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Accountability committee reports to La Veta School Board

by Caitlin Dunn

LA VETA — At the March 28 meeting of the La Veta School Board, Eddie Smith of the accountability committee gave a report and said, “the first thing I’m going to do is ask for money.” Smith said the committee had been discussing the alumni association, and it wants to make the school “a better place.” He also mentioned Career Day, which is a La Veta Schools-organized day for alumni to speak to current students about career paths. The accountability committee wants students to believe they “can be whatever [they] want to be,” and Smith added they would like to instill in students that they are able to go to any college. “We don’t want any student to say they can’t go to college for any reason,” said Smith. He proposed a $2,000-$3,000 line item in the budget that would go to college-related activities, such as out-of-state college fairs and tours of both four-year and two-year colleges. Superintendent Bree Lessar said this is already being placed into effect, although not as a recognized or official item. “There’s nothing really new there,” Lessar said.

Smith said that many students may not be able to prepare themselves unless LVHS helps them. He mentioned programs for students in grades 5 to 12 and their parents. These include: career awareness; what to expect from middle, junior high, and high school; programs for alumni to speak to students; off-site career fairs; family engagement and parent night; future planning; affording college; ACT preparation; life away from home; extracurricular programs; student behavior; importance of grades; scholarships; community service and its benefits; parent counseling; the possibility of trade schools; and choosing a job.

Board president Ed Donovan announced that Shaylee Andreatta, Kinley Coe, Grace Foster, Olivia Krinsky, and M’Kinna Lee Smith were each inducted into the La Veta chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). Lessar then explained the requirements for remaining in NHS, saying each student has a responsibility to maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average. “We’re very proud of this particular organization,” Lessar added.

Lessar spoke about Unified Improvement Planning. “The Unified part of this has never been unified,” she said, and added that the school’s strategic plan has been “standing out and alone” for about three years. Lessar expressed the need for a unified planning process. A few components she stressed were a focus on student achievement, educator effectiveness, resource allocation, priorities, and board/ administration responsibility for means and ends.

The board approved a policy on staff schedules and calendars and adopted the 2016-2017 school master calendar. Lessar mentioned that coordinating calendars with other schools has been discussed with the Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) for several years. For instance, the spring breaks may not line up. “With BOCES, it’s really important to have the same spring break,” said board vice-president Eleanor Foley.

Board member Cindy Campbell mentioned time management in meetings. “If we’re more efficient with our time, then folks might be more inclined to [sit in],” she said. Campbell also noted that, as a presenter at other meetings, she likes knowing how much time she has to speak. The board planned to put this suggestion into effect.