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Gilpin Schools will offer in-person and online programs

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March 16th Gilpin County School Board Meeting

By Curt Halsted

With Spring Break right around the corner, the Gilpin County School Board met for a quick meeting. To start things off, Superintendent Dr. David MacKenzie celebrated teacher vaccinations, a good review of the district’s transportation department from the state, and the continuation of the USDA’s supplemental funding allowing the district to offer free school lunches through September of 2021. Elementary Principal Heather Huntoon celebrated that several teachers are taking students on virtual “In-School Field Trips” as a way to enhance their learning with outside experts.

Amendment of Policy to Support Students who are Transgender or Gender Nonconforming

The current policy, which was initiated in 2017, was amended to designate some of the existing single toilet restrooms in the school as gender nonspecific for use by students and staff who preferred that level of privacy.

Assessment Drives Learning in the Elementary School

Ms. Huntoon shared that teacher student conferences were a success. She shared a letter from a parent praising the student led conferences, a form of conference where the students share their successes and how they learn throughout the day during the conference time. Huntoon was happy that fifteen students met grade level expectations and graduated from title one programs. She also shared that many students are participating in Tier II Lexia, a program which addresses learning gaps. State testing this year will also be used as a baseline tool for teachers, and because of the pandemic will not be tied to accreditation.

Dr. MacKenzie followed Ms. Huntoon’s sharing that students continue to come back to in-person learning with an announcement that for the 2021/2022 school year the district will be offering two programs: In-person learning and online learning. He said that when he presented that to the District Accountability Committee they were supportive to the proposal.

Salary Benefits and Budget Discussion

Dr. MacKenzie provided a summary of the reports with salary proposals provided by staff during the Meet and Confer Meeting between school staff, administration and the school board held on March 10th. Teacher’s provided a comparable but different salary schedule proposing the use of 5%-6% of reserve funds to meet it. Montessori teachers suggested that Montessori Endorsements be treated as a master’s degree equivalent on the pay scale. Jane Yerkman reported for classified staff. She asked that the Board consider re-designating the Food Service Manager position to a title of Food Service Director with a $5,000 increase. She shared that transportation employees were satisfied with their current pay scale. Administrative Assistants asked for an increase in their salary schedule. The board adjourned the regular session after proceeding to an executive session to discuss salaries and the budget.

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