by Susan Simons
LA VETA — The La Veta School Board met Monday, Feb 13.
In the Administrator’s report, Superintendent Bree Lessar updated the board on the School Safety Task Force which is working with the district. The task force includes the following: Huerfano County Office of Emergency Management, La Veta Marshall’s office, Huerfano County Sheriff’s office, La Veta Emergency Response Team, La Veta Fire Protection District.
The group will install a Knox Box on campus, an indestructible lock box which will hold the district’s keys so the safety task force can retrieve them in case of emergency. Also, the task force has been working to obtain 1-3 AED defibrillators for the district. Lessar announced that Spanish Peaks Regional Hospital will be donating an AED unit to the district in the coming weeks. Board President Sam Law voiced the board’s appreciation for the gift.
Superintendent Lessar also explained in her report how important it is for the district that all students complete the Colorado Assessment Testing Program, called TCAP (not CSAP) this year. “Since every student represents approximately 6% of his or her class, it’s vitally important that our kids not only complete the assessment, but do so to the best of their ability,” said Lessar. The data from the tests is important feedback for parents and teachers, and it is also used to make policy and budget decisions about schools. All students in grades 3-10 will take the tests beginning March 13. Third grade reading, only, will be tested February 28-29.
Junior high and high school students will be actively participating in the Two Peaks, One Book program this year The students will read the book, Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, participate in the events offered at the La Veta Library, and the high school’s American Literature class will offer a multi-media project presentation on Monday, March 12 at 5:30 pm at LVHS.
In other announcements, on March 1 the district will celebrate Dr. Suess’ birthday by participating in the Read Across America program. The same day, pre-school and kindergarten will host a tea party for parents. Superintendent Lessar has opened a Twitter account to provide a new way for the community to communicate with school administration. The spring calendar will be ready when the baseball schedule is confirmed.
Grant writer Gaye Davis spoke about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers five-year grant opportunity. She received 76 parent responses to a community survey about the grant opportunities and there was 100% interest in participating in the programs. The grant will serve high school and junior high students as well as transitioning sixth grade students. The district will be notified by April 1, 2012 if their proposal has been funded. `
The learning centers will be expected to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities as well as activities designed to complement the student’s regular academic program. Priority areas for the grant competition are science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. Recipients must develop project-based and service-learning programs to be offered during non-school hours or times when school is not in session.
If the district is awarded the grant, preliminary plans would include two 3-week sessions of summer school with a 1-week break in between and 30 weeks of after-school programs in five separate 6-week sessions. Community partners might include SPRHC, TSJC, and other community resources that emphasize career paths and learning experiences in the STEM areas.
The district has authorized acceptance of a small funding award from Race To The Top, federal monies awarded to states which are then distributed to local districts. Although the amount is small, it is the exact amount needed to participate in a DIBELS support program for Language Learners. DIBELS is a testing service for K-3 Language Arts, who tests three times a year. Based on analysis of testing scores, DIBELS can put together a 10-day program targeted to the needs of an individual student which then may lead to a retest and a further 10-day supportive program.
Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) has been reviewing district policies and has recommended that the district add a Bereavement Policy for staff who will request time off at the loss of a family member. Wendy Waldrop was hired as head cook for the rest of the school year, Ron Ortivez, Jr. and Jesse Martinez were approved as track coaches, and Mike Perry was approved as substitute custodian.
The board will meet next on Feb. 27 at 5:30 pm at the La Veta High School Library.
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