Mount Garfield opens school for extra hours

Mount Garfield Middle School is open an additional 15 hours a week to give students extra opportunities to receive tutoring or join a number of clubs.

The added hours, from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, are paid for by a Twenty-first Century Community Grant from the state. The grant is renewable for up to five years and offers Mount Garfield $150,000 in funding this year. The amount decreases by a small amount each year.

The middle school applied for the grant with Rocky Mountain and Clifton elementary schools as partners, and each school receives an equal monetary award. While the elementary schools have used the grant for a targeted population of students who usually attend after-school interventions on a regular basis, Mount Garfield’s after-school programming is open to any student, and students are free to participate as little or as much as they want.

The goal of the programs is to engage parents and students in school and hopefully help students who struggle with school to reach proficiency on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests. The state will begin tracking CSAP scores this spring for students who participate in Mount Garfield’s after-school programs for at least 30 days this school year.

Mount Garfield Principal Terrie Requa said 409 of the 625 or so students at the school have participated in after-school tutoring, open library sessions, reading and math groups or skill-building groups such as art club, outdoor club and cooking club.

“We didn’t know when we wrote the grant if the kids would come, and they are,” Requa said.

Parents can join their children during any of the activities, and they are invited to special sessions, which in the past have included a night when math teachers explained a new math curriculum to parents and students and a night when counselors spoke to families about handling grief.

Mount Garfield resource teacher Rod Karp supervises the programs and said he sees about 40 kids each afternoon. Fewer come on Saturdays, but those who do show up “get a lot done.”

Not many parents have accepted the offer to join their students during tutoring or open library time, but Karp said he still appreciates getting to talk to parents when they come to pick up their children. “It gives me a chance to talk to a lot of parents about what (students) accomplished that night,” Karp said. “I think it does improve the parent push aspect of a kids’ education.”

Karp said he would like to expand the program in the future to include more programs for English Language Learners. and include sessions in which parents could learn job-friendly computer skills from technology staff at the school.


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