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Mancos’ Boyle Park water festival set for April

Also: Project-based learning planning is underway
A draft version of the “Portrait of a Graduate” project for Mancos schools, designed to help guide project-based learning efforts.

Mancos students are giving Boyle Park a splash next month.

In partnership with the Mobile Earth and Space Observatory, Mancos School District Re-6 will host a “Water Science and Recreation Festival” April 18. A variety of local water-related agencies will set up booths and lead activities.

It’s part of the district’s project-based learning initiatives and will mark the culmination of a weeklong water education program led by the “Cool Science” organization at Mancos schools.

“Our event will take attendees on a journey through Boyle Park that will feature a diverse array of water stakeholders (conservation/recreation/farming and ranch) in our region,” said district PBL coordinator Ed Whritner. “Attendees will ‘take out’ at stations along the way to learn and engage in activities regarding water use in the region.”

Right now, the participating organizations and activities include the Mancos Conservation District, which will provide some water quality activities; Colorado State Parks, a patrol boat and invasive species information; Alpacka Raft, some pack raft demonstrations; Four Corners Guides, a bicycle obstacle course; Mountain Studies Institute, some aquatic insect activities and fly-fishing demonstrations; and MESO, some telescopes and augmented reality activities.

The event will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 18 at Boyle Park.

More PBL updates

Staff have recently come up with a three-year plan for PBL implementation, along with a draft version of the “Portrait of a Graduate,” a description and representation of the qualities a Mancos student should have upon graduating.

“The intention of that was to create our north star for strategic planning across the district for project-based learning,” Whritner said at the last board meeting in February.

In regards to the timeline, this school year, all instructional staff attended the “PBL 101” training led by the Buck Institute for Education, and all teachers are expected to experiment with one PBL unit or project throughout the fall semester. This spring, teachers are being asked to experiment with daily teaching protocols “in an effort to master two to three that suit their teaching style/content best,” according to the plan.

Next year, educators will be expected to participate in an open house and one class exhibition, along with attending a “PBL 201” training through the Buck Institute and incorporating several “discussion protocols” in lessons every day, with learning targets and lesson goals explicitly used.

By the third year of the plan, the 2021-22 school year, classes are expected to complete one comprehensive project every semester along with the open house and class exhibition requirement. Students should be explicitly involved in designing the projects, and there should be routine standards-based grading daily along with the discussion protocols and learning targets in use.

After months of revisions and staff discussions, Whritner also presented the board with a draft of the “Portrait of a Graduate” project at the February meeting. The project is meant to help guide the district’s PBL initiatives, focusing on more intangible 21st century learning like critical thinking and problem solving.

The draft version of the “Portrait of a Graduate” is depicted in pyramid forum, with new skills and qualities tacked on as students grow older. Ultimately, staff hope graduates will have integrity, a growth mentality, practical skills and be problem solvers and team players.

Mancos art students have been working on a visual or graphic design for the “Portrait of a Graduate” project, a draft of which is set to be presented at an upcoming board meeting, according to Whritner.