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May 23, 2012

Sorry I have not posted in awhile, I am transitioning into a new job, and have been extremely busy. June 1st I begin a job at Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services (CBOCES) as an Instructional Program Coordinator for Northern Colorado. I will post again soon!


Colorado Heights University visit

March 16, 2012

Mark Rangel comments on visit to Colorado Heights University


On March 9th, 2012 Colorado Heights University (CHU) in Denver, Colorado opened their doors to our students from Fort Morgan High School and the (MENA) Migrant Education Newcomer Academy. The visitation was made possible by a strong working relationship with Frank Garcia – Community Engagement Specialist from CHU and the CHU staff.


Students arrive at Colorado Heights University after a long bus ride.

47 students from Fort Morgan High School visited Colorado Heights University in Denver. The University did an outstanding job welcoming us and making the day a wonderful learning experience for our students and staff.  We were welcomed upon our arrival with doughnuts and juice. After a brief overview of the day the students were put in groups to tour the campus. When the tour was completed the students were served a pizza party lunch followed by a very informative panel presentation and discussion with CHU faculty and students.


The boys with Mrs. Liston


Lunch time in the lobby of the auditorium

The students were very thankful for this opportunity. As a district administrator I encourage you to visit Colorado’s best kept secret for post secondary education! I will do a follow up post with more information about CHU.


Mr. Rangel hanging out with the girls

Mark Rangel’s reflection on starting a Newcomer Academy

February 7, 2012

Mark Rangel’s reflection on starting a Newcomer Academy


Parent Community Involvement Committee meeting

I can say I was nervous and excited to start this journey provided to me by my superintendent and the Director of Federal Programs from Centennial BOCES. Creating, planning and building The Morgan County School District Migrant Education Newcomer Academy (MENA) has been an experience that I will remember for a lifetime. From the daily lessons I have learned from the students I get to work with, to the overwhelming support and assistance of all the community partners, to state refugee resources and the Colorado Department of Education (LCE office) that have provided guidance to our efforts, it has been a journey I am blessed to be on!

Whenever I think I am having a bad day or I am feeling down. I recall a story told to me by one of the students who has experienced more in her young life than I could ever imagine. Her story is one of fleeing her country to find safety in a refugee camp. As a seven year old waking up in the middle of the night looking up at a soldier who had a rifle pointed at her and her family, she has experiences I would never want. My student spent seven years in a refugee camp prior to coming to the United States. Her mother who still lives in the camp made sure her children were able to get out first. This past December, my student was heartbroken because she had received news that her mother was sick and she had no way to contact her. My life seems pretty good when I hear of their experiences. The students have taught me that even with the most difficult backgrounds and daily bias that they experience they are willing to move forward and learn each and every day.

I get to work with children from all over the world and I love each day that I get to see their smiling faces get off the bus and come into the Building to be greeted by myself and the teachers. This morning and afternoon ritual of sharing handshakes, fist pumps and hugs brings a sense of belonging and trust to our classroom daily.

In previous posts, I have identified the partners that have gone above and beyond to assist us at the Newcomer Academy. The most exciting news is that our partnerships continue to grow and we are able to provide relevant experiences to our students and families. We now have two doctoral students in counseling that are running groups within our district (thanks to the help of Jewish Family Services, University of Northern Colorado and Denver University). Next month, Christy Fitzpatrick from Colorado State University Extension program will provide a series of hands on science lessons for our students.

ImageI will continue to highlight the people and organizations that have been so giving with their time and expertise in future posts. I wanted to take a second and reflect on some of my lessons learned on this wonderful journey.

If you or the organization you work with are interested in visiting or developing a partnership please contact me. You can contact me by visiting one of my websites Mark Rangel or MENA

Great Resource – Colorado Meth Project

January 23, 2012

Mark Rangel shares great resource for parents and educators


Jonathan Judge - Colorado Meth Project

At our Monthly Parent Community Involvement Committee meeting held on January 18th 2012. We had the great opportunity to have Jonathan Judge – Program Manager for the Colorado Meth Project present information on current trends in Colorado.

Presentation topics/questions that were addressed:

  • What is Meth? What does it look like, how is it used, where does it come from? What are warning signs that Meth is being produced and/or trafficked in local communities?
  • How does Meth affect users? What are warning signs that someone is using? What does Meth do to the human body? What does Meth do to the brain?
  • How does Meth affect the wider community?
  • What is the current Meth problem in Colorado? In Morgan County?
  • What is unique about the teenage brain the makes it especially vulnerable to substance abuse?
  • What can we do to help prevent teenage substance abuse?

