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Two first places Destination Imagination trophies

Gardner sends two teams to State Championship Tournament

by Dan Harper
WALSENBURG — Gardner Principal Pam Levie and volunteer Liz Schneider took two teams to the Regional Destination Imagination (DI) competition on March 10th. To their delight, both teams took 1st place and will be going to the State Tournament.  Gardner School has a long history of participation in DI.  On April 7 thirteen local particiants, two coaches and two additional volunteers will travel to Denver for the state tournament. Fundraisers and possible donations from the Gardner School Foundation will help to fund this trip.  The board approved the overnight trip needed to get the teams to state.
Superintendent Mike Moore recognized Manuel Lujan for the work he put in to make the autism workshop on March 10 a success.
Director Jaye Sudar reported on the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) winter conference.  She gave a number of points rural schools are working on such as: effective emergency messaging throughout the district and community, a student based town hall, opportunities for the public to meet weekly with board members, partnering with the community for life skills classes, and helping students better navigste online class websites.
President Sherry Gomez reminded the board the tri-board social meeting of the Aguilar, La Veta, and RE-1 school boards will be Thursday, March 15 at 5:30 pm at La Plaza.  Randy Black from CASB and Michelle Murphy of the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance are expected to attend.
Hailey Shae McClure, Director of Community Engagement at Great Education Colorado presented information on a number of efforts to better fund education in Colorado.  Working with Colorado Education Network as well as Great Ed. Colorado, McClure presented a 20 minute program on the effort to achieve equity and adequacy of funding in education. The World Journal will have a more in-depth article on this complex issue in next week’s edition.
JMHS Principal Gunnison Pagnotta, JMHS academic advisor/ counselor Jacki Benner, and Dana Lambert updated the Board on the Charter School Summit & Career Academies of America.  This is a charter school that the district is looking into to help students bridge the gaps in their education.  President Gomez and several board members requested a workshop to provide them with a better understanding on how this might impact the district.  Concerns were brought up about finances, student count and general workings.
The senior class representatives and Nate Tauer updated the board on the 3-on-3 basketball fundraiser to be held March 24.  This will be held at John Mall and will have youth, high school and adult groups.  Entrance is $10.  The fundraiser will benefit the senior class trip.
JMHS Panther Brigade marching band fundraising for performance at Disneyland
Ben Pollack, head of the RE-1 Music Department,  updated the board on the John Mall High School Panther Brigade’s mattress fundraiser.  This fundraiser is to benefit the band trip to California in 2019.  The idea is to turn a gym or storefront into a mattress store for a day.  Daniel’s Towing has offered their building at the corner of 5th and Main (the former Unfug Hardware building) for the event to be held May 20.  More information will be forthcoming in the World Journal and on Facebook.  He also gave a brief listing of all the activities the various JMHS and Peakview instrumental and choral music groups are working on between now and the end of school.  Check with the high school, or go to the music departments website,,  for a full list.
Max Moll, student representative to the board reported on student life at JMHS.  The band program is growing and has a good reputation.  Student council, which in the fall had no officers, recently elected Moll as president, and he is working with other student councils across the state to work on making the JMHS council better.  He also had good things to say about the new math teacher, Crystal Rauch, and how well math classes were going.
In other business
Superintendent Moore spoke about the CMAS testing schedule, parental notifications and the Opt Out program.  He also reminded the administrative staff that coding errors must be kept to a minimum this year.  Last years errors nearly cost the district accreditation ratings.
The board approved crowd funding Policy JJE-R-2, previously designated JJE-R-1, on a second reading.  There were slight edits given by Colorado Association of School Board (CASB)policy staff.
Policy IKE, Ensuring All Students Meet Standards was discussed and was passed on a first reading. Edits in language, and an appeal process were to be worked on before the next reading.
In other business, the board accepted a letter of resignation at the end of the year for Michelle Isom, a first grade teacher at Peakview, approved Bob Benner and JP Nix as volunteer coaches for John Mall High School baseball, approved Briana Upton as a volunteer track coach and added John Copeland as a volunteer for John Mall.
Superintendent Moore handed out information on the latest developments on PERA, told of the success of the autism training and a meeting he will attend on Tuesday concerning a teacher degree program at Trinidad State Jr. College.