C-Falls looks to future with youth programs

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The Columbia Falls School Board recently made a couple of important decisions that have the potential to positively affect generations of young people.

The board passed a resolution of intent that gives preliminary approval for selling a plot of school district land near Ruder Elementary School to the Boys and Girls Club for a new facility. Board members also threw their support behind a plan to move ahead with a project to build sports fields on the open land between Ruder Elementary and Columbia Falls Junior High School.

Wisely, the board is putting a number of conditions on the Boys and Girls Club to make sure the building’s purpose meets the goals and objectives of the school district. That includes having enough money to build the facility without going into debt, and a caveat that the facility would revert to school district ownership if the club were to fold.

Investing in our youth has always been time and money well spent, and the Boys and Girls Club is a flagship youth organization that offers valuable programming for young people. Kudos to the Columbia Falls School Board for its visionary leadership; we hope its partnership with the Boys and Girls Club comes to fruition.

Kudos are also in order for Flathead Valley Community College’s Running Start program that has seen a 60 percent increase in participation over the past three years.

The dual enrollment program began in the early 1990s, allowing high school students to earn college credits before they graduate from high school. This year, Running Start offered 56 course sections in 22 high schools statewide.

The financial incentive, combined with the broad reach of the program, has allowed FVCC to dramatically increase participation. A state study notes 63 percent of high school students earning dual enrollment credit enter the Montana University System as college students. These Running Start students have higher first-year retention and higher freshman GPAs.

Once again, the word visionary comes to mind as FVCC strives to reach college-bound students in rural areas. Running Start is a great way to help our students succeed.

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