RANGELY | The Rangely School Board met Aug. 15 to update a few policies. including a tense discussion and vote regarding policies on student testing as well as to hear updates on the start of the school year from local principals and superintendent.
Policies updates discussed and approved at the meeting included options for student testing, numbers of tests required annually and parental exemptions from testing. The testing schedule includes nine possible tests ranging from kindergarten through 11th grade and is available on the district website.
Some members of the board expressed concerns about the amount of testing students are participating in.
“The elementary school is being tested to death; they are doing nothing but testing,” said director Annette Webber, who voted no on the testing policy on the basis of what she termed “too much testing.”
Another policy approved at the meeting dealt with the probationary status of teachers across the state.
Colorado Senate Bill 191 requires that teachers be annually rated as effective or ineffective. If a teacher within the state that has a rating of “effective” moves to another district in the state, they may request to skip the traditional probationary period and move in with a non-probationary or tenured status immediately.
Superintendent Matt Scoggins recognized the staff of the Rangely Middle School for taking the entire middle school hiking to look at local petroglyphs, which Scoggins said, was a great experience and left kids “wore out.”
Parkview Elementary School Principal Mike Krueger informed the board of numerous exciting things going on in the school, including a recent field trip to the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials and a visit by the musical group the Flobots to the music program. Krueger was also excited to tell the board about a new program titled Effective Parenting, which the school is currently providing to parents.
Rio Blanco BOCES Director Teresa Schott updated the board on a recent autism training completed by some Meeker and Rangely staff. The training was designed to help staff and parents deal with the unique challenges presented by autistic students.
Scoggins also updated the board on several issues, including informing them that the results of last spring’s PARCC Assessment (the federal student testing program) were not expected to be available until November, which is approximately three months longer than the previous CSAP testing system.
The board spent a portion of their meeting watching a video on the district’s recently adopted PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems) program. The theory behind PBIS is that students need to be taught how to behave similarly to how they are taught to read or write, which could potentially include options such as classes specific to teaching appropriate behavior, interventions and weekly meetings with students and rewards for positive behaviors.
The motto of PBIS—Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe—is then broken into 16 skills and expectations to be taught to students.
To implement the PBIS program the district has set up a Climate and Culture Committee made up of staff members from all sectors of the district whose goal is to develop ideas to help improve the climate and culture of the schools whether in the classroom, school bus or playground.
According to the video, in order for the PBIS program to be successful all stakeholders (teachers, parents, staff, and students) need to on board with the program, however, Webber was concerned that not all teachers were going to actively buy into the program. Scoggins responded that all teachers “may not like it, but they will support it.”
Board Director Sam Tolley suggested that parents really need to be on board with the program as well.
“When I was in school, if you misbehaved on the bus you got in real trouble when you got home,” said Tolley.
Director Joyce Key gave a report about a recent CASB (Colorado Association of School Boards) regional meeting held in Grand Junction she had attended. Key described the meeting as a brainstorming session and update on relevant legislative topics, but was not confident that the Legislature would be working to reverse the “negative factor” which has severely limited school funding in the last five years.
The Rangely School Board will meet again on Oct. 6 at 6:15 p.m.