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Gilpin School closes out an interesting year

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School Board optimistic for a fresh new year of hybrid learning in 2021

By Curt Halsted

On December 15th Gilpin County School District held their last school board meeting of the 2020 school year. The meeting opened with a moment of silence for two lost Gilpinites, Cody and Shelby Allen. Cody began attending Gilpin schools in his early childhood and is a 2009 graduate of Gilpin County High School. Cody can be remembered by Gilpin students and staff as being a fun loving, kind, and dedicated student. The school board recognized the Allen family as an important part of the Gilpin community.

Kellie Bayne shared congratulations with elementary staff Kathy Kelly and Linda Sypert for coordinating the creation of 53 food boxes for the Gilpin County Food Bank.

Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson congratulated the football team and All-State and Honorable Mention athletes.

Elementary Principal Heather Huntoon shared that the new Chromebooks for preschool through first grade have a touchscreen and are working well. This technology will greatly enhance the student’s opportunity to do remote learning when necessary.

Miss Huntoon also shared that newly hired Education Assistant Garrett Hoffman is amazing and doing a great job. Kids love him and so do the teachers.

The board meeting continued into official business. The minutes from the November 17 board meeting, the work session on December 6th, and consent items we’re all passed unanimously. Records from these events can be found on the Gilpin County School website.

Business Manager Terry Scharg provided a financial report comparing the 2018/19 audit to the 2019/20 audit. She reported that revenue was up $200,000 while expenses were up $400,000. The school now has more capital assets, and funds were transferred to address the offset. Board member Sarah Swanson commented that Ms. Scharg’s comments matched the report and “we were in good shape and things haven’t really changed.”

Sarah continued to read the changes to special policies which passed unanimously. The changes were formalities to reflect changes in wording to adapt to new CASB guidelines and how staff can manage their accrued sick leave days. The board also passed the generator site lease from United Power.

Next the mill levy certification was approved at the board meeting. The new mill levy certification form shows what the district’s taxes were before and then there is a tax credit that takes it down to the current mill levy for programming, which was certified by the Board. The State wants all districts to be more transparent and show these numbers going forward. The total mill levy for programming was 4.075, with the total mills including mill levy overrides, transportation, and abatements coming to approximately 6.91 mills.

During the Secondary Principal’s Report, Ms. Donaldson reported that the students are ending the semester and having exams. Juniors and sophomores are working to meet new graduation requirements by taking the ASVAB. Students are also being encouraged to apply for scholarships by deadlines.

In the Elementary Principal’s Report Ms. Huntoon shared how remote and traditional learning is going. With new concerns over coronavirus transmission, 13 students have transferred from in-person learning to remote learning online. Three of those students were new enrollments. There are a handful of students enrolled in remote learning who are not engaging well, and the school is working with the parents to get those students to attend in person. She also shared that Technology Instructor Patrick Linnehan has received more training in CDLS (Colorado Digital Learning Solutions). The Elementary currently has nine students using the program. Ms. Huntoon also reported that they have enrolled in Lexia, a language arts learning program with built in assessment and individualized instruction. Now all kindergarteners are using the program to close the gap with early readers. Ms. Huntoon finally commented that we need substitute teachers. Dr. Dave and Heather have been substituting in art while Mr. Halsted is on family and medical leave. I must say they did an excellent job incidentally.

Board president Steve Boulter asked Ms. Donaldson about the number of students who shifted from in-person learning to remote learning online in the middle school and high school. She reported that 10 students have switched back to remote learning, and five of the students taking the state-supported Colorado Digital Learning Solutions (CDLS) supplemental online learning program are coming back to in-person learning in January. By and large, she said that 75% of remote students are really engaged, although some are struggling and will be changing to the CDLS program next semester.

At 7:38 pm the meeting was adjourned.

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