by Nelson Holmes
GARDNER- I had the honor of attending the Huerfano School District Re-1 Board Meeting and Gardner School open house Tuesday evening and, once again, I came away impressed. The variety and reach of the student projects, and the obvious cultivation of the students’ curiosity, are evidence of a working educational strategy. And the fact that so many within the community assist in these varied programs reaffirms my belief that Gardner School should be considered a model of education done right.
The meeting was a businesslike affair with the action items addressed in efficient manner. Personnel issues were addressed and all teachers not retiring will have their contracts renewed for the following year. All the instructional aides and cooks were terminated, as per standard procedure, and will be re-hired at the beginning of the next term. The board also accepted the resignation of John Mall janitor Albert Siders.
The contract for the construction of the new sports complex was awarded to Acorn Construction. It was also mentioned by Superintendent Doyle that Dept. of Local Affairs grant monies, in the amount of $350,000, were awarded to help cover the cost of the new building. What is interesting is that DOLA requested that the grant proposals be presented by students from their respective districts. Though many districts came away empty-handed, Hallie Homerding ably presented the case for Huerfano Re-1. Miss Homerding was cited as a major component in the success of the proposal. Also, the board is beginning the search for an architect to plan the renovation of the Gardner School kitchen and cafeteria.
Superintendent Doyle also revealed the results of the CSAP scores and said that he was very pleased with student performance. Noting that there is still room for improvement, Doyle mentioned that the district scores outshined those of many other counties in the state and he was proud of both the students and their instructors.
The 8th grade “shadow day” where Gardner students spent the day with student mentors at John Mall High School was proclaimed a success. Of the ten students moving on from Gardner School, 6 will attend John Mall, 1 will attend school in Westcliffe, one in La Veta and 2 will begin the ONE program.
Those concerned with the future of the music program need not worry as a new instructor has been approved. Elizabeth Bausili, a recent graduate of Oral Roberts University, was unanimously approved and will begin her tenure next year.
In an emotional moment, John Mall Principal Trudy Vader, read a synopsis of the school year written by one of the teachers. The poignant note emphasized the unity of purpose and the, very positive and supportive, teaching environment that has been cultivated at the school.