Friday, October 13, 2017

Mustang Momentum

Greetings to our beloved Mustang community!  We are launching a new way of communicating with each of you every week via this page in the Pikes Peak Bulletin.  I will be sharing information regarding the school district, and its mission to serve our children so they are prepared to have successful, meaningful, happy lives.   Please let us know if you like this new approach, and if you find it helpful.
    Let me begin by informing you of our new Advanced Placement (AP) program at Manitou Springs High School this school year.  Students, for the first time in our school’s history, are able to take the AP courses at Manitou Springs High School.  Today, we have 142 students filling 206 AP seats.   Additionally, I would like to celebrate our high school’s incredible accomplishment of being selected to the AP Honor roll.  Congratulations students on scoring so well on the AP exams!   More to come next week. 
Ed Longfield, Superintendent of MSSD 14


Mike Talbott, currently in his 4th year at Manitou Springs High School, is one of five teachers teaching Advanced Placement (AP) courses this school year.

Can you tell us a little about your background?
I graduated as valedictorian from my high school, attended West Point where I graduated in the first class with women, and entered a 30-year career in the military as an intelligence officer, ending in the rank of colonel.  I have been married for 37 years, have 3 married children, and 5 grandchildren. During my time in the Army, I spent about half of my career in special operations, chasing down rogue characters doing harm throughout the world, and served in several combat zones to include many trips into the Middle East, where my unit was responsible for the capture of many bad actors such as Saddam Hussein. Wounded once. I served as a paratrooper and completed nearly 100 jumps from many types of aircraft, and taught for 3 years at West Point, where I was the course director for freshman Calculus which all cadets must complete. After 30 years in the Army and serving as a brigade commander, I retired in 2010. On a whim, my wife and I moved to Colorado to start our next phase in life.

With such an extensive military career, why did you become a teacher?
After retirement from the military, I worked for a local company who had many defense contracts. After about a year in the company, the company asked me to fill one of their requirements in Afghanistan. There I served as a Strategic Advisor to the four-star commanding general, advising on training, government progress, and many other topics concerning the Afghan government’s development. After a couple of years, I decided I was ready for something new. West Point instilled in me a strong belief in the duty, honor, country ideal. I didn’t know a better way to contribute to our society and our country than teaching young people and being a role model. If I can influence even one student a year in a positive way, then I am contributing in a way I hoped for. I believe that teaching will help in keeping me young. I also believe that teaching math and physics isn’t my only task as a teacher. I believe that I have a role in assisting teenagers become responsible adults and what the real world is and will be like for them.

Why Manitou?
I had the opportunity to student teach with Mrs. Bucher for a semester. During that time, I got to know Manitou Springs High School and realized that I liked the value system of the school. There is a lot of diversity within the student body which makes life interesting for me. As an intelligence officer, I spent much time studying people, figuring out how they thought, and what made them tick. So teaching is a bit like that; trying to figure out how to connect and help young people learn.

You are currently teaching AP Calculus AB and BC, what are the benefits of the new AP program at MSHS?
AP is recognized by colleges nationwide. I’ve learned through my training opportunities with the Legacy program that colleges drive the AP curriculum and exam. Since various schools grade differently, and have varying standards, AP provides a method to look at students nationwide with the same academic standard. If a student gets a certain score, the college knows where that student stands and if they are ready for the next class. Students are afforded the opportunity to earn college credits without the additional cost. Not only do the colleges know what skill sets the student has, but the AP program gives students the opportunity to assess themselves where they are. Offering AP courses for students is a way to challenge certain students. It sends a message that if a student wants challenged academically, he or she can come to Manitou, be challenged, and get prepared for higher education or a career as adults.

What types of training have you done to prepared you to teach AP?
I attended summer AP institutes in the summers before we had the AP program because we still had students who desired to take the AP exams. This summer I attended training at Metro State and went to Denver again in September. Every presenter has brought something different to the training that I have leveraged in the classroom. Every teacher should look for opportunities to learn from other teachers because it allows us to grow and provide better instruction. There is a great network of teachers across the country that are willing to share various ideas on teaching these courses.