The Saratoga Sun -

By Mike Dunn 

BOCES hires coordinator


Mike Dunn

Education does not end with formal school, and with her new job as Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) coordinator at Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD#2), Melissa Donough's goal is to insure that everyone in the community has an opportunity to continue their learning.

As BOCES coordinator, her goal is to provide the public with the materials and access to educational opportunities.

"It's an entity that we want to expand educational opportunities for all of the district, Hanna; Elk Mountain; Medicine Bow; Saratoga and Encampment, everyone from the little guys [elementary school] all the way up through adult learners," Donough said.

There are a few groups of people that BOCES wishes to target, Donough said. She said those who are currently enrolled at the CCSD#2 School System are pivotal for BOCES.

"We want to offer more concurrent and dual enrollment high school courses," Donough said. "We want them to take classes at the high school where they will get college credit as well."

Introducing students to college courses early has more than just financial benefits.

"Seventy miles over the mountain [to Laramie] maybe doesn't seem that far, but maybe some of the kids are intimidated by these college courses," Donough said. "I think just getting some of these basic classes out of the way in your own community A. saves you money and B. maybe increases your self esteem a little bit."

BOCES also aims to provide young students with the training they need for vocational skills.

"Everything from welding to solid molding class ... and we just want to expand on anything where they can get some real-world skills and use."

Donough said she wants to open opportunities for the adult learners as well setting up programs including GED equivalency certification.

"We would like to set up a testing center for them [in Saratoga] to take those tests," she said.

Even for adult learners who want to pursue higher-education and vocational skills will have an opportunity to do so with this program.

Donough added that providing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) training will help those who would like to work in local industries and in the oil fields.

BOCES intends to provide non-work related classes to the public as well.

"We also want to offer courses like cooking, fly-fishing, quilting and other things like that," Donough said.

Bob Gates, Superintendent of CCSD#2, said that BOCES is funded differently than regular classrooms at CCSD#2.

"It's not using general fund dollars," Gates said. "Every school district has the ability to levy mills to fund BOCES ... and that is what we are operating under."

BOCES is a project that has been in the works for half a decade now, but Gates said he is happy to have this program going forward.

"It's been five years now, we have an employee," Gates said. "We have a lot of hopes and dreams and we are busily putting them together."

Donough said that she welcomes public comments and suggestions concerning BOCES.

BOCES meetings take place an hour before CCSD#2 school board meetings.


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