the 2017 bond election, answer questions, and seek community input.

EVERYONE is invited! We welcome and need everyone's input!

 I hope to see you at our BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community meeting!

 Travis Garoutte

Superintendent

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 22


As you have probably heard, Mountain Valley School District has been recommended for a twenty-seven million dollar BEST Grant to build a new school and athletic facilities for our students and community. This grant requires a twelve percent match, which will come from a  $3.7 million bond to be voted on in November 2017.

 I am excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our school while providing a modern and updated educational facility for our community. Our school is the heart of the community, with numerous events taking place at MVS throughout the year.  

 In 2009, it was estimated that Mountain Valley School had almost $17 million in needs with a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million. Since that time, our needs have only increased. We currently have countless plumbing, HVAC, security and egress issues and several components of our facilities are well beyond their useful life. Without help from the BEST program, we will never be able to improve our situation or sustain our school district facilities in the future.

 We will be having a BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community informational meeting at Mountain Valley School on Thursday, June 22, 2017, at 6:00 PM. During this meeting, we will celebrate our success in obtaining the BEST Grant, review the proposed plan for the school, discuss the 2017 bond election, answer questions, and seek community input.

EVERYONE is invited! We welcome and need everyone's input!

I hope to see you at our BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community meeting!

 Travis Garoutte

Superintendent

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 21


I recently spent two days in Golden, Colorado as the Colorado Department of Education’s Capital Construction Assistance Board (CCAB) reviewed and recommended Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant applications. It was quite a process, with almost 50 grant applications from school districts around the state. Clearly, there are high needs, with so many schools experiencing failing and outdated facilities.

 Each school had two minutes to present their project to the CCAB, a very short amount of time to convince the board to recommend applications for BEST Grant funding. As I awaited our turn, over and over, I heard about the many needs of schools from around the state. When it was time to present Mountain Valley’s application and project, I focused our two minutes not only on the needs of our failing school, but on the needs of our students, families, and community. Mountain Valley School is the heart of our community, and we all know that a community loses its identity when it loses its school.         

 I am excited and proud to announce that the CCAB ranked Mountain Valley’s new school application, based on severity of needs, as the highest in the entire state. Mountain Valley was the top ranked application for a new school in Colorado. The CCAB will be recommending Mountain Valley’s new school project for a $27,072,252 BEST Grant. This twenty-seven million dollar grant will make a long lasting difference for our students, families, and our community.   

Moving forward, our school district voters will be asked to pass a bond in November 2017 for a 12% match of the BEST Grant award. For twelve cents on the dollar, we will have a new facility at Mountain Valley that is a safe and secure twenty-first century learning environment. Additionally, our new school will be high-performance and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified. A high-performance building is energy efficient, has low short-term and long-term life-cycle costs, is healthy for its occupants, and has a relatively low impact on the environment. High-performance buildings use key resources such as energy, water, materials and land much more efficiently than buildings simply built to code or through a standard design process.      

I want to thank the Mountain Valley community for their generous support of our school improvement efforts. I am so excited for the future of Mountain Valley School and its students!     

 Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 20


Spring is traditionally known as a symbol of growth and cultivation, a time of graduation and adventure for many students. While attending my daughter’s college graduation at the University of Northern Colorado this past weekend, I found myself reflecting on the circumstances surrounding my high school graduation.

 Somehow, I managed to graduate from high school with no plan in place to guide the choices that would pave the way during my life’s journey. To say the least, I was ill prepared for my future, unsure of where the road of life would take me. I hadn’t even taken the ACT or SAT college entrance exams. Clueless and unprepared, I began my life in the workforce, no longer a high school student with teachers to protect me and help in making good decisions.

 After spending a couple of months working in foodservice, I realized that I disliked my job and longed for an opportunity to have more enjoyable career choices. Plain and simple, I needed a change and my unhappiness spurred me into action. I contacted Adams State University (it was a college back then) and was told that I needed to take my college entrance exams before I would be allowed to attend. After much begging and pleading, I was allowed to enroll with a promise to take the entrance exams during that first semester. I kept my word, took the exams, and realized that I could be successful in college and accomplish anything I wanted, as long as I worked hard and approached life’s obstacles with a growth mindset.

 After a rough start out of the high school gates, everything worked out, and I have truly enjoyed my educational career. I have no regrets, only a vision for our students. My goal is to ensure that all future graduates of Mountain Valley School have a plan in place to help guide them as they make decisions about their lives after high school. I want to make sure that all students are prepared for a career and/or college success by the time they graduate from MVS.

 To meet this goal, Mountain Valley School is developing Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP) for all secondary students, beginning in sixth grade. Our Graduation Guidelines Committee has been working throughout the year to develop multiple and varied opportunities for students to demonstrate academic proficiencies and preparedness for postsecondary life. I am excited to announce that, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all secondary students will begin working on a capstone project of their choice.  Teachers will facilitate the projects and guide students through their chosen learning explorations. These daily classes will allow students to pursue their passions while developing both academic and career skills.

 Education should be personalized and tap into the hidden talents and passions of students, and Mountain Valley School is working hard to make this happen. In the end, I hope all students gain an appreciation and excitement for future possibilities as they begin life’s journey after high school.

