The Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education received feedback from community listening sessions held earlier this spring during its Monday work session.
The focus areas of the three April sessions were grouped into four categories: student learning and performance; strengthening partnerships; Climate & Culture and Operational & Organizational Effectiveness.
Community members provided the district and board of education with 24 pages of advice and feedback on each category.
One comment offering advice on the climate and culture of the district read: “Make a conscious and strategic effort to ensure there is a diverse voice at the table when making decisions. We all have blind spots, but when we invite multiple perspectives into the problem-solving process, we end up with solutions that work for almost everyone.”
Several other comments focused on parental involvement and improving parental engagement. Giving students and teachers a voice was a priority, as was diversity, support for teachers and staff, and transparency.
Jefferson High School on 4-day work weeks
With support from students, parents, teachers, and the administration of Jefferson High School, the Board of Directors approved the school’s transition to a four-day workweek this year.
Jefferson, an alternative high school for students who have not succeeded in a traditional high school because of learning disabilities or behavior problems, will transition to a Monday-Thursday school week.
Jefferson High students will attend six classes on these days from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and will already be joining the Greeley-Evans Alternative Program/NEXT Greeley-Evans students in a four-day week. Jefferson students have time on Friday to seek teacher help. The teacher contracts are the same.
Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools Anthony Asmus said one of the reasons for the change was to give Jefferson students the opportunity to accelerate credits to improve attendance and on-time graduation rates (in four years).
“It came from the kids,” added Larry Green, principal of Jefferson High, in a note to the board. “Every time we present the kids with a problem and they come up with a solution, ‘Okay, let’s try it and see if it works.’ I think it will be good for all children.”
Consent Agenda Questions
A large number of items were on the approval agenda at Monday’s meeting. Five of the 24 points were extracted for further consideration and discussion at the request of board members Taylor Sullivan and Rob Norwood.
A consent agenda is a portion of an organization’s meeting agenda where similar items are bundled and voted on in one motion and without discussion.
The five items totaled just over $16 million. Two of the issues Sullivan challenged concerned the building of bonds at Franklin Middle and Northridge High Schools.
The $4.3 million at Franklin was an addendum to the original contract with Adolfson & Peterson Construction of Fort Collins for renovation and expansion. An AP-approved $9.75 million budget for construction and renovations at Northridge includes an upgraded HVAC, secure vestibule, new flooring, auditorium upgrades, and lab and classroom renovations.
Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Kent Henson said the board approved front end work at Northridge for $21,000 and $12,647 on Monday.
The Franklin work was approved by the district’s Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and paid for with bond proceeds — allowing the school to eliminate portable classrooms and create office space.
Superintendent Deirdre Pilch described the additional work as “changing the scope” of the project. Pilch said the addition of classrooms at Meeker Elementary fell into the same category. Similar work was envisaged at Jefferson High School and the development of the Career and Technical Education Center.
Again, these projects were not outlined in the original bond but were approved by the bond oversight committee and paid for with the bond proceeds.
Pilch said the district’s master plan identified more than $1 billion worth of works before the district selected a $395 million voter bond package in 2019. The $1 billion plan is still in place and since the district has bond proceeds it is reviewing the original master plan for priorities. One of the district’s top priorities is getting rid of portable classrooms, Pilch said.
“We were able to use these bond proceeds to tick off some of the things that we had to remove from the original bond issue (the $1 billion version),” Pilch said.
Henson said the district eliminated about 72 of its 142 portable classrooms.
Sullivan also asked about $750,000, which the district is spending to renew its contract with Aims Community College so that Early College Academy students can earn double credits for free. The contract includes books and tuition, and District 6 will be billed for student loans that vary from student to student, according to Pilch and chief financial officer Meggan Sponsler.
“There’s no way I’m trying to walk away from this program because I wish I had that opportunity when I was in high school,” Sullivan said. “I just want to understand what I’m signing when I vote.”
About 370 students in grades 9 through 12 are expected to attend the ECA next year. Most students who earn an ECA degree also earn an associate degree from Aims, with no debt.
Norwood inquired about two $644,000 contracts with Zero Dropouts LLC in Denver for seven on-site attorneys at four high schools. Advocates identify students who are at risk of chronic absenteeism and help students get back involved in their school or find an alternative education program.
Zero Dropouts also has seven course recovery specialists at Greeley Central High, Greeley West High, Northridge, and Jefferson High. Course recovery specialists monitor grades, attendance, behavior, and academic progress.
The district is using COVID-19 relief funds known as Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to pay for the contracts, according to district documentation. The contracts will be completed by June 30, 2023.
In the board discussion on the contracts, Norwood asked if the cost to the district would be less if he did the work in-house. He also wanted to know if District 6 teachers could take responsibility for Zero Dropouts staff. Norwood also asked what happens to these contractors when the ESSER money runs out.
Pilch said the work of Zero Dropouts staff is specialized and focused. Pilch said she has about 15 years of experience with the company during her educational career.
Zero Dropouts’ work for the district is happening due to COVID-19 and the intent of the ESSER money is, “They’re doing this very hard, heavy lift, this big push, to get kids back on track in three years.” said Pilch .
The Board unanimously approved all points drawn by Sullivan and Norwood after discussion.
Board gives Pilch summer purchasing power
The board approved a resolution authorizing Pilch to complete $250,000 in district operations contracts during the summer as deemed appropriate and necessary. An example of this could be where action was needed to ensure a school opened on time.
The board will not meet again until August 8th
Prior to the board’s action, Pilch had the authority to enter into contracts up to $250,000 in value without board approval.
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/15/district-6-board-receives-feedback-on-community-listening-sessions/ District 6 board gets feedback on community listening sessions – Greeley Tribune