Below is information provided by Jonathan and the Colorado Meth Project taken from their website:

The Problem

The Colorado Meth Project was launched as a response to the state’s critical methamphetamine problem. Meth use in Colorado is considerably higher than the national average, and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, methamphetamine is a primary drug threat to Colorado.1

  • Colorado’s Front Range task force estimates methamphetamine availability in 2010 has increased 300 percent over 2009.2
  • The annual cost to the state is estimated at $1.4 billion, including costs to the criminal justice, health and foster care systems, as well as lost productivity.3
  • Colorado ranks #7 in the country for total Meth users 12 and older.4
  • 76% of all Colorado Meth users entering treatment in 2010 reported first using Meth before age 25, and 43% started at 17 or younger.5
  • 32% of all drug related offenses in Colorado in 2007 were Meth-related, 56% higher than the national average.6
  • Colorado ranks #6 in the U.S. for per capita identity theft7 and law enforcement sources indicate that Meth addiction is responsible for almost two-thirds of identity theft crimes in Colorado.8

The Campaign

In May 2009, Governor Bill Ritter and Attorney General John Suthers officially launched the Colorado Meth Project’s statewide advertising campaign, including TV, radio, print, online, outdoor, and grassroots community outreach campaign. The campaign has included:

  • 21,000 TV ads
  • 33,000 Radio ads
  • 708 Billboards
  • 220,000,000 Online Impressions

The Impact

Since its inception in Colorado, the Meth Project’s prevention program has demonstrated significant results in changing teen attitudes about Meth. According to the 2011 Colorado Meth Use & Attitude Survey9:

  • 88% of Colorado teens now see “great risk” in trying Meth once or twice, up 9 points from the 2009 benchmark
  • 88% reported that the Colorado Meth Project ads made them less likely to try or use the drug
  • Eight in ten teens agree their friends would give them a hard time if they, themselves, were to use Meth (82%, up 6 points from 76% in the 2009 benchmark)

Since the launch of the campaign in May 2009, the program has touched a significant number of Colorado young people:

  • 97% of Colorado’s estimated 400,000 teens have seen a Colorado Meth Project advertisement, with 67% reporting that they have seen the ads at least once a week10
  • The organization has conducted more than 200 school and community presentations directly reaching more than 25,000 teens and young adults
  • More than 500,000 Coloradans have been exposed to the Colorado Meth Project’s outreach campaign through events large and small
  • More than 1,100 Coloradans have signed up to volunteer for the organization, with 95 committed individuals who are currently active

I would like to thank Jonathan for his willingness to share his expertise with our families. If you would like to contact Jonathan Judge please e-mail him at

Great Resource for Migrant/ Newcomer Students

January 11, 2012

Mark Rangel Shares a great FREE resource for use with Migrant, Refugee, immigrant students

Colorado along with 14 other states make up a consortium focused on literacy development for migrant students. Below is some information on the consortium. Even if a state is not part of the consortium you are able to access and use the resources. I encourage you to visit the website and sign up for a free account. We have been using them in our Newcomer program in Fort Morgan, Colorado with great success.

LEARN-2-Succeed Migrant Education Consortium


  • Established:  1995 with the states of Colorado, North Dakota, Missouri, and Utah
  • Mission:  to ‘work together to develop products and services to meet the academic needs of migrant students’
  • Current States: Utah (lead state), Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia – Partner States: Alaska, Nebraska
  • In order to assist migrant students in grades K-12 and out-of-school youth to become proficient in literacy (reading, writing, and study skills) and overcome barriers to high school graduation.  Through this project, we will create and expand on already successful, scientifically-based reading lessons, assessments, and resources on the Migrant Reading NET (, going well beyond to incorporate literacy on the new Migrant Literacy NET (

LEARN: Final Products

  • One hundred forty-one reading lessons across the five reading dimensions at the K-12 level and for OSY (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Thirty-one additional literacy lessons in English/Spanish (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Reading and writing resources for parents to assist their children to read (in English and Spanish) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Eighty-six writing lessons (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Forty-forty math lessons in English/Spanish (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Eleven study skills lessons (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Sixteen OSY lessons (field tested and complete) online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Pre and post test assessments for each lesson online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Electronic Success Plans to track student progress online on the Migrant Literacy NET
  • Electronic Graduation Plans to help overcome barriers to success online on the Migrant Literacy NET

Let me know is you find these materials helpful to you and your program.


