Science students enthusiastic about “flipped” classroom
By Patty Unruh
The Gilpin County Board of Education had its regular meeting December 15. Present were President Craig Holmes, Brook Ramsey, Charlotte Taylor, Kersten Armstrong, and Steve Boulter. Also present were Superintendent David MacKenzie, Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson, and Elementary Principal Scott Eldred.
Caleb Murphy, age ten, was the December recipient of the Gilpin County RE-1 Board of Education Artist Recognition award, for his “Mustache Monthly” magazine cover self-portrait. Caleb explained, “I drew myself wearing a straw hat and a Fu Manchu mustache.” Art teacher Curt Halsted said groups of students collaborated on ideas for magazine covers, and this was the idea Caleb’s group came up with.
Ella Lindenthaler, age eight, was the November artist. She was unable to be present, but was honored for her self-portrait also.
Congratulations and Celebrations
Donaldson thanked the middle school choir for singing at the Gilpin senior citizen’s Thanksgiving luncheon. Holmes added that the group sang well at the Winter Arts Festival at the Gilpin Community Center and the Tommyknocker celebration for the elementary students at the Teller House on December 6.
Holmes presented a $5,000 check from his company as a donation to the Gilpin County Education Foundation (GCEF). Holmes is president of the GCEF; Superintendent MacKenzie, a member of the Board of GCEF, accepted the donation on the Foundation’s behalf.
Secondary science teacher Victoria Stephens was present with three members of her class to field questions from the Board about their “flipped” classroom, a model in which the traditional lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed.
Cooper Lindberg, Blake Boulter, and Courtney Holmes explained their experiences.
Blake said, “I like the flipped classroom. We can work at our own pace and get ahead.”
Cooper noted, “We’re always moving forward. If we don’t get something at home, we can ask the teacher the next day.” He explained that students can check their own proficiency level by the rating they receive on questions they answer. He talked about a lab done recently on Newton’s third law.
Stephens commented that the flipped model doesn’t work with every student. She uses more traditional methods with some students, but says the flipped arrangement works well for those who are self-motivated.
MacKenzie praised Stephens as an excellent teacher and one who is depended on to train other teachers.
Certification of Mill Levies
The Board certified that the 2015 Mill Levy (for the assessment year 2014) shall be 7.951 mills. $11,652,590 will be appropriated for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2015.
2014-15 Revised Budget
Business Manager Terry Scharg presented her report and the revised budget for 2014-15. The Board accepted her report and adopted the revised budget, including the November financial statements.
General fund total revenue is shown at $4,914,915; expenses are shown at $4,914,915. Revenue for November was $117,502. Expenses for November were $317,235.
Scharg noted several significant changes from the budget prepared last June.
Changes in general fund revenue were $130,374, as follows:
Miscellaneous revenue was increased by $9,500 to $22,500, due to funds received from the County that had been held for the past several years.
$17,658 was received in additional state funding through the READ Act.
State equalization increased from $1.99 million to $2.17 million as a funding adjustment because of the student count of 373.
$7,500 was received in additional state funding through a grant.
$14,810 was transferred from the bond fund for the final payment and close-out of the bond account.
The specific ownership item was reduced from $190,000 to $163,000, a decrease of $27,000, per current and prior year receipts.
Preschool tuition was reduced by $20,000, because there are not as many preschoolers this year.
An additional $7,400 was transferred to food service from the general fund, so that the total transferred was $88,380. Scharg noted a revenue decrease of $2,200 and an expense increase of $5,200. The apparent reason was that students don’t like the new lower-calorie offerings required by federal guidelines, and they aren’t getting enough to eat. Middle school students receive the same size portions as elementary students. Some students are bringing their own lunches. Holmes suggested that food services director Jane Yerkman might visit Boulder Valley, which he said is doing a good job, to get ideas on ways to more efficiently and creatively meet federal guidelines.
