by Bill Knowles
LA VETA- The school board approved 5-0 to renew the contracts for the district’s Business Manager Toni Brgoch and the K-12 Counselor Rick Sciacca for the 2011-2012 school year.
The board also voted to accept, “with regret,” the resignation of Athletic Director Kent Smith effective May 13. Smith has been the Athletic Director for La Veta school for a year and has been coaching girl’s high school basketball for the past seven years. For more details see related story on page 9.
Also approved 5-0 were the contracts of probationary teachers Rachel Rheuby, Amber Smelser, and Andrea Taylor. Contracts for probationary teachers Nathan Gevelinger, Heath Higgins and Deanna Oberheu will be considered during the regular school board meeting May 23.
Brandon Laird was hired for the 2011-2012 school year as an elementary teacher. Laird holds a B.A. in English and Literature from Colorado State University, Fort Collins and an M.A. in Education and Curriculum Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.
RE-2 received correspondence from Program Director Michaela Taylor of River Watch. The letter acknowledged the work of Pat Keeling and Rita Kasper and the quality of work that students at La Veta have completed and their understanding of all the associated protocols of the River Watch program.
River Watch is a statewide water quality monitoring and assessment program. La Veta junior and senior high schools are active members in the program. A visit by one of the program’s staff members to test and certify the students involved found that the students displayed confidence and complete understanding of the program.
Protocols the students understand and use include field sampling streams and rivers in the Cucharas River basin along with the analysis of the samples in the lab. All of the students involved passed the evaluations and have received certificates of accomplishment. Data collected by the students is used by the Water Quality Control Commission to set nutrient standards in the basin.
Point source dischargers such as waste water treatment plants and non-point source dischargers such as storm water run-off and agricultural sources introduce extra nitrogen and phosphorus into the river. River Watch data is important in decisions that determine regulation of pollutants.
In another matter, RE-2 Superintendent Bree Lessar told school board members that La Veta middle school and high school coaches have been certified for concussion recognition in their student athletes. Senate Bill 11-040 was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on March 29, 2011 and is called the “Jake Snakeberg Youth Concussion Act,” and requires each coach of a youth activity to complete an annual concussion recognition course.
Budget discussions centered around costs versus results in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Earlier discussions had focused on half-day classes however studies indicate that preschool and kindergarten are instrumental in building basic academic skills. And students who have been exposed to preschool and kindergarten are usually reading at grade level by third grade.
That is an important benchmark in the academic life of a student. If students read at grade level by third grade, they will perform better academically. However students who fail to reach grade level reading will start falling behind. No decisions were made, however discussion and consensus indicate that preschool and kindergarten classes will continue to be from 7:50 am until 2 pm for the 2011-2012 school year.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward