In August 2016, Cottonwood Institute (CI) took on a very important last minute project to officially have our Community Adventure Program (CAP) curriculum approved by the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education. This has been a long time coming and will open opportunities for work with more schools in Boulder County. Curriculum approval was also a contingency for CI’s work with the schools in Lafayette with the Nature Kids / Jovenes de Naturaleza (NKJN) program as part of the Get Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Inspire Initiative grant with which Cottonwood Institute is a lead partner.
Curriculum approval was a new undertaking for CI staff. After learning that most teachers take at least a 2-day workshop on navigating these proposals, CI Program Director Madeline Bachner Lane jumped in after a few hours meeting with BVSD staff and administration. As a small non-profit, CI has honed the ability to be scrappy and nimble!
In mid-August CI’s team of three took on editing the lengthy proposal documents. Through a steep learning curve and some quickly delegated teamwork, CI had it submitted by the August 31st deadline. September brought news that the CAP curriculum had cleared the first hurdle of being supported at the subject level. Next was the presentation to the Curriculum Coordinating Council in October. After some nerve wracking preparation and a great presentation with coordinating teacher Mike Ross from Centaurus High School, curriculum was approved “with conditions”. This meant another handful of busy days to pull together clarifying information for a few lingering questions which was approved later in November. But wait, there’s more! The curriculum was then ready to move on to review by the Superintendent’s Office and the public.
With that, CI was able to embrace the great news that GOCO had funded the NKJN project and now just over a month later, we are signing agreements with Centaurus High School and Angevine Middle School to move forward with programming in the 2017-2018 school year. CI offers many thanks to our supporters who answered questions, gave their time, and steady guidance to make this a success. With CAP as a formally approved curriculum, CI has taken another powerful step toward continuing our life changing programs for more students and schools.