An additional $16,760 was transferred to the transportation fund, bringing that to a total of $124,563 transferred. The addition of baseball, track, and wrestling teams, with a need for more bus usage, accounted for the increase. Extra was also needed for tires and insurance.
$32,569 was transferred to capital projects to cover decreased tech expenses of $32,697; additional expenses for a small vehicle payoff of $15,250 on a 2014 GMC Yukon for student transporation; a gym sound system of $6,000; and a bleacher device for $27,500.
Changes in general fund expenses were $130,491, as follows:
READ Act professional development was increased to reflect additional state funding of $17,658.
$4,191 was shown for mentors for new staff.
$10,000 was added for online high school textbooks.
$20,500 was added in adjustments for special education tuition for student attendance at Clear Creek.
$10,500 was returned to the budget for lower student attendance than estimated at Warren Tech.
$20,000 was added in computer hardware and software maintenance and upgrades.
An expense of $4,000 for wax for the new gym’s floor was added in custodial supplies.
Additional equipment maintenance and repairs included $6,000 for hot water repairs; $1,400 for flood light; $15,000 for glycol repairs; and $5,000 for water injection point, for a total of $27,400.
Personnel changes were $46,750 additional in tech purchased services and $35,205 less for tech coordinator’s salary.
$8,987 was added in stipends for GT staff ($7,500 funded by a BOCES grant).
$16,710 was added for Chromebooks for students.
The Board approved a contract for Sharon Lutes as science fair sponsor; a hiring contract for Aria Knaus, half-time paraprofessional for the traditional kindergarten; and a hiring contract for Shawn Braning, custodian.
School Calendar Draft
The Board reviewed drafts of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 calendars on first reading. The 2015-16 calendar shows a student start of August 10 and finish of May 26. Two drafts of a 2016-17 calendar were reviewed; the favored version showed a student start of August 8 and finish of May 25. A second reading and adoption of the calendars will occur during the January 20 meeting.
MacKenzie distributed information about a new marquee that would fit in the existing sign posts in front of the school. The custodians would install the marquee, and an electrician would connect it. The marquee scrolls and is backlit at night. Sarah Swanson is working on obtaining donations for the sign, although the full amount is included in the budget the Board approved. A vote will be taken at the next meeting, with the project likely slated for next spring.
MacKenzie reported that teacher training is in progress, including technology workshops, formative assessment training, how to teach reading and literacy, and plans for Technology Boot Camp.
Work continues on upgrading and restoring the computer network. Final upgrade will be the installation of new wireless access points, to be completed January 15.
Bids are being considered on an upgrade for windows in the elementary school, with safety film to be installed on all ground level windows. A grant application for the window upgrade will be submitted in January.
Secondary Principal’s Report
Donaldson said scholarship packets will go out with the seniors before the holiday break.
Middle school boys’ basketball team placed first and second at recent tournaments, and the girls’ basketball team placed second.
Donaldson attended the AVID national conference last week and will be working with the school’s AVID site team on some new ideas for the program. She is excited to transform the students to digital binders.
Staff attended the final training of “Technology Instruction that Works.”
Elementary Principal’s Report
Eldred expressed appreciation for an outpouring of community support, noting that the Isle of Capri made Christmas donations for 12 families, and an anonymous group had adopted three families with food and gifts.
Ellen Hunter, literacy specialist from the Colorado Department of Education, has been meeting with the staff to support professional development in reading.
Mary Romke from the Center for Transforming Learning and Teaching observed several teachers last week to provide professional development support in formative assessment and establishing student success criteria.
The Colorado Department of Human Services will conduct a routine site visit in the next couple of months.
A staff meeting was held on improving elementary report cards. Teachers will be given training on efficient use of the Infinite Campus grade book.
Teachers were to view a presentation on December 17 by a cohort group of teachers on using technology with classroom instruction.
Staff members are preparing for the winter STAR Interim/Benchmark assessments. The information will be used for future intervention and extension lessons.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7 p.m.