Two more teaching positions for the 2016-17 school year were filled at the May 2 meeting of the Re-1J Board of Education.
Christina Lucero was approved for a third-grade position, teaching third-grade reading and third- and fourth-grade science. Wyatt Jiru was hired for the JR/SR high physical education teacher position.
Lucero graduated from the University of Northern Colorado last December with an elementary teaching degree, with a minor in teaching reading. She has been a full-time fourth-grade teacher in Fort Morgan this semester.
Jiru received his Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. He completed his master’s in teaching at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., and has just finished his student teaching in both an elementary and high school setting in Arkansas City, Kan.
He was a member of his college football team as an undergraduate and served as a student assistant coach his senior year. He also served as an assistant football coach at Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D., for a year and at Southwestern College for two years.
Life skills classroom proposed
An outline of a proposed Experience Classroom was shared with board members at this week’s meeting. The life skills classroom is designed to address the unique learning needs of students with disabilities who have the most significant support needs.
The Experience Classroom will focus on teaching everyday skills for participating students.
Graduation requirements reviewed for changes
While changes will still be forthcoming, the school board approved first reading of changes in Policy IKF on graduation requirements.
The sample policy reviewed by the board includes the content that the Colorado Association of School Boards believes best meets the intent of the law.
That includes several cut scores on various assessments to demonstrate both readiness in English and also competency in math.
The policy also incorporates the credit requirements adopted for Holyoke School District in 2011, as well as the valedictorian/salutatorian class rank criteria as approved two years ago to encourage more rigorous student class schedules.
Principal Susan Ortner highlighted and explained the proposed requirements, which will begin with the Class of 2021, or this year’s seventh-graders. She noted that the revised policy has built in all the guidelines that the state has required at this point.
Student focus groups like shared leadership idea
Superintendent John McCleary reported via conference call on student focus groups he’s conducted.
Using a word cloud, he keyed in words that kids said during their sessions, and a conglomerate of words in varying sizes was made. Words that were repeated the most were in larger type. “Supportive” stood out loud and strong in the word clouds from grades 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12. McCleary still plans to hold a fifth-sixth-grade focus group.
In these student focus groups, McCleary said students really want a voice — not just a token voice, but one that is really listened to. He said they liked the idea of a shared leadership group, perhaps meeting once a month. Ideas will be considered in order to have a plan to start something next fall.
Parent response small in 2016 school survey
While overall parent feedback from the 2016 school survey was positive, results were very limited, according to the report presented to the board from the Standards of Excellence Committee.
Parent survey responses were solicited at recent parent-teacher conferences, and the number of responses was very low.
Parent, student and staff feedback was addressed in the summary report from the committee.
In reviewing the report, the school board talked about ways to potentially give feedback on the survey and to show that the concerns that have been related are being addressed.
Discussion and results of the surveys led the Standards of Excellence Committee to consider focusing on connecting with Spanish-speaking parents, improving school-to-home communications and mixing up teaching strategies to avoid Chromebook fatigue.
Another general comment from the committee cited that next year they should perhaps have the surveys for parents be sent home with students on their Chromebooks for a reward, such as a candy bar.
The idea of presenting a more detailed report of the survey results in The Holyoke Enterprise or in the annual newsletter published by the school each fall were shared as further suggestions.
Contracts/employment recommendations made
Prior to approving staff contracts for the 2016-17 year, the board accepted the resignation of JR/SR high science teacher Havilah Andersen.
Approval was given for probationary and nonprobationary teacher renewals, as well as notice of employment for classified employees.
Probationary teacher renewals were approved for first-year teachers Rebecca Brandt, Debra Colglazier, Brittany Dirks, Joann Goss, Kaitlin Hansberry, Nicole League, Andrea Schlachter and Amber Schroetlin.
Also second-year teachers Sam Distefano, Cody Jiru, Cristine Mallari, Josh Schroetlin and Greg Wakeman; and third-year teachers Cynthia Bahler and Nancy Miles.
Contracts for 2016-17 were approved for the following nonprobationary teachers:
Allie Balog, Nic Balog, John Baumgartner, Cindi Beavers, Yesenia Bencomo, Kimberlee Bennett, Stefan Betley, Heather Bieber, Ashley Clayton, Marcia Dalton, Carly Daniel, Scott Dille, Kerri Gardner, Wendy Grothman, Maury Kramer, Laura Loutensock, Christina Martinez, Angela Powell, Tarah Priddy, Sandra Rahe, Crystal Rigel, Kari Sandquist, Lynn Schneider, Rhonda Smith, Theresa Tharp and John Zilla.
Classified staff recommended for employment in 2016-17 include secretaries, Tancy King, Stacey Krogmeier and Brenda Krueger; HR/payroll clerk, Joan Price; budget and finance director, Sharon Thompson.
Director of technology, Perry Ingram; district technology instructional coordinator, Chandra Parker; maintenance/repair, Stan Kreider; grounds, Dusty McConnell.
Custodians, Emma Cruz, Elva Montes, Guadalupe Montes, Albino Nuñez and Rosa Ronquillo; transportation, Mark Groshans, Fletcher Hinck, Dave Johnson, Helen Miller, Scott Murray and Kimberly Young.
Paraprofessionals, Terri Biersdorfer, Tracey Cordova, Yazmin Diaz, Natali Goytia, Melisa Hunter, Jessica Johnson, Aydaly Juarez, Tina McNulty, Johana Nevarez, Leticia Penzing, Christy Shafer and Ana Trejo.
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the school board:
—acknowledged a scholarship donation from the family of Ida Mae Skipworth for a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a graduating senior each year.
—noted appreciation for the Heginbotham Trust for money for the elementary math intervention materials.
—heard from BOCES board representative Nici Akey, who gave a recap of the recent board meeting. She cited some changes coming in the alternative teacher licensure program. In partnering with the Boettcher Foundation, the program may allow time spent on the alternative teacher licensure process to apply toward a master’s degree.
Holyoke Enterprise May 5, 2016