The Gore Range Natural Science School’s after-school program, Girls In Science, has expanded from one to five Vail Valley Schools. The program was launched at Avon Elementary School in 2007 and then added at Brush Creek Elementary last year. This year, the program is being offered at Avon, June Creek, Brush Creek, Edwards, and Gypsum elementary schools with spaces for 25 students per class. “Girls are truly engaged with this program,” said Markian Feduschak, executive director of the Avon-based Science School, “Educators and administrators value the program’s unique ability to advance literacy, develop lasting role models that inspire careers in science, and build confidence in the classroom.”
Lara Carlson, who teaches the program in Avon, and Natalia Hanks, director of Development at the Science School, started the program. In its first year, Girls In Science was taught by Carlson, fellow Science School colleague Erin-Rose Schneider and Vail Mountain School sophomore Holly Domke. Twenty third through fifth grade girls took the class. On the first day of the program, girls examine their perceptions of who a scientist is. Over the course of the year, lessons are drawn from the natural sciences, engineering, architecture and forensics. Girls build skyscrapers out of paper, mimic tsunami formations with slinky toys and practice the scientific method by determining how many drops of water can fit on the surface of a penny.
The increase will amount to about 10 percent across the board for residential and commercial customers for all meter sizes. For most residential customers, this will translate to an extra $3 per month on their bills since most customers stay below the 3,000-gallon minimum each month. For the customers who use more than the monthly minimum of 3,000 gallons, there will also be an increase of 30 cents per thousand gallons above the minimum. Even with the increase, the average monthly water charge for Parkville residential customers will still be substantially less than the Colorado statewide average water charge of $37.20 per month, Teter said. Being too far below the state average for water rates has had a negative effect on recent grant applications for Parkville. Both state and federal grant agencies are reluctant to award grant money to districts with rates that are too low to sufficiently cover operating and capital costs.
With Parkville’s line-replacement program, water loss and waste in the system have been reduced substantially. Total water through the system is half what it was ten years ago even though with more customers. Less water loss means less pumping costs, a major cost component of Parkville’s operation. Several large capital projects are carried over from year to year for lack of funding, in the hopes that increased revenue and reduced expenses will eventually allow Parkville to add more money to additional capital improvements.