Dille resigns; art teacher hired

    As the 2018-19 school year comes to a close, personnel changes are in the works for 2019-20 in Holyoke School District Re-1J.
    At its May 2 meeting, the Board of Education accepted the resignation of Scott Dille, elementary school physical education teacher for the past 11 years.
    Additionally, the district moved forward with hiring in the art department following the retirement of JR/SR high art teacher Rhonda Smith.
    Current elementary school art teacher Jade Goldenstein will move to the JR/SR high, and Stephanie Rau of Imperial, Nebraska, was hired for the elementary art position.
    Rau earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art/interior design from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. With the Chase County, Nebraska, schools, Rau has been a substitute, English as a Second Language para, special education para, classroom aide and most recently, a teletherapy speech aide.
    Teacher contracts were renewed for 2019-20 at last week’s meeting. A resolution for nonrenewal of contract was approved for JR/SR high English teacher Megan McQuown, who was not rehired for the coming year.
    Four probationary teachers were moved to nonprobationary status. They are Lori Nelson, Kareen San Jose, Shauna Strecker and Melanie Wheeler.
    Probationary teachers who were approved for 2019-20 include Sarah Bergner, Danyell Coons, Aaron Cottam, Amy Duvall, Jimmy French, Jade Goldenstein, Charlee Kleve, Kathleen Kropp, Karen Ortner, Hannah Petersen and Tina Rana.
    Nonprobationary teacher renewals were made for Cyndi Bahler, Nic Balog, John Baumgartner, Cindi Beavers, Yesenia Bencomo, Kimberlee Bennett, Stefan Betley, Heather Bieber, Ashley Clayton, Marcia Dalton, Carly Daniel, Brittany Dirks, Sam Distefano, Kerri Gardner, Joann Goss, Wendy Grothman, Kaitlin Hansberry, Maury Kramer, Cristine Mallari, Chandra Parker, Kristie Pelle, Angie Powell, Tarah Priddy, Andrea Schlachter, Lynn Schneider, Theresa Tharp and Kari Vasa.
Tech committee looks at engagement vs. compliance
    Reporting for the technology committee, district technology coordinator Perry Ingram and technology assistant Chandra Parker highlighted student engagement emphasis.
    Parker said their focus for the year was that technology should not distract from the process of learning. Minds should be on the learning goal, not on the device used.
    They started with the teachers and where they felt they were with regard to technology. From there, they looked in the classrooms and found that students were not engaged in the technology but rather were just compliant in using it.
    For next year, the technology committee will be addressing how, as a staff, they can identify compliance versus engagement.
    “That will be our focal point,” added JR/SR high Principal Shane Walkinshaw. “We can’t go on to enhancement if we don’t have engagement at a high level.”
    The technology committee work came from the Student-Centered Accountability Program review last year, when the district was challenged to see if technology is enhancing learning.
    Citing the work of the technology department, Parker said all data has been moved from Alpine to Infinite Campus. They’ve created fillable forms for several plans, have upgraded the server, enabled cloud printing and are completing battery backups.
    She mentioned the use of Bark to monitor kids’ online usage, as well as actual text that they’re generating. On weekends, parents get the notifications of usage and can monitor it.
    Walkinshaw said he was a nonbeliever, but Bark has been a great addition. “It sends an actual screenshot of that questionable content,” he said.
    Superintendent Kyle Stumpf praised Parker and Ingram for the work they’ve done in “getting us caught up” with technology.
Social-emotional activities recapped
    Elementary school counselor Kathleen Kropp gave a recap of the social-emotional activities held for district learning this past year.
    She said that staff completed inservice training in the Generation School curriculum to get them more involved. While Kropp has implemented the curriculum in her dealings with all elementary students, she said individual teachers have done activities on their own, as well.
    Professional development continued mid-year by the same trainers, and they were scheduled to be back in the district May 6. Kropp said the staff completed a survey about the attitude of kids, and those were to be reviewed at the session this week. “We’ll problem-solve and see what the second year of the social-emotional grant looks like,” Kropp said of the anticipated May 6 program.
    Several staff members attended a nonviolence crisis training dealing with protocol for handling threat assessments. Other training prepared staff to deal with any type of crisis tragedy. Stumpf said the training for age appropriateness for discussions was very informative.
    The whole district has professional development online, added Kropp. The basics of trauma and implementation of strategies are addressed. Videos and discussion boards provide an interactive process for what teachers can use in classrooms every day to deal with students coming in with trauma injuries.
    Kropp, elementary Principal Andrea Kammer and JR/SR high counselor Angie Powell attended a threat assessment symposium.
    At the elementary school, Kropp said, they’ve been training staff on the difference between normal conflict and bullying. They’re ready to roll that information out to parents.
    Walkinshaw said the high school did social-emotional training around teen suicide. They’re looking to develop peer leaders in the student body.
    Stumpf added that they’re trying to extend the training to coaches, bus drivers, custodians and more, as sometimes those are the staff members who see the kids at the beginning and ending of the day when social-emotional factors are key.
Other business
    In other business at the May 2 meeting, the school board:
    — Heard an impressive report from 21st century skills class member Jacky Mosqueda, who detailed her “How do you Clique?” project for the year. It included the year’s activities, culminating in the previous week’s Random Acts of Kindness Day that the student body embraced in community service.
    — Noted that Kurt Purkey­pile, Uriel Bencomo and Russell Heier are new members of the FFA advisory committee and acknowledged appreciation for the contributions of long-time retiring board members Keith Sagehorn and Tim Ortner.
    — Looked at preliminary budget figures for 2019-20, noting that final adjustments will be made for budget review at the May 21 meeting.
    — Cited several potential topics for upcoming work sessions. Neenan Archistruction reps will be returning for a more formal presentation of their master facility plan options. Board members also said they would like to see some discussion regarding a bond or mill levy election and whether they should start working on either for a November ballot question.
    — Reviewed revised sample policies from the Colorado Association of School Boards on the subjects of staff health, staff personal security and safety, admission of nonimmigrant foreign exchange students and public’s right to know/freedom of information.
    — Gave second-reading approval to the following policies originally presented April 2: financial administration, student distribution of noncurricular materials and student organizations.

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