 In closing, I would like to invite everyone to the 2017 Mountain Valley School Graduation on Saturday, May 20th, at 10:00 am. We will be introducing the “Future Graduates” from the classes of 2018-2031, recognizing the Honor Class of 1967, and celebrating the MVS graduates of the Class of 2017.

 I hope to see you there!      

      Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 19


As I reflect back on the past year at Mountain Valley School, I think about the decisions that went well, others that didn’t work out, and some that still need refinement and iteration. During my career as an educator, I have always taken risks and experimented with innovative ideas while moving towards improvement. I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot about what doesn’t work because I am not afraid to try new things. I approach each day with a growth mindset, an opportunity to learn and become a better husband, father, and school leader.   

 Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, has studied, researched and written extensively about the growth mindset. Dweck found that students’ mindsets, or how they perceived their own abilities, was a critical factor in motivation and achievement when faced with a new or difficult task. She also found that student mindsets could be changed from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, which had a significant impact on achievement.

 So what is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset? The belief that intelligence can be developed and increased is called a growth mindset. Conversely, a fixed mindset follows the belief that intelligence is fixed and cannot be improved. Dweck found that students who possessed a growth mindset outperformed those with fixed mindsets. Research has shown that, with classroom modeling and structure, students can “grow their brains” while increasing their intellectual abilities. A growth mindset can be fostered when the classroom culture values hard work, risk-taking, experimentation, and learning from failures. When students face difficult problems, instead of giving up, they should try new strategies and seek advice from others, keeping in mind that intelligence is developed through perseverance.   

 Parents can also foster a growth mindset for themselves and their children. When faced struggles, challenges, and setbacks during learning experiences, it is important to avoid false praise or negative comments. Instead, tenacity, alternate strategies, and learning from mistakes should be encouraged. Before you know it, learning will become more enjoyable as fixed mindsets are replaced with growth mindsets.

 Have a great week!

      Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 18


As Mountain Valley heads down the home stretch, with just under seven weeks of school left, we continue to improve and work towards school excellence. A big project this year has been the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant. If received, this grant will be the first step in providing a safe and updated school facility for our students, staff and community.  

 The BEST Grant project began with an analysis of our current facility, which showed that the dollar amount needed to repair, upgrade and update Mountain Valley School would be cost prohibitive when compared to building a new school. Structural, roofing, plumbing, heating, ventilation, electrical and safety issues were some of the notable concerns with our current facility.    

 Throughout the process, three community meetings were held to gather feedback and input regarding a new facility at Mountain Valley School. During those meetings, community members shared ideas, suggestions, questions and concerns. Collaboratively, a facilities master plan was developed to meet the needs of our students, staff and community.

 A BEST Grant application was submitted to the Capital Construction Assistance Board at the Colorado Department of Education and is currently under review. A new school at Mountain Valley, as included in the application, would cost around $30 million, which includes a small 11% match from the district. The 11% grant match is great news when compared to the state average BEST Grant match of 40%. Essentially, the district would only have to match eleven cents on the dollar.

 Upon final review of the BEST Grant, Mountain Valley School will present the new facilities proposal to the Capital Construction Assistance Board in May at Denver, Colorado. This is a time to tell our story and convince the board that our students, school and community are worth the investment towards a new school facility.

 I am both excited and optimistic about the future of Mountain Valley School District. We have great students, staff and community who deserve a safe and up-to-date school.

 Thank you for trusting me to help lead Mountain Valley towards a new and improved future.  

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 17

 

As an educational leader and lifelong learner, I am always working towards improving as the superintendent of Mountain Valley School District. Currently, I am reading a book called Kids Deserve It!: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by authors Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. During my reading, I often find myself thinking about Mountain Valley students and what they deserve. 

 Although these reflections often extend to staff, parents and community, here are some of my thoughts on what our kids deserve:  

 Mountain Valley students deserve a safe school where 21st-century learning can take place in an updated facility. We are educating the future leaders of our community and world. Students should have equal access to engaging educational environments where collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and creation are fostered through adequate learning spaces and technology. 

 Mountain Valley students deserve a thorough education that prepares them for their futures and allows them to successfully compete with students and graduates from other schools. Before technology, knowledge was power. Today, knowledge is everywhere and creation is power. We want our students to investigate problems, find solutions, create, innovate, connect globally and change the world.  

 Mountain Valley students deserve a school that is the focal point of the community, a place where people come together to celebrate, share and learn. The African proverb so accurately states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Together we can create educational synergy and accomplish much more than would ever be possible alone. When we come together to share our stories and experiences, we leave with a better understanding of the people in the world around us.  

 Mountain Valley students deserve a welcoming school culture that encourages risk-taking, experimentation, reflection, iteration and innovation. Failure is an important step in learning anything new. Often times, we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. Students should follow their educational passions and believe that the only true failure is the failure to learn from past mistakes.  

 In closing, I would like to hear what you think Mountain Valley students deserve. Stop by the school, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., connect with me on Twitter at @TravisDGaroutte, or leave a comment on my blog at superintendentscorner.com. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated!

       Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 16


When I started teaching almost 20 years ago, everything was new and my days were filled with excitement and discovery. I loved spending time with my students, especially the ornery ones, since I was quite a handful for my teachers when I was a kid. Little did I know that my frequent trips to the principal’s office, sitting on the “white bench” waiting for dreaded discipline, would give me valuable knowledge and insight into being a school leader.

