Posted by Jim Garrett
Brooks began the presentation by summarizing the District’s “process around” its conclusion school facilities are in urgent need of an upgrade.  He reported that the District had hired an architectural consultant in October 2016 to survey its facilities in light of its expected growth and demographics.  The following spring, Lindner said, the District formed a Planning Assistance Team including representatives from the community, teachers, and School Board members to help in planning and in community outreach necessary to develop support. 
Last December, he added, the District decided to seek a Best Grant, a Colorado program providing school districts funds to undertake capital projects.  The grant application was prepared by the consultant and recently approved by the Board, he said.  So the process of seeking to accomplish the desired upgrade is well in motions, but far from complete.
Superintendent Reed then took the podium to discuss the School District’s programs.  Currently, the schools serve a growing student population, she said, with current enrollment being the highest in 10 years.  She said that 92% of high school students graduate within 4 years, and 42%  go on to college.
On the negative side, Linda reported that state school funding (which is especially important because of restrictions imposed by state law on local funding) is in a “downward spiral.’  That makes grants hugely important, but she reported that the District has achieved notable success with its grant applications, citing as an example that all district students now have access to counselors, many available through the support of grant funding.
Ms. Reed also discussed programs adopted in cooperation with Pueblo Community College (an institution granted jurisdiction in Archuleta County pursuant to state law, which she acknowledged has historically been little involved in our community but has, she said, recently increased its presence) to enable high school students to participate in “concurrent enrollment” classes that yield college credit.  She said this could yield important cost savings to students in attaining a college education.
In response to a later question, Linda commented that the proposal to establish a local community college  would need to win Pueblo CC’s agreement to yield its local jurisdictional status, and also to receive approval by voters of a 3 mil levy override to support the project.
Ms Reed also described two of the District’s current teaching initiatives: first, to increase “personalized learning” to increase focus on the needs of individual students, and second, to increase vocational and practical educational opportunities for interested students, citing a class currently being instructed by local contractor Tor Hessman.  She reported also that Town Council recently approved an expenditure of $10,000 for scholarship funds specifically to be available for students having mid-level grades but wishing to receive advanced education in areas of particular interest.
In addition, she described offerings of the Pagosa Family School hosted by the District.  This initiative provides the opportunity for electives for home-schooled students, including Spanish, chorus, drum line and art.
In response to another question triggered by difficulties experienced in schools in Dulce, NM, Linda reported that the Archuleta School District accepts out of state “cross-over” students on a fee basis, stating that there are currently approximately 100 such students in the District.  District busses pick the students up at the state line.  Cross-over parents are highly grateful for the opportunity to send their children here to school, she said.