All materials and services are available for member states

For states interested in joining the consortium contact:  (Lead State) Utah Department of Education 1-801-538-7725 (Max Lang)

For information on products and services contact:  ERTC 1-970-356-9472 (Bill Bansberg or Rich Rangel)

Community Partnerships Part III

January 2, 2012

Mark Rangel Shares comments about

Migrant Christmas Fiesta 2011


Santa visits with children

On Sunday, December 18, 2011 Centennial BOCES had its annual Christmas Fiesta for our Migrant Families. The staff from Centennial BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) did a wonderful job hosting their annual fiesta for the migrant students and families in Morgan County as well as multiple sites in Northern Colorado. It has been a pleasure to work with them in the Fort Morgan area.


CBOCES staff member Mirna Mendez assists a family at the Fiesta

Below is some information provided by the Fort Morgan Federal programs staff.

We had a lot of new faces including many happy children that enjoyed visiting Santa who was assisted by the 2nd. year HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) volunteers of Fort Morgan High School Rebecca Segura, and Jose A. Maní from Baker Central.  Santa craft shop was run by 1st. year HOSA volunteers Marissa Avalos, Casey Castañeda, Tenneya Lundquist including Monica Avalos from FCCLA in Fort Morgan High School.  Santa Store was run by Jackie Segura, and assisted by Isaura Ibarra Ramirez, from Fort Morgan Middle School. Refreshments were served by our PAC Representative, Maria Maní and Migrant parent, Silvia Vargas.  We also had Jessica Vargas, Jacob Pascual, Estuardo Pascual, fromFortMorganHigh School assist in theRIF book table and Sydnee and Nathalie Pascual assisted in the clothes give away.  It’s always nice to see families come together for a good cause.  Centennial BOCES would like to thank all the student volunteers from the different schools as well as the parents and community members that so graciously volunteered their time to be here.  Lastly, thanks to Mark Rangel for his continuous collaboration and generous donation.  So in conclusion, we just have to say that our Annual Christmas Fiestas was a great success thanks to all the wonderful student and parent volunteers that made this whole thing possible. 

This event was a wonderful celebration to be part of. The CBOCES staff are a very dedicated group of individuals who make a difference in the lives of many on a daily basis! I look forward to our continued partnership changing lives one at a time! Please share this with others to showcase the hard work of the CBOCES staff.

Children enjoying the the Fiesta in Fort Morgan

Part II Community Partnerships

December 15, 2011

Mark Rangel highlights Successes of Migrant

 Education Newcomer Academy

The Strength of Community Partners! 


The next community partnership I would like to recognize for their commitment to the Migrant Education Newcomer Academy is The Eastern Workforce Center. Brigitte Shafer and Kortnie Mendoza have been a driving force in preparing our students to enter the workforce now and in the future.  The students are gaining an understanding how their education prepares them for life after high school and the importance of acquiring the English language. Eastern Workforce Center presents an hour lesson every Thursday to the students. The lessons are very interactive and allow for oral language development.


Eastern Workforce Center's Brigitte Shafer teaches job readiness skills to MENA students.

“The program was introduced to address an apparent need for skills development and job preparation.  Through a partnership between MENA and the Eastern Workforce Center, the program was developed and has provided a valuable connection tool for not only the staff, but for the youth within the population as well.  The fundamental duties include: the development of communication skills in English, either in a classroom setting or in a one-on-one tutoring structure.  We also provide content beyond language instruction, such as employment skills, survival skills, cultural information, or American history and citizenship facts.  We must also take into consideration the implications of the learners’ cultural differences and cultural adjustment process.  Other tasks may include any combination of materials development or selection, lesson planning, curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, and even counseling or referrals.”

Brigitte Shafer and Kortnie Mendoza

Fort Morgan Workforce Center

The students and staff are very grateful to have Brigitte, Kortnie, and the Eastern Workforce Center as a community partner

Please tell me what partnerships you have within your community. Or please contact me if you have any ideas for me about potential partnerships.

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