As a school principal, I found myself spending more and more time on policy and procedures and less quality time with students. The time I did spend with kids usually included discipline, which was often not enjoyable for anyone involved. This was a big change, and I struggled with it at first. I missed working with students on a daily basis.

I am now a school superintendent, even further removed from students; however, I have managed to find ways to connect with kids throughout the day. One of my main focuses is on building relationships with students, staff, parents and community. Although I am no longer a classroom teacher, I look forward to daily personal interactions with Mountain Valley stakeholders at all levels.

With that said, I would like to invite everyone to the first “Community Coffee” gathering on Thursday, March 16th between 6:00-9:00 AM at the Mountain Valley School superintendent’s office. Join me bright and early any time during the three-hour window for some coffee and conversation. I would love to hear your stories, ideas, comments, questions or concerns. Later in the day, starting at 5:00 PM, Mountain Valley Student Council will be hosting a FREE Community Dinner with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Come on out and join in some fellowship and fun at Mountain Valley School!       

 In closing, I would like to send a shoutout and congratulations to Mrs. Jody Abeyta, the 2016-2017 Mountain Valley School District Teacher of the Year! Mrs. Abeyta is a compassionate and caring teacher who makes a difference in the lives of children every day! Nice work, Mrs. Abeyta! We are proud of you! 

 Have a fantastic week!

 Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Superintendent’s Corner
Number 15


Another week is in the books, and what did I learn? I learned that the power of a positive community is amazing. Mountain Valley School District recently had a community dinner and facilities improvement meeting to discuss the construction of a new school through the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant. Over fifty people attended, shared their ideas, and I left feeling a great sense of pride for our rural community in Saguache, Colorado.

American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Knowledge and information are increasing at unprecedented rates. The teacher is no longer “the sage on the stage.” As a result, education must change to keep pace, or traditional schools will become obsolete, like Blockbuster video rental stores of the past.

To meet the changing needs of students, Mountain Valley teachers are constantly innovating, creating new and improved classroom experiences for their students. These lessons are designed to engage twenty-first century learners whose futures will demand problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and technology skills. At Mountain Valley School, we are working hard to embrace change and make sure that our students are prepared for the future.

I realize that today, more than ever, kids need our support. Saguache County has the highest child poverty rate in the state of Colorado, yet the kids that walk into our schools are so resilient, leaving personal problems at the door and working hard to build new and better futures for themselves.

As a community, we must invest in the future, and today’s students are our future. They are the future leaders of the community, future scientists and future change agents. If you are not already doing so, I ask that you get involved in our community meetings and school activities. Make a positive difference in the lives of children. It is time to invest in our school, our students and our future. It all starts with you.

If not you, then who?
       
Travis Garoutte
Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Mountain Valley School 

Superintendent's Corner

Number 14

 

In my new role as superintendent and high school principal at Mountain Valley School District, especially during the first semester, I often found myself struggling to find time to complete multiple tasks. It seemed like I solved problems all day long, with everything being urgent and needing immediate attention. I quickly found that I was neglecting relationships with my family, my colleagues, and most importantly, myself.

 After reading and reflecting on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, I realized that I needed to make a change. Covey describes four quadrants. Quadrant I consists of urgent and important tasks like serious problems, major deadlines and crisis situations. Important but not urgent activities make up quadrant II, which include strategic planning, relationship building and proactive tasks. Quadrant three activities are urgent but not important and include disruptive tasks like interruptions, phone calls, meetings, emails and reports. Finally, unimportant and non urgent activities like trivia, busy work and time-wasters are included in quadrant IV.    

 I realized that I had been spending most of my time in quadrant III, distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks. I was caught up in interruptions, phone calls, meetings and emails. Of course, I was still managing the urgent and important matters in quadrant I,  meeting deadlines, dealing with crisis and solving pressing problems. However, it was clear that time spent on the important quality work of quadrant II needed improvement.

 As I reflected on quadrant II, which I had been neglecting, it was very powerful reviewing Stephen Covey's words "You manage things. You lead people." The philosophy that you can be efficient with things, but you must be effective with people also resonated with me. Building positive relationships is critical for effective school leaders. Relationships with students, parents, staff and the larger community should be a priority.

 Effective leaders spend a majority of their time focusing on the important work of quadrant II. They do not prioritize their schedules; they schedule their priorities, and building positive relationships should be a priority for all educational leaders.

 Moving forward, I will schedule my priorities, the important work of relationship building and strategic planning. I will not get bogged down by quadrant III activities. I will schedule time to reflect, plan and iterate. Most importantly, I will intentionally schedule time to visit with teachers and hang out with students. Relationships are my new priority.

 Another priority for Mountain Valley School is facilities improvement. As you have probably heard, Mountain Valley School District is pursuing a BEST grant for a new school or major renovation. Schools of yesterday are no longer suitable for today’s learners, where knowledge and information doubles in less than a year. Please be proactive and attend our community meetings, the latest of which is Wednesday, February 8th at 5 pm in the MVS music room. A FREE dinner will be provided. We are not only building a future-ready school, we are building the hub of the community, a place where people can gather to collaborate, communicate, and bond. Remember the African proverb, It takes a community to raise a child. Your voice matters. 

 I hope everyone has a fantastic week! 

