Supporting equal access to science education
ACES recognizes the value of diversity and inclusiveness - and promotes equal access to environmental science education. In the past five years, ACES has increased programming by 200%, expanding into schools where approximately 60% of students are Latino and 40% qualify for free or reduced lunch. We believe in providing opportunities for minorities and under-served students to excel. Environmental education improves K-12 student achievement in science, increases enthusiasm for learning, and leads to higher scores on standardized tests in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Diversity is critically important to transformative education.
To meet the diverse student population of Western Colorado, ACES Educators include bilingual, licensed, and creative professional teachers with extensive classroom and field science experience.
ACES' New Programs in 2018-2019:
Colorado Connects Scholarship
Our new "Colorado Connects" scholarship program provides underwriting for underserved schools and students in Eagle and Garfield counties to participate in ACES field science programs. ACES is now reaching students in Glenwood Springs, Marble, New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Parachute, and Battlement Mesa. In the winter, ACES Ed continues to explore our dynamic winter world with Aspen Mountain Snow Science programs.
As part of these programs, students snowshoe, dig snow pits, analyze snow pack conditions, learn to operate avalanche beacons, and learn about the amazing adaptations that enable animals to survive in such harsh conditions. Working with over 1200 students this winter, ACES Ed students learn about the challenges of winter survival at 11,200 feet above sea level.
Inclusive Family Science Nights
From Aspen to New Castle, ACES hosts inclusive evening events where students can show their family members what they are learning in ACES Ed classes. This year, Family Science Nights included the opportunity to dissect owl pellets, blend smoothies while learning about transfer of energy with the ACES bike blender, and explore techniques of water quality testing through our macro-invertebrate identification station.
In the spring of 2018, ACES partnered with Kathryn Senor Elementary School (KSE) in New Castle to host a Family Science Night with over 120 students, parents, and relatives to explore a wide range of science projects and interactive learning stations.
Inspired Stewards Internship Program
Last year ACES launched a program for high school students in New Castle, Rifle, Parachute, and Battlement Mesa. This paid ($10.20/hour) career exploration experience is an innovative approach to education and helps to meet the need for a “5th day” of programming in school districts where students only attend four school days per week due to budget cuts.
In these areas, there is a severe need for additional programming on Fridays and Mondays when no school in session. The Inspired Stewards internship includes overnight camping experiences in Rifle Falls State Park, as well as 3-hour class sessions in environmental science, outdoor travel and guiding, wildlife biology, and other potential career fields.