Stapp Inspires-The Heart of a Coach

“I can meet you at 10:00 am, that’s when practice is over. Do you know how to get to the field?” After receiving directions to Everly Montgomery Stadium I was all set to meet up with this month’s Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight, Doug Johnson.

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I touched base with Brion (our dealer principal and Longmont High School graduate.) before our meeting. Both Doug and Brion started at Longmont High about the same time. Doug as a coach and Brion as the quarterback. As we chatted about days gone by, Brion said how proud he was that Doug has continued the strong tradition of LHS football.

I arrived at the field just as practice was winding up. The relief of practice being over and plans for later in the day were being made as I passed the athletes leaving the field.  Doug is spending a little extra time with a few players and soon he is ready to meet and get out of the sun.We settle into his office and I can’t help but notice the pictures of all his teams, I saw a few from more than 10 years ago. We chat for a few minutes to get a little background information. He started coaching at Lyons High School with his dad in 1990 and 1991 and at Skyline High School in 1992 before winding up at Longmont High School 1993. He is a math teacher when he isn’t coaching. It’s worth noting that he also coaches basketball and track. Oh, and in his spare time a sponsor to FCA.

Doug’s concern and love of his players and students is his heart. For him the greatest thing to see his kids over come challenges and succeed. To have students and athletes reach out and update him on what’s going on their lives is the best part of working with high students. Because he cares so much for his kids the hardest thing for him to do is to correct them. “It’s a lot easier to let it be.”, he said.He stressed to this team that they are a family and that love of your teammates is more important than hate of opponents.

He wants to see his players be contributors to their communities and that this can happen in many different ways. he last Saturday of football camp Doug sets up an opportunity for his players to help others out in the community. This year the team was headed up to Lyons to help out 6 homeowners who were effected by the flood with their landscaping. He tries to either provide materials needed or have them donated for their projects. If this isn’t possible, they take care of the difference.Doug started this tradition in 2007. He admitted it started as a mentality of “coach is making us do this” but over the years it has transformed into “we are going to do better than last year.”  He wants to teach these young men how to show love to others without saying it and how they have the ability and power to give hope to those around them. Of course the football team has goals they want to meet each season. But at the end of the day, we all have a bottom line that defines us and if the team does nothing else but this outreach… That is a successful season for Doug and the team.

As much care he has for his players there are a few things that hold more importance to him. He has 5 kids whom he loves dearly and a wife he adores. He still dates his wife every week. ” It’s so easy to become roommates, especially with kids.” he comments. Doug has coached a few of his kids in different sports and had a blast spending time with them in that way. ” I’m more concerned with the person my daughter becomes than how she performs as an athlete.” he said while talking about coaching his daughter in pole vaulting.  He places a huge importance on family time, not just in his family, but his athletes too. He prefers to not have team dinners and let his players have dinner with their families because that kids are away from too much as it is.  

Doug, when we first spoke on the phone you mentioned that you were unsure of why you were chosen for this highlight, you didn’t think you were doing anything special or extraordinary and that there were plenty of others who were more deserving. I hope I have been able to show why you were chosen. Your heart for not only your athletes, students and your family is seen by all.  You see that there is more to life than football and you help your players see beyond the field. You give hope and encouragement to everyone you meet. I want to thank you for your time, just meeting with you was inspiring to me. We wish you and the team good luck this season.

Go Trojans!

Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight

 

Welcome back to our Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight! I’m Erin, the Digital Marketing Manager for the dealership.

This month we want to take a closer look at the Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools (IC). The IC has been a part of the district for a few years now and has really filled a need in preparing students for life after they graduate. At the IC, students can get their Apple Certification or work on creating and producing a product that solves a need for real-world clients. St. Vrain Valley Schools is in the process of building a new Innovation Center with the groundbreaking scheduled to begin in early August and an anticipated start date of Fall 2018. The passage of the bond in November of 2016 will allow St. Vrain to expand and branch out to all students. The new facility will be a hub for the entire district. Both students and educators will have access to the latest in industry standard tools and experts in the field.