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 13

 

As we work towards a new or renovated school at Mountain Valley, I often ponder the following questions: What does a school of the future look like? Can the schools of yesterday meet the needs of tomorrow’s students? A recent interview with Mark Wagner, CEO of EdTechTeam, helped me find answers to these questions. 

 With the invention of the internet came instant access to knowledge. Today, students can easily Google information. It is not enough to simply know. What you do with that knowledge, what you create and share while making the world a better place, is what is important. A school of the future must prepare students for a globally connected world. John Dewey, American philosopher and educational reformist, recognized the importance of a future ready school when he stated, “If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow.” 

 Today’s schools need courageous leadership, leaders who are supportive, globally connected and innovative. Courageous leaders encourage innovation and risk taking in others. They lead by example, set goals and grow school leaders at all levels. Whenever you visit a school, look around. Do you see courageous leaders?

 Teachers, many of whom are courageous leaders, should feel empowered. They need the time and tools to pursue their educational passions through professional development, global collaboration and peer observations. Teachers should be comfortable with risk taking and failure in their classrooms. Failure is an essential part of learning when combined with reflection and iteration. The classroom should be a safe and engaging place to explore, experiment and learn. Empowered teachers create this type of learning environment for their students. 

 Future ready schools need inspiring spaces, which include multiple class configurations made possible with flexible furniture. Today’s students learn best through varied groupings, collaboration and problem based learning. The days of students seated in straight rows with packets of worksheets are long gone. Students need healthy and interesting learning spaces that encourage curiosity, creation and the exploration of bigger ideas.  

 Engaged communities are also an essential part of modern schools. These communities understand the unlimited possibilities in schools today. Communities should also be actively involved in the future and vision of schools while staying connected through volunteering and business partnerships. Engaged communities, above all, have high expectations for their schools.

 Adequate technology is a critical component of twenty-first century schools. This technology, which includes internet, Wi-Fi and end user devices, should act like an accelerator while deepening student learning experiences. Technology helps globally connect students, who can then collaborate, create and share information at levels that were never possible in the past. 

 Student agency is the last critical element of a future ready school. Students should be inspired and empowered to learn, to find and solve problems that are relevant to their lives. If we can put students in the drivers’ seats, places where they feel safe exploring and taking risks, they will be intrinsically motivated to create, collaborate and share meaningful experiences with the world.    

 In closing, I would like to invite everyone out to our next Mountain Valley School facilities master planning community meeting on Wednesday, February 8th at 5:00 pm. Come on out to Mountain Valley and help us build our future ready school! 

 “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”-Malcolm X 

 Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 12

 

It is hard to believe that 2017 is already here! At Mountain Valley School District, we are working hard bring positive change into the new year, change that includes improved relationships, instruction, technology and facilities. These improvements are a team effort, and I would like to thank all Mountain Valley staff, students, parents and community members for their continued support and efforts as we strive to empower and prepare every student for lifelong academic success and personal growth.        

 Relationships are the key factor to a positive school culture and climate, making Mountain Valley a place where kids enjoy learning. The staff at MVS have been building positive relationships all school year through the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program. We are also continuing to build and maintain strong relationships with parents and members of the surrounding communities. I hope that everyone who visits Mountain Valley School leaves feeling listened to, valued and appreciated.

 Teachers continue to improve instruction through professional development, which includes the areas of relationship building, classroom management and technology. Additionally, many teachers are individualizing their professional learning through personal choice and exploring educational areas of their interest. Teachers are voluntarily observing other teachers and gaining valuable insights. The time spent improving professional practice is paying off in the classroom; teachers are creating exciting lessons and engaging students at all levels.

 Mountain Valley School has improved WiFi access across the district. Teachers and students are more globally connected than they have ever been. Computers, laptops, tablets and personal devices are being utilized as educational tools in the classroom. Many teachers are integrating Google Apps for Education and other cutting edge technology applications into their lessons. Technology Tuesday is a big hit, where teachers are eager to learn technology tips from other educators after school.

 School facilities improvement is a big item on the agenda this year. Mountain Valley School District is in the process of completing a Facilities Master Plan and Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant application. We are seeking staff, student, parent and community input regarding building a new school or renovating the current school. There will be a School Facility Improvement Community Dinner and Work Session on Thursday, January 12th at 5 PM in the Mountain Valley School gymnasium. It is important that everyone’s voices be heard as we move forward with facilities improvement at MVS. Please join us on Thursday for a FREE community dinner and then share your ideas, comments and questions.       

 The new year is off to a great start! I know that 2017 is going to be a great year for Mountain Valley School District!

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 10

 

Over this past weekend, the Mountain Valley School Board of Education and I attended the 2016 Colorado Association of School Boards Annual Convention in Colorado Springs. It was great to see so many people working together to improve education for students throughout Colorado. There were many highlights, including Author Steve Pemberton, who shared his inspiring story of survival as he struggled to overcome adversity. I have already purchased Steve’s  book, “A Chance in the World” and am looking forward to more inspiration as I turn the pages of this amazing personal narrative. Additionally, Futurist Thomas Frey gave us a glimpse into the future, which included driverless cars, 3-D printed buildings and technology beyond our wildest dreams. 

