School Profile: Mornings rule the day at Bookcliff Middle School

By: Cecile Juliette Email
By: Cecile Juliette Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - 580 students can call themselves a Bookcliff Mustang. The school is located in the east end of town, off of North Avenue. The school teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

Principal Cathy Drake has been at the helm of Bookcliff for about two years. Before that, she worked for a school district in Colorado Springs. When she arrived at Bookcliff, she began incorporating daily morning meetings in every class, every day.

Drake says, "Everybody gets a greeting. It's a great way to start the day with somebody saying good morning, hello, how are you."

A group of about 20 students in each classroom stands in a circle, and each student announces their name, then walks around the circle offering a high five to each of their classmates.

"It's very much built about becoming a caring community. If you know the people you're with, you're more likely to take care of them, be compassionate with them. And it also gets every child to know the place where they spend their day. That's very important to all of us I think. Is to have somebody greet you, it acknowledges that you're here."

8th Grader Bea Torres says the meetings are a great way to get to know her fellow classmates. She says, "I think it's great because you learn about your classmates, different stuff, even stuff about your teacher."

Principal Drake also wants everyone to achieve their personal best. Each student has received a daily planner that they've been required to bring to each class, every day. They write down their personal goals in the planner, and then refer to it each day.

8th grader Seth Krebill says he set his own personal goal to help him concentrate on tests. He says, "It's a good thing to strive for. Everyone needs to try their best on the big tests. Talking about personal best helps me set my own goals. Staying focused on one test, trying not to think of other things, because usually I can space out."

Once students reach their personal goals, they are rewarded with a celebration at school.

Bookcliff is the only middle school in the district that teaches Dual Immersion classes. That means students can attend two classes entirely in Spanish. Principal Drake says this year has produced the first batch of 8th graders who have completed the entire District 51 Dual Immersion program, K-8, and they are all bilingual.

In the last 3 years, the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have improved their general rank on the C-SAP. In 2008, 61 percent of students scored at proficient or above when compared to the rest of Colorado. In 2009, that number grew to 62 percent. And in 2010, 73 percent of students tested proficient or above the state level.


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  • by Anonymous on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:39 PM
    stopbeingignorant..you say we reading, writing, math, for industry workers...well if kids today really are learning those three subjects I for one would be grateful..most of the kids that graduate today are not at that. & I appreciate any one who is willing to teach..but the bi-lingual skills should be offered to kids that are on or above their grade level..why take precious time away from real skills they will need in life as reading, writing, math..& I don't think this is being ignorant it is common sense & yes there are alot of parents who need classes also, I know people can interact & chum up on computers with optional languages, but our kids need a reality check you need to know math etc. remember computers just might go down some day..I love to read!
  • by E on Feb 4, 2011 at 09:55 AM
    Wow! There are some angry, ignorant people out there! FYI, the bilingual is not the same thing as English as a 2nd Language. All sorts of people chose to have their students in a bilingual program, not just hispanic. THey start at kindergarten level and move through the grades, and actually, their test scores have shown to be pretty high. Learning another language is a good way to increase brain power. Before spouting hateful things about schools and unpapered individuals, etc, maybe you should know what you are talking about!
  • by Stopbeingignorant Location: GJ on Feb 4, 2011 at 07:35 AM
    I think it would be hilarious to see some of the bigots and ignorant chumps out there TRY to step into the classroom and teach. We are not talking about people that are trying to mess up our future, but rather highly trained individuals that are busting their buns to try to keep up with the rediculous mandates of NCLB and the watered down curricula that it stipulates. Instead of pulling your kids from public education, make an informed vote about changing federal education laws, and the ludicrous high-stakes standardized tests that prove nothing besides we as a country only value the same content areas (reading, writing, math) that were needed at the turn of the century for our industry workers. And why is it that we are so afraid of more than one language? Many countries teach several langauges to their students. Are we not capable? Or just too ignorant and egotistic? Rather than blame our teachers, how about mandating some parenting classes. Read a book!
  • by David on Feb 4, 2011 at 06:37 AM
    Hey Anonmass and TLC, Dont forget to add vote and participate to "all we do is pay their salaries and taxes..." maybe you could influence what is going on if you did. When was the last time either of you attended a school board meeting, PTA or parent teacher conference? or voted to increase education funding? I bet not to often. How does it go "if you don't vote (participate) you can't complain or b! (#. As far as "how many kids are American citizens" its not the schools issue its YOURS. You have to tell the goverment/schools what you want. Stop ILLEGAL immagration and you won't have that problem. If you want better schools and better policies PAY for them. I would almost bet TLC has no kids any way. Cudos to the staff at this school for at least trying to engage ALL of the kids in a postive way, which is more than can be said for TLC and Anonmass. Peace and Love Out!! Peace and Love out!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:14 PM
    TLC< Alot of parents care about their children & their education but not much a person can do, as you see They make & plan the agenda & classses all we do is pay their salaries & taxes...Government in control as you see kids are (bi-lingual) ???? how many of those kids are American citizens???????
  • by TLC on Feb 3, 2011 at 08:25 AM
    Aww Sociologist utopia and training at its best. If you parents care for your kids get them OUT of the failed government schools.
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