As with any project, the success of the new facility depends on the team that is running it. Meet Axel Reitzig, he is the Robotics and Computer Science Coordinator for the IC. He has been an educator for a total of 25 years. He started teaching German at a college level. He later decided to pursue his German and Language Arts endorsement and taught middle schoolers for a few years. Eventually he went through the Library Sciences program and was teaching STEM with robotics and Computer Science emphasis before coming to the IC. I had the opportunity to spend some time with him recently.

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Axel has that intangible quality that you hope every teacher has. In just talking to him, I was ready to go back to high school and sign up for one of his classes. He is truly an expert in his field, but always yields to letting students find their own answers. He believes that we are all creative problem solvers and innovators. Axel focuses on three components when interacting with his students; engagement, challenge and transformation.

He said students need to be ‘engaged ‘with the world around them, not just intellectually, but emotionally and socially as well. The ‘challenge’ part is making sure students are applying their skills authentically, that there is a true means to an end, not just filling out a worksheet. Where the struggle to learn a certain math component goes from dread because “it has no purpose” to  “if you want your project, or app to work you need to figure this out”. And finally, ‘transformation’. Can students apply what they have learned to something they have to design?

His quiet passion for his students and their work is evident. He enjoys providing his students authentic learning opportunities, where abstract becomes concrete and projects are meaningful to students. On thing he said has stuck with me. When talking about his students and their work he said. “Students are natural learners and problems solvers. They want to help and make a real difference in their world.”  We then took a look at one project the students are currently working on for Boulder County Open Space.

 

Do you remember when students from Skyline created the underwater camera so a researcher in Peru could study frogs in their natural habitat? (If not see here). Boulder County Open Space intrigued by the project, asked the students if they could build something able to create topographical maps of the lakes, streams, and ponds.

Sometimes certain aspects are outside Axel’s realm of expertise. The entire team at the IC has reached out and partnered with members of the community to provide support for some of these projects. Retired engineers and IT specialists are just a few of the people who mentor and help support these students.

Axel is also quick to highlight what his colleagues are up to. I got the sense that even though I was only talking to Axel, a strong team mentality exists at the IC. Axel doesn’t work as a teacher telling students the outcomes of their projects, but as a facilitator instead. He said, “The best thing I can do is let students take technology out for a ‘test drive’. I want to provide opportunities for transformative experiences. I get out of the way, and if needed, provide help or find someone who can help.”

Axel, thank you for your time and dedication to all students within our community. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. We are excited to partner and support the IC and St. Vrain Valley Schools.

We wish you and your entire team the best as you work to expand and open the new Innovation Center.

 

 

 

 

A Woman’s Work

What do you do when the unexpected comes up? You are usually self sufficient, but life happens. You find yourself in a place where if you could just get over this hurdle, you and your family would be fine. You would be back on your feet, you just need a little help this one time. But most social services programs aren’t designed for people like you. What do you do?

Thankfully for women living and working in the St. Vrain Valley there is a safety net. The mission of A Woman’s Work is to provide financial support for women in the St. Vrain Valley whose immediate needs cannot be met by other sources. They ask only that recipients perform an act of kindness in return.

Stapp Inspires is proud to partner with A Woman’s Work to assist those who are living in our community. This we will be highlighting A Woman’s Work. We hope that you will check back here to learn more about this great organization making a positive impact in our community!

 

Prospect Sound Bites 2017

Summer is just around the corner. School is winding down and the weather is starting to heat up. That can mean one thing, that Prospect Sound Bites is just around the corner!

What is Prospect Sound Bites? Is a summer long concert series that starts on Memorial Day (today!) and wraps on Labor Day. This is our 3rd season to partner with Prospect Sound Bites  and we are looking forward to another great season!

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Ok, details in case you haven’t visited. The concerts happen every Monday evening in the Prospect New Town neighborhood in Longmont. The concerts start at 5:30pm and go until 8:00pm. Each week a different local band plays. Prospect Sound Bites does a wonderful job of pulling bands in from different genres.