 I find it fascinating that, way back in the early 1900s, human knowledge was doubling every century and increased to doubling every 25 years after World War II. Currently, in 2016, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months! Today’s students need to understand and learn so much more than reading, writing and arithmetic. To be successful in our rapidly changing society, students must also be proficient in collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, critical thinking, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, global and cultural awareness, information literacy, and leadership. Times are changing at unprecedented rates. If educators fail to embrace change and meet the demands of exponential human knowledge growth, we will have students who are beautifully prepared for a world that no longer exists. 

 As part of the important work to meet the changing needs of students, Mountain Valley School District is in the beginning phase of completing a Facilities Master Plan. We are looking at the strengths and weaknesses of our current facilities while considering future student needs. During this collaborative effort, we are seeking input from all stakeholders, including staff, students, parents and community members. Please join us on Thursday, December 15th at 5:30 pm in the MVS gymnasium, where we will consider the future of Mountain Valley School District during a Facilities Master Planning community work session. We have important work ahead of us, and your ideas are a critical component.   

Have a fantastic week, and I hope to see everyone on Thursday during the work session! 

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 9

 

It is hard to believe that we have already completed one third of the school year, and what a great year it has been so far at Mountain Valley School! Our student count is up to the highest level it has been in several years. The entire staff is working hard to do what is best for kids. Teachers are embracing an innovator’s mindset, taking risks, and testing new ideas in their classrooms. Students are engaged in real-world lessons where they are encouraged to learn from their mistakes as they iterate and improve with a growth mindset. It’s an exciting time at Mountain Valley School District, and I am proud to be part of such a great team.  

 As we move forward on this journey of positive change at MVS, I am excited to announce that Mountain Valley School District will be completing a facilities master plan. The master plan will be produced through a team effort involving school administration, staff, students, community members and professional consultants. This plan will include a thorough assessment of the school district, including facilities condition, educational suitability, energy performance, historical significance and utilization. Operational costs, along with performance, geographic and demographic data will also be considered. Once this phase of the assessment work is completed, there will be a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the results, which should identify strengths, weakness and deficiencies at Mountain Valley School District.

 After the facilities master plan is completed and deficiencies are identified, MVSD will be  pursuing a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant to improve our school. BEST was established in 2008 and provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts. These funds can be utilized for the construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures. I am excited to see the results of the facilities master plan and how the BEST grant can benefit our students, staff and community. 

 "Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late."-Seth Godin. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”-Dan Millman. I read these two quotes during my professional learning this week, and they seemed especially relevant to me as I help lead Mountain Valley School District into the future.

  

Have a great week! 

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 8

Each day I strive to improve as a husband, father, educator and leader. The tasks at hand can be exhausting. Some days I feel like a great superintendent, yet only a  mediocre husband. Other days I am proud of my work as high school principal, but embarrassed at the lack of attention to my personal life. On rare occasions, I get it right and find the delicate balance between my personal and professional lives.

In today’s fast paced society, how do we find that balance, make a positive impact, and achieve that feeling of success at the end of the day? I recently read an article by Elle Kaplan, who discussed the 8 Harsh Truths That Will Immediately Make You More Successful. Here is my interpretation of these truths, which I feel can have a huge impact on students, teachers, staff, parents and community.

  1. Negative thinking leads to negative outcomes. Negative thoughts narrow mental focus and impair our ability think, react and problem solve. A positive attitude changes everything. Throw out those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Your perspective will change and problems can be tackled with a fresh lens. A positive attitude will not only improve your life, but the lives of those around you.

  

  1. Surround yourself with people who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself. Negative attitudes are toxic and contagious. Never let a negative person bring you down. Say goodbye to toxic people and seek out those who inspire and encourage you.
  1. Success isn’t easy. It takes courage and hard work. Don’t be afraid to try something new and fail. One of my favorite quotes hits the nail on the head, “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough!” Embrace change, be willing to take risks and learn from mistakes. 
  1. Determine your own self-worth and sense of accomplishment. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Self-worth should come from within, as Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Disney wrote, "Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live."
  2. No one is perfect. Holding yourself to a perfect standard is unrealistic and unhealthy. Treat each failure as a learning opportunity that gets you closer to perfection.
  1. Few people are successful on the first try. Success is cultivated through multiple attempts and failures. Michael Jordan said it best when he stated, “I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” 
  1. Be your own greatest fan and cheerleader. Create your path to success and enjoy the journey. Believe in yourself and do what it takes to reach your goals.
  1. Be fearless. As Mark Twain is often credited with writing, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Make today great and have a successful week! 

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 


October 31st 2016

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 7

When I think back on my personal educational experiences, I remember a teacher centered environment, with the teacher doing most of the talking and occasionally cold-calling on students for answers. I would try to avoid making eye contact with my teachers in hopes that they would not call on me when I did not know the answers, which was more often than not. Our desks were in neat rows. Students were given worksheets and packets, and rote memorization was the norm. It seems as though most of my teachers taught to the middle of the class with little or no differentiation when it came to student needs and various levels of skill and understanding in the classroom. Oftentimes, our background knowledge and experiences were not considered. We were all empty sponges, blank slates, waiting to absorb and have the vast knowledge of our teachers written upon us.

