The Lincoln County school board met Aug. 8.
At the start of the meeting, a letter from a community member was read to the members of the board. The letter criticized the board for its decision at the July meeting not to continue Summit Learning through seventh grade in Pioche. The letter stated that this decision did not benefit the students of the county and said that the board had succumbed to the public backlash from teachers and parents. It criticized Meadow Valley Middle School’s (MVMS) curriculum, citing the experiences of two students who have lost faith in the education they have received.
The letter noted that a significant number of classes offered at the school were exploratory and said that this was unnecessarily challenging for a middle school. The letter concluded by stating that the school had promised to make curriculum changes and should be held accountable for that promise.
Next, the board read a letter pertaining to Danielle Hafen’s resignation.
The board then took a moment to welcome its newest member, April Bradshaw, who stepped up to fill the position after the resignation of Tyson Mizer, and has expressed her excitement at the prospect of working to help improve and continue to build upon the education of the county’s students.
Next, Superintendent Pam Teel started off the school reports by saying that she had the chance to visit schools in both the southern and northern parts of the county and was very happy with their first contracted day of school. She reiterated the county’s new theme to the board, “Rise and Reach,” and encouraged faculty members to continue to improve and grow.
Teel also reported on an inquiry on behalf of board member Wade Poulsen to see what other options for implementing Summit Learning could look like. Due to the fact that MVMS was denied the chance to use Summit Learning, as well as the fact that there are no educators in the Panaca area who are approved to teach the curriculum, the options are few. The district decided to implement elements of Summit Learning into the middle school curriculum and is supported by Principal Cody Christensen in that decision.
Lastly, Teel informed the board that public speaker Collin Kartchner will be visiting the county in September. Kartchner comes very highly recommended, according to both Teel and Pete Peterson, the principal of Panaca Elementary. Kartchner’s main focus is on social media and the application of technology to daily life, specifically how it affects teenagers and young adults. He will be speaking at events on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. in Alamo and Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. in Panaca.
In other school reports, Panaca Elementary discussed its new chicken coop and greenhouse.
Lincoln County High School (LCHS) mentioned its new more restrictive cell phone policy, and the Alamo schools reviewed their new safety upgrades.
After this, the board approved the yearly excess equipment sales and then moved on to the fall sports schedules, where a few issues were brought up. Specifically, Peggy Rowe wanted to know why the LCHS volleyball team was missing so many days of school, since the entire school district changed to a fourday schedule specifically to avoid such inconveniences. Marty Soderborg, the principal at LCHS, explained that there just aren’t enough teams to have an ideal schedule, and that they need to keep the other schools’ schedules in mind as well. Pat Kelly noted that the LCHS football team traveled all the way to Battle Mountain for a mere scrimmage.
Soderborg explained that the two schools have an understanding that one year one team will travel to the other, and the next year the other team will do the same. Due to changes in the AA football schedule, this game was changed to a scrimmage, but the team still had to keep their end of the bargain if they wished to continue playing Battle Mountain.
Soderborg said that if the games were unacceptable, then the teams simply wouldn’t play, and while the board had very understandable concerns that missing this much school would be detrimental to the students’ academics, Soderborg noted that student athletes won awards for their academic status among different sports, and all team members had to pass weekly grade checks to play.
Despite these issues, the board approved the schedules and expressed the hope that the school would improve them the next time around.
Following this, the board approved the creation of two new positions: a paraprofessional in Pioche and a food service assistant in Alamo. Then, LCHS welcomed its new biology teacher, Jenny Mathews, as well as its new graphic arts/business management teacher, Michael Collins.
CO Bastian was pleased to welcome its new faculty member, Todd Packard, who will be taking over the English classes while pursuing his ARL (Alternative Route to Licensure) teaching certificate. Lastly, PVHS hired a new paraprofessional, Andy Linares.
With that, the board closed the meeting