Walkinshaw to take reins at JR/SR high

    Arickaree superintendent/principal Shane Walkinshaw will start as principal at Holyoke JR/SR High July 1, with the retirement of current principal Susan Ortner.
    Walkinshaw’s contract was approved at the April 3 meeting of the Board of Education, and he and his wife, Sara, were in attendance to greet the full board.
    His first-year contract with Holyoke School District Re-1J was approved at a salary of $78,000.
    Walkinshaw started as a physical education teacher at Arickaree in 2005. He has been principal since 2013 and assumed the additional superintendent duties in 2015.
    He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in kinesiology with emphasis on K-12 physical education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 2002. His Master of Arts in educational leadership from Adams State University in Alamosa was awarded in 2014.
    
Social media policy considered
    Social media policy discussion was included in a work session on policies prior to last week’s board meeting. Jefferson County School District policy and Facebook wording were cited for a potential starting point for Holyoke School District.
    Moving forward, the board agreed to use the Jeffco guidelines as a beginning. In particular, the board liked the Jeffco note that indicates the school district reserves the right to delete submissions/comments that contain such things as vulgar language, personal attacks, etc.
    
Citizen opposes school-sponsored trapshooting team
    Having reviewed the information about the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the recent request to have a trapshooting team affiliated with HHS, Jes-c French addressed the board at last week’s meeting with regard to her concern for the school being affiliated with such a team.
    She noted that this is a time in history when students are speaking up about their fears of gun violence — specifically in schools. She added that her concern is with the implications associated with exposure to guns. She referenced numerous studies that have demonstrated a link between suicide and gun exposure.
    French acknowledged that the SCTP has a compelling list of benefits, ranging from insurance to scholarships, and pointed out that National Rifle Association grants are available for youth shooting programs without the school being involved.
    She questioned whether the responsibility of sponsoring a team might be better suited for an outside organization such as a 4-H club, Scout troop or gun club.
    
Parent-teacher conference turnouts reported
    JR/SR High Principal Ortner and Elementary School Principal Kyle Stumpf reported on the turnouts at the recent parent-teacher conferences in the district.
    Ortner noted that 64 percent of the scheduled conferences were attended, and 58 parents met with additional staff members for 137 conferences.
    She added that attendance at scheduled conferences was up 3 percent from last spring and within 4 percent from last fall. The 137 walk-in conference number was up from 122 last spring and down from 188 last fall.
    Stumpf told the board that 315 parent-teacher conferences were scheduled at the elementary school, with a turnout of 92 percent. He emphasized that the 8 percent not attending represents only a handful of students.
    As part of the conference procedure, five translators were available to assist with communication for Spanish-speaking conferences at the elementary school, Stumpf added.
    
Other business
    In other business April 3, the Re-1J board:
    —Approved Rhonda Smith and Amanda Skinner as junior high assistant track coaches.
    —Held a 48-minute executive session at the close of the meeting with Superintendent John McCleary and next year’s superintendent Stumpf to address individual student matters.
    —Heard a report from McCleary on a summer project for lighting in the auditorium. An anticipated $15,000-$17,000 total cost was cited, including a new board and lights. The project includes $10,000 from the Heginbotham Trust.
    —Approved first reading of Colorado Association of School Boards policies on professional staff recruiting/hiring, support staff positions, support staff recruiting/hiring, admission and denial of admission, grading/assessment system, extracurricular activity eligibility, suspension/expulsion of students and immunization of students.
    —Approved second reading on CASB policies previously addressed at the March 22 meeting.

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