So we covered the Sound, now about the Bites. Feel free to bring your own picnic dinner with you, don’t forget your chairs or blankets to sit on! Or better yet visit one of the many food trucks that line the park. The food options are endless. We are talking, Mexican Street Food, Wood Fired Pizza and BBQ just to name a few. Make sure you save some room for dessert. Yep, you read that right a couple food trucks serving nothing but sweet treats have been known to pull up as well.

So check out this summer’s line up of great bands and we hope to see you at Prospect Sound Bites this summer!

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Stapp Inspires- Teacher Highlight Chris Chou

Welcome to Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight! Each month we will be highlighting a teacher, support staff or coach and the school they work at with in St. Vrain Valley Schools. These special people encourage and inspire their students and co-workers. We are proud to share their stories with you.

This month we visit Longmont High School. A few quick facts about LHS. LHS has been recognized 3 years in a row by US News and World Report as a “Best High School”. Enrollment has increased by 10% from the previous year. LHS is able to offer 20 AP classes and 11 classes for college credit.

We are stepping into Chris Chou’s AP Biology classroom this month. Ms. Chou has been teaching for 14 years, 12 of those have been at LHS. Ms. Chou has been instrumental in setting up and overseeing the school’s Medical and Biosciences Academy (MBSA).

 

The MBSA is designed for students who are interested in careers or secondary education in the health sciences. One of the classes students are required to take is AP Biology. Under Ms. Chou’s tutelage, all LHS students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology exam scored a 3 or better, leaving the school with an average of 4.1. The national average for the AP Biology Exam is 2.83. It’s easy to see why Ms. Chou received  the 2016 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

We had a few questions for Ms. Chou about her passion for her students and preparing them for the next steps in their lives.

We asked her what her favorite thing about teaching at LHS was. This is what she had to say…

“I love teaching a diverse population of students who are involved in so many different activities both inside and outside of school. They have so many interesting backgrounds and interests. I also enjoy working with a passionate group of educators. The teachers at Longmont High really care about their students, work hard to improve their craft, and learners themselves. Many of them provide unique learning opportunities for students and model what it looks like to be learners themselves.”

We also wanted to find out what the most important thing she felt she could pass on to her students. She teaches primarily juniors and seniors, students who are about to embark on the next stage of life. This is what she feels is the most important lesson she can impart…

“I believe the most important lesson I can teach my students is how to think critically and make informed decisions. I teach mostly juniors and seniors who are soon to be graduation and going into the adult world. They will need to know how to sift through the abundance of information available to them through media and the internet, and it is  important that they know how to make informed decisions regarding their educational choices, finances, health, future careers, involvement in politics and public issues. But I think the lesson I hope students gain from being in one of my classes is how to treat others with kindness and respect and how to work well with other. I also want students to be curious, enjoy learning and be lifelong learners.”

Ms. Chou’s commitment and passion to her students in the MBSA program are well prepared to continue their secondary education in any field they choose. In fact 83.3% of MBSA graduates have gone to major in science or pre-health programs. 8.3% are studying pre-engineering and another 8.3% currently major in non-scientific course work.

Thank you Ms. Chou for making LHS a great space for students to learn and succeed. It’s teachers like you who are having a wonderful impact on our future.

Stapp Inspires Spotlight: Longmont Meals On Wheels

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Hi! This is Erin again. I wanted to go a little more in depth with Longmont Meals on Wheels. I spoke with Katie Wiser, Development Coordinator with Longmont Meals on Wheels.

Longmont Meals on Wheels, is a non-profit organization that provides elderly, people with disabilities and people returning from a hospital stay with proper, affordable nutrition in their homes and at the Senior Center. They do not have a wait list, nor is proof of income needed to have meals delivered. Meals are delivered around lunch time Monday through Friday. Home delivery accounts for about 80% of all the meals that are prepared. In 2016 they served over 107,000 meals!

Meals are prepared fresh every day by an in house chef and two assistants. The meals are nutritionally balanced and on a 90 day calendar. They are held to the same standards as a restaurant kitchen and are subject to the Boulder County Health Department. The kitchen is also equipped to handle special dietary needs as well. Low sodium, diabetes, food allergies are just a few of the special needs that they can handle.