Today’s educators, like those in the past, often struggle to meet the varied and wide range of student needs in the classroom. How do you engage every student at their level of proficiency while challenging them to explore and grow as twenty-first century learners? I do not have the silver bullet answer for this question, but I do know that, as American philosopher and educator John Dewey stated over 70 years ago, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” 

We can no longer teach the way we were taught. Our students’ futures are too valuable. At Mountain Valley School, we are working hard to build a culture of innovation and iteration for our students, a safe learning environment where mistakes provide excellent learning opportunities to improve and build upon student-generated ideas and questions. We are striving to incorporate student interest, technology and experimentation into our current educational philosophy. The world around us is changing at an unprecedented rate. We are educating students for jobs that do not even exist. At Mountain Valley School, we are working hard to embrace change so that we can empower and prepare every student for lifelong academic success and personal growth.

With that said, I want to take a moment to thank Mountain Valley staff, teachers and parents who are going above and beyond to ensure student success. I was so proud of the attendance at our fall Parent/Teacher conferences. Families and teachers throughout the school were engaging in crucial conversations regarding student expectations and achievement. Thank you to Science Club and Future Business Leaders of America for hosting and serving awesome dinners both evenings.   

I would also like to announce the winners of the Amazon Fire Tablets, which can be utilized as an educational tool both at school and home. Marian Glenn was the winner in the high school.  Christopher Wallace took home the prize for the middle school, and Blake Strauss won the tablet for the elementary school. Congratulations and thanks to everyone for their Parent/Teacher conference participation!   

Finally, I would like to congratulate Mrs. Garcia and her art students on the fantastic Los Dias de los Muertos art exhibition on Friday, October 28th. It was truly an amazing display of art and culture. The Range, at 307 4th Street in downtown Saguache, hosted the event. If you did not get a chance to view the displays during opening night, it’s not too late. Stop by The Range this week and check out the great artwork of our Mountain Valley students.      

Have a great week!

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 6

I recently had a great learning opportunity while attending the 2016 Colorado Safe Schools Summit on October 12th & 13th in Thornton, Colorado.  I took part in the following informative plenary sessions: Empowering Teens to Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral, Unleashing the Power of Prevention to Promote School Safety and Positive Youth, Mitigating Risk and Improving Protection: A Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention in Colorado Schools, The Impact of Marijuana Legalization, Safe2Tell and Essential Elements of Effective Behavioral Threat Management Programs. Additionally, I attended four engaging breakout sessions, which included Emergency Operations Planning, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Truancy Panel, Understanding the BEST Grant Funding and From Urban to Rural Schools: Conducting Crisis Drills.

I realize that, as a school and community, we have urgent and important work ahead in ensuring student safety, both inside and outside of the school setting. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and I am looking forward to forming partnerships with our many community stakeholders while utilizing all available resources to build the safest school and community possible. Our children are the leaders of tomorrow; now is the time to invest in the future of Mountain Valley School and the greater Saguache community. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children!  

I would like to invite all parents and students to our fall Parent-Teacher Conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 25th and 26th from 4-7 pm. Come and see all of the great things your child is doing at Mountain Valley School. Dinner can be purchased both nights for a small fee from student organizations. The MVS Science Club will be hosting the dinner on Tuesday and Future Business Leaders of America on Wednesday. Additionally, we will be giving away three Amazon Fire Tablets to conference attendees. Visit all of your child’s teachers to increase your odds of winning the Amazon Fire personal device, which makes a great educational tool, both at school and home. Please remember, there will be no school on Thursday, October 27th due to a conference compensation day.     

I am excited to announce the Los Dias de los Muertos Art Exhibition, which will showcase artwork from MVS students. The art exhibition will be hosted by The Range Art Gallery at 307 4th Street in Saguache, Colorado. Viewing will take place on Friday, October 28th from 6-8 pm. Come on out and see the great work Mrs. Garcia and her students are doing in art class. It is sure to be a visual treat! 

Go out and make today great!   

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 October 3rd 2016

 

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 5

The first Mountain Valley School National Parks Club trip was a huge success. Sponsors Amy Garoutte and Yvonne Morfitt traveled to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah over the past weekend with seven students. The group studied geology of the area, hiked up to Delicate Arch, explored the park and camped out during this four-day trip. Everyone had a blast, and they are already planning their next National Park camping adventure, which will take place in the spring of 2017. Keep your eye out for the Arches National Park special edition video newsletter on the MVS-PEAK Facebook website!    

There will be another FREE Community Dinner on Thursday, October 6th at 5 pm. As always, a delicious meal will be provided, as well as various community and parent engagement activities hosted by MVS staff. Come on out to Mountain Valley School on Thursday and enjoy a great meal and interact with staff!

Fall sports are in the home stretch with only a couple of weeks left in the regular season. Cross country will be running in Del Norte this week. High school volleyball, middle school football and high school football will travel to Primero to take on the Bulldogs, with games at 4 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm, respectively.  Middle School volleyball will begin their end-of-season tournament this week. Dates, times and locations to be announced. Good luck ladies!   

The Alferd Packer Festival will take place Saturday, October 8th in Saguache, Colorado. As part of the festivities, the MVS Student Council will be hosting the fourth annual Zombie Run beginning at 9 am. The $20 entry fee, which allows you to run or participate as a zombie, goes to support MVS Student Council activities. Please join us in this ghoulish race for a good cause.

