Board approves mental health component

Jess Oaks
Posted 6/14/24

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County School District June board meeting was off to a late start on Tuesday, June 11. In attendance were board chairman, Michael Sussex, board vice chair, Sarah …

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Board approves mental health component


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County School District June board meeting was off to a late start on Tuesday, June 11. In attendance were board chairman, Michael Sussex, board vice chair, Sarah Chaires, treasurer, Carlos Saucedo, and board members Matthew Cushman, Justin Hurley and Wade Phipps as well as superintendent of public instruction, Ryan Kramer, director of curriculum and instruction, Kevin Derby. Board members Dylan Hager, Lena Moeller, and clerk, Chris Alexander were absent.

Prior to the board meeting, the board of trustees convened for an executive session and the regular board meeting was called to order at 7:09 p.m. followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Adjustments were made to the agenda and a motion was made to adopt the new agenda and the board quickly moved on to the information and proposal portion of the meeting where there was no schedule topic of conversation for the June meeting. 

During the public forum Tony Goulart spoke on FranklinCovey and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The board moved on to the consent agenda and a motion was made by Chaires to accept the consent agenda as presented. Saucedo seconded the motion which carried. 

Under old business, the board moved on to items a, approval of proposed revision to district policy 5131.21 (elementary district-wide discipline consequences) as presented on the second and final reading and b, approval of the proposed revision to district policy 5131.7 (interscholastic athletics and school activities) as presented on second and final reading which carried. 

Under new business, the board moved on to considering approval of offering contracts for the 2024-2025 school year. 

The board approved to offer contracts to Kyla Pierce as a secondary reading interventionist at Torrington Middle School, to Cydney Sharp as a special education teacher at Lingle Ft. Laramie, and to Jade Reinhardt as a half-time academic interventionist, pending certification. 

The board approved the late acceptance of resignations by certified staff members Katie Patrick (Trail Elementary Special Education), and Torrington High School math teacher, Jason Deiss and the board approved the contract with Bivens Construction for the demolition of the Torrington High School Tech Ed building and the little house. 

Moving on to item d on the agenda, the board approved the 2024-2025 student building handbooks as presented from Trail Elementary, Lingle Elementary, Lingle Middle and High School, and LaGrange Elementary. It was noted by Kramer, Southeast Schools appeared on the list in error and board members will receive the copies from each school in the mail. 

On item e, the board approved of proposed revisions to district policy 4140 (certified and professional staff fringe benefits) as presented on introduction and first reading and for item f, the board approved proposed revisions to district policy 4150, certified and professional staff leaves of absences.

Moving on to g, the board approved of proposed revisions to district policy 4230, classified fringe benefits and the board also approved of proposed revisions to district policy 4240 (classified staff leaves and absences) on item h. 

The board also approved revisions to district policy 4330 (medical leave bank), policy revisions for policy 4301(special education endorsement agreement) as well as the proposed new district policy 4275 (special education specialist assistant certificate agreement) as presented on the introduction and first readings.

Moving on to item l under new business of the agenda Tuesday evening, the board approved the proposed revisions to policy 5131.22 (student conduct - concise activity rules grades 6-12), item m, the proposed new district policy 1200 (parental rights) and item n, the proposed revisions to policy 9371 (board hearings/appeal procedures).

On item o, the board approved contracting with Renaissance Learning for the 2024-2025 school year in the amount of $26,967.37.

The board approved the contact for professional development services with The Writing Revolution for services during July and August 2024 for teachers and principals in the amount of $17,304.00, item p under new business and item q, contracting with Great Minds for district coaching and professional development. 

Moving on to new business item r, the board approved a purchase of math materials from Great Minds exceeding $5,000, in the amount of $38,579.28, and item s, contracting with Pearson for AIMSWEB renewal.

Under item t, the board approved the contract for 2024-2025 teletherapy speech services with TinyEYE Therapy Services. The board also approved contracting the Clover Therapy Services LLC on item u under new business. 

The board moved on to item v under new business where they voted to approve the contract with Brooke Carson LLC for autism and behavior consulting services. 

Under item w, the board approved a special education contract with ESU#13 for day program services for a student in the Meridian School.

On item x, the board approved a contract with Talkspace for district staff and students teletherapy mental health services. 

“I am just going to speak to this just real quick because it is very unique in the aspect that this is a staff service also available to our staff,” Kramer said. “Carlos, we have been talking about this for a number of years and this funding stream allows us to provide this for our staff and students. There are so fantastic programs within our community but sometimes that isn’t always the best avenue for all of our kids or for our staff and so by offering this, we are wanting to address some of the mental health needs of both of those groups via teletherapy and we’re able to offer that,” Kramer continued. 

The board moved on to item y, where they approved the contract with Qualtrics for survey services from July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025, and item z, where they approved a purchase of Ninjio Prodigy Plus licensing for staff cyber security training. 

The board moved on to item aa, where they approved the renewal of district Microsoft licensing from SHI and item bb, where the board voted to approve the purchase of 355 Chromebooks from Dell Technologies for district students.

Moving on to item cc, the board approved the renewal of district property, liability, and vehicle insurance premiums from July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025, with school risk retention program and item dd, where the board approved authorizing the district business manager to make payment of all fiscal year end bills no later than June 30 with information presented at the July 9 regular board meeting.

The board next moved on to item ee, where they approved offering a contact for halftime district gifted and talented coordinator to Lacy Krakow and item ff, where the board approved offering a contract to Kim Russell for district work-based learning coordinator. 

The board moved on to the last item under new business, item gg, where the board approved the math pilot program for algebra one at Lingle-Ft. Laramie High School.

Under item F, topics for discussion, Kramer provided the results of the board evaluation.

“What I am handing out to the board is the self-evaluation that is a semi-annual self-evaluation for the board. Trustees are asked to evaluate themselves on the self-evaluation and then as a group,” Kramer explained. 

The group went through the standards listed on the evaluation and entertained a discussion beginning with values and ethical behavior.

“There was one comment down at the bottom here a board member made,” Sussex said. “It said, ‘Unfortunately, there is still a disconnect between board behavior in our board and our board governance.’” 

Kramer express communication was important for the board, explaining there was always room for improvement. 

Under the leadership portion of the self-evaluation, Sussex read another board comment.

“I would like to see more participation discussion and unity from this board,” Sussex read.

“One of the things that I see on this, is just trying to figure out where that collective lie and then also those board work sessions,” Kramer said. “It’s really hard to find dates for nine members to be able to attend, that is tricky, but I think when we get to those leadership and those work sessions, it’s really important, just as important as the regular meeting for attendance,” Kramer continued. “I think it is important to try to find ways to articulate perspectives in a large group setting but also in a way that is not create or stir conflict but trying to share those perspectives in a way that’s also, you know, knowing that there’s other perspectives out there.” 

The board continued to review the self-evaluation, moving on to reviewing the category “communication” where the board chairman read the comment left by one of the board members on the evaluation.

“There is one comment and this section was missed by a board member,” Sussex explained. “He used a reflection of the Rawlins issue, ‘How do we trust the board with confidential information if we are not all committed to the same standards?’”

“This goes back to the first one I talked about where I was talking about having that communication piece we talked about,” Kramer said. “It’s in my evaluation too and I think it’s just collective all around.”

The board continued to review the self-evaluation before moving on the future meetings for the board.

During the superintendent’s report, Kramer gave an annual update on the 2023-2024 student drug testing.

“You’ll notice that this was a positivity rate of 2.96. Our positive rate last year was .9,” Kramer explained. “The interesting part of this is, last year we did change so I think last year was kind of an anomaly.”

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, July 9 at 7 p.m.