I asked Katie some of the biggest misconceptions about Meals on Wheels. She said the biggest was the quality of food. Because they receive no government funding (federal or state) they have fewer restrictions and can offer food that isn’t institutional tasting.

Funding was the second biggest misconception Katie mentioned. While there is a national Meals on Wheels organization, each is independent. They receive no government funding. Longmont Meals on Wheels relies on local donations now and always!

I asked Katie if they had any other programs than the daily meals. I was surprised to learn that they did offer quite a few. One is called Project Homecoming. This is open to anyone who is coming home from the hospital or outpatient care. LMOW will deliver 5 free meals as people transition back from a hospital stay. They offer a free Lockbox Program to Longmont residents 65 and older, those with disabilities or who suffer from a major medical issue at any age.  They will also provide an Emergency Food bag which contains three days worth a food. A lot of these went out during the 2013 Flood. The last program Katie talked about was their Holiday Basket. This contains enough food for two people and a gift card to pick out their own protein.

My next question related back to funding. If LMOW doesn’t receive any government funding, then how do they get the funds needed to operate. Their biggest fundraiser is the Longmont Christmas Home Tour. It is the oldest and largest in the state. 4 homes are decorated for Christmas and visitors have the opportunity to purchase the decorations. Homes that are apart of the tour are announced in October, so check back for that! This year’s Home Tour will run November 30- December 2. We will post more details as the become available.

LMOW had a new fundraiser this year called Tablescapes. Different business and organizations decorated tables that were raffled off! We had a great time at this event!

Longmont Meals on Wheels is a great asset to this community and we are proud to partner with them. Thank you for all you do!

Day of Champions

Hi! This is Erin, the Digital Marketing Manager for Stapp Interstate Toyota. Last week I was able to participate in Longmont Meals on Wheels‘ (LMOW) Day of Champions. Once a year LOMW invited members of the community to join them on their delivery runs and at the Senior Center. Members of the Fire Department, Police Department, EMT, and the mayor were among those who were participating.

I was paired up with a gentleman named Rich. Rich had been delivering once a week for two years. “Although, he said with a smile, ” Starting in April, I’ll be delivering two days a week.”  We sat around and waited for his route number to be called. He already had the cold sacks of food loaded up in the car and ready to go. Before long his name was called and we were loading the hot meals into the insulated bag and we were off.  “I should really, ask for milage and gas re-embursment and a snack when I go on these drives.” Rich commented. Already his sense of humor was showing through, our first stop was a senior apartment complex a few blocks away from where we started at the Senior Center.

We get out of the car and head into the building. I have a job to do, I have the cold sacks of food. The first apartment no one was home. So we left the food in the cooler outside the door and moved on.  And that’s how our route went, some weren’t home at the time and others were.

I was deeply touched by the people we did see. Some accepted the meal, and exchanged a few pleasantries and we were on our way. Others, they wanted to talk for just a little longer. Rich was patient and kind, asking how they were doing. Several commented that they were so glad to see us and what a wonderful person Rich was. In about an hour we had delivered all our meals and were back to the Senior Center. Rich and I shook hands and we went our ways. Rich wanted to try and get a bike ride in before it got too late. I headed back to the dealership, with the thoughts of the last couple hours on my mind.

More than one person commented that this lunch we were bringing them would be their only hot meal of the day, some their only meal. Most were living by themselves and some had mobility problems that limited their ability to get around and get out. I got the feeling that in some cases the volunteers that were delivering the meals, were the only person they might see in a day.

 

As I pulled in the dealership, I had one call I needed to make before I went back to work. The phone rang a few times. The familiar “Hello” as only my grandma says greets me. I say hello and the normal brief pause while she calls my grandpa to pick up another phone. The deep chuckle of my grandpa’s voice fills my car. We talk for a bit and then it’s time to say goodbye.

As I walk up to the dealership I reflect on my day.  I’m thankful that Longmont Meals On Wheels provides such a wonderful service to the elderly, people with disabilities and those coming home from the hospital. Next month as part of Stapp Inspires we will be highlighting Longmont Meals On Wheels and the work they are doing in our community and how you can get involved.  I hope you will join us.