I hope to see everyone out and about at the many activities taking place this week.    

Travis Garoutte

Superintendent/High School Principal

 

September 19th 2016

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 4

The 2016-2017 school year is off to a great start, and I would like to acknowledge the latest Mountain Valley staff members who have been recognized by their peers with our traveling staff awards. Middle school science and math teacher James Chiang was given the the Creativity Award. James is always developing unique, hands-on lessons to inspire and engage his students. Hunter Good, our special education Boettcher Teacher Resident, received the I Love Kids Award. Hunter’s caring and compassionate demeanor has been an awesome addition to Mountain Valley School. The Above and Beyond Award was given to high school business teacher Kait Hazard. Kate has a great work ethic, which shows in her performance as a teacher, coach and active community member. Last, but not least, custodian Lucille Gomez was recognized with the Attitude Award. Lucille works hard to keep our school looking good, and she does it with a smile and great attitude. Congratulations, staff! 

It’s homecoming week at Mountain Valley School! Here is a list of scheduled games and activities: middle school volleyball will host the Sierra Grande Panthers on Thursday, September 22nd at 4:30 pm. School will be in session on Friday to prepare for the homecoming weekend. This is a scheduled school day, with transportation and meals provided for all students. The cross country team will be competing in the Lake City Invitational Friday morning.  Also on Friday, the high school volleyball team will host the Centennial Rams at 4 pm. The Snake Dance begins at 7:45 pm on Friday, with students meeting at the First Southwest Bank in Saguache and snaking their way to the Bonfire, which will begin at 8 pm at the baseball field. Saturday’s festivities begin with the Homecoming Parade at 9 am. High school volleyball action starts at 11 am against the Manzanola Wildcats, with high school football challenging the Wildcats at 1 pm. Saturday’s activities will conclude with the Homecoming Dance from 8-11 pm at MVS.  

I am excited to announce that our Social Media Enrichment Class is producing a weekly Mountain Valley School Video Newsletter!  Check out the Mountain Valley School webpage at mountainvalleyschool.org for the latest edition of our video newsletter.  

Remember, Mountain Valley School will be in session of Friday, September, 23rd.  

I would like to invite all community members and MVS alumni to come on out to Mountain Valley School this weekend and help us celebrate homecoming. I hope to see you there! It is going to be great!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent/High School Principal

 

September 6th 2016

 

Mountain Valley School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Number 3

 

As I mature as an educator and school leader, I learn something new every day.  Over the summer, at a Capturing Kids’ Hearts training, I learned that everyone has a story worth hearing if you take the time to listen. I realized that I had been listening at a more superficial level, not taking the time to genuinely get to know people and the great stories they hold inside of themselves. Everyone has a treasure of knowledge and life experiences just waiting to be tapped so that a great story can flow out.   

It is my hope that Mountain Valley School is a place where people feel comfortable sharing their stories. Additionally, I hope that our school is the inspiration behind motivating stories that last a lifetime, if not generations, and are shared throughout the community.  

How can I, MVSD superintendent, help create the conditions for great experiences and stories to be told by students, staff, parents and the community? I have set some goals for myself, goals which will hopefully stimulate positive educational and personal experiences that will be shared over and over as people take the time to listen to each other’s stories.  

I will work hard to build positive relationships each and every day, not only with students, but with staff, parents and everyone I encounter.

I will listen, listen, listen. I will focus on talking less and listening more.

I will promote creativity, innovation and risk taking, while celebrating successes and forgiving when mistakes are made.

I will encourage and model positivity, gratitude and curiosity.

I will hold everyone, including myself, accountable to reasonably high standards.

Finally and most importantly, I will never waiver or lose focus on the needs of students at Mountain Valley School.

What stories do I hope students, staff, parents and the community tell about their experiences at Mountain Valley School? I hope that everyone leaves OUR school each and every day with stories that include compassion, hope, creativity, and most importantly, a love for learning.

August 22nd, 2016

 

Mountain Valley School District
Superintendent’s Corner
Number 2

School is officially back in session at Mountain Valley, and I am so excited to be working with staff and students on a daily basis as we begin another great year full of learning adventures.  We have made some great changes at MVS, and it is going to be a year to remember.
I would like to take a moment and welcome Lucille Gomez to our Mountain Valley family.  Lucille is our latest employee, a custodian at MVS, who brings an amazing work ethic combined with a caring and friendly personality.  It is great to have Lucille onboard, and I am looking forward to all of the positive relationships she will build with staff and students.  Welcome to the team, Lucille!  
We started last week with four days of professional development for school staff.  A New Staff Orientation was held for all new MVS staff members.  This included introduction to various policies, activities and programs at our school.  Additionally, we toured the district in a school bus and collaborated during lunch at the Oasis.  
Four of our five AmeriCorps members joined us for the orientation and participated in beginning-of-year activities.  This year’s crew is awesome and includes Troy Mucchetti, Stephanie Vineyard, Kari Vanderburg, Jena Steinbach and one more soon-to-be-announced member.  These new AmeriCorps members will be great role models, mentors and teachers for our students.  If you see them around town, please be sure to welcome them to Saguache!  
A Substitute Orientation was held for all substitutes, where handbook guidelines, expectations and Standard Response Protocol (SRP) were addressed.  We are always looking for good substitute teachers at MVS.  If you are interested in working at Mountain Valley as a substitute teacher, please stop by the school and visit with me.  
Our All-staff In-service was a huge success.  We started off with some fun team building activities combined with storytelling.  We discovered that everyone has a story worth listening to.  Next, we moved on to Capturing Kids’ Hearts, Google Apps for Education, Colorado State Model Evaluation System, Relationship Driven Classroom Management and SRP.  The week flew by, and the excitement in the air was palpable as staff eagerly prepared for students.  I am so, so proud of the staff at Mountain Valley School District and the way they care about kids!
It is going to be a great year at Mountain Valley School.  I hope to see everyone out and about at MVS games, activities and events.
Have a fantastic week!
Travis Garoutte
Superintendent/High School Principal  

 

August 8th, 2016

 

Mountain Valley School District
Superintendent’s Corner
Number 1

The summer is winding down, and I am excited to get the 2016-2017 school year started!  Everyone has been working hard to ensure a great school year for all Mountain Valley students.  I am proud to work with such a dedicated and caring staff at MVS!
Our interview committee has also been busy all summer long, ensuring that vacant positions are filled with qualified people who care about kids.  I am pleased to announce the latest members of the Mountain Valley School team:
Kait Hazard, a Saguache native who just completed her business degree, will be teaching Business, Careers and Technology to middle and high school students.  Kait will also be working with the middle and high school football teams as assistant coach.    
Martin McKee was hired as elementary and middle school Music teacher, as well as Special Education paraprofessional.  His eclectic background in various subjects will add so much to his instruction as he works with students on a daily basis.
Saguache’s own, Shawn Vigil, will be bringing his expertise in science and math to the table as he works with a broad range of students in the Special Education department.  Shawn’s biochemistry degree will prove invaluable as he guides students through their lessons in his role as paraprofessional.
Hunter Good, one of our favorite AmeriCorps members from last year, has decided to make teaching a career!  Hunter will be working with the Special Education department as he pursues his Master’s in Education through the Boettcher Teacher Residency Program.
Lacy Reed will be joining our preschool program as Co-director.  Lacy’s experience in early childhood development will be a valuable asset as she works with the little ones at Mountain Valley Preschool.  Look for some positive changes this year with our preschool.
Renee Hazard, our new District Secretary, has already made an amazing difference in the district office.  Renee brings years of experience to the position, and I am thankful to have such a strong member on the administrative team.  
School Secretary, Patty Williams, has been busy getting the school office ready for students.  Patty brings over seventeen years of experience as an office manager and will be great at making everyone feel welcome at Mountain Valley School the moment they walk through the door.  
School finance expert, Rebecca Quintana, will be our new Co-finance Director.  Rebecca has over fifteen years of experience in all aspects of school finance.  Rebecca’s passion is building financially sound school budgets.  
Lisa DuPont will also be a Co-Finance Director for Mountain Valley School District.  Lisa is a Certified Public Accountant with a school finance auditing background.  Lisa’s experience will prove invaluable as we move forward in developing our strategic plan for the district.   
Please help me welcome Kait, Martin, Shawn, Hunter, Lacy, Renee, Patty, Rebecca and Lisa to the Mountain Valley School Community!
In addition to new staff at MVS, we also have some people in different roles this year.  I have switched from PreK-12 Principal to Superintendent/High School Principal.  I am looking forward to guiding Mountain Valley School District towards a positive future and feel truly blessed to be working with such great people.
Thirty-year veteran, Kathy Hill, will be our new PreK-8 Principal.  Kathy has been busy all summer ensuring a smooth start to the new school year.  During her career, Kathy has worked at all levels in the elementary and middle schools.  She is a master teacher and will be an amazing instructional coach, leader and principal.
Beth Shimamoto has moved from first/second grade to fifth grade.  In addition to teaching English Language Arts/Literacy, Beth will also teach Math to all third through fifth grade students.  This will be a great fit for Beth and her skillset.  
Amy Coleman will be back in the classroom this year as our Second Grade Teacher.  Amy was an interventionist last year, and she is excited to be working with second graders in her self-contained classroom again.
Peggy Williams, who was a Preschool Teacher, will be one of the new Preschool Co-directors.  Peggy’s enthusiasm and experience will be a perfect fit as she takes on this new role.  It is going to be an amazing year in preschool!
Due to small class sizes, Eileen Wilfong will teach Kindergarten and First Grade this year.  Eileen taught kindergarten last year.  She has been working hard all summer to ensure student success in her new role at Mountain Valley School.
We will no longer have a combined fourth/fifth grade classroom.  Amber Johnson will be teaching the Fourth Grade this year.  She will also teach Social Studies to all third through fifth graders in our departmentalized model for intermediate students.  
As you can see, we have quite a few changes at Mountain Valley School this year.  Change is good, especially when it is in the best interest of kids.  I am confident that these positive changes will help empower and prepare every student for lifelong academic success and personal growth!  
In closing, I would like to invite everyone out to the Mountain Valley School Open House on Monday, August 22nd from 8 am to 4 pm.  During this first day of school, students and parents are encouraged to come in and meet teachers and staff.  We will also be having a Back-to-school BBQ, beginning at 11 am.  It is going to be a great day!  I hope to see you there!     
Travis Garoutte
Superintendent/High School Principal