Business as usual

LUSK – After opening the Feb. 9 school board meeting, the board immediately moved into an executive session for personnel at 5:30 p.m. They then resumed normal open session at 6:15 p.m. and commenced with the public portion of the agenda. 

The students of the month were honored. They were: Aylasha Chant, Nathan Fish, Bristol Cardwell, Keira Burnitt, Ryan Bruegger and Aric Eaton. These students were all commended for their leadership in the classroom and among peers.

The majority of the meeting was spent on administrative reports. Lusk Elementary and Middle School (LEMS) Principal Lu Kasper presented the board with enrollment numbers which were 10 preschools, 122 elementary students, 58 middle school students and eight students at Lance Creek, for a total of 198 in the K-8 system. 

Interim high school Principal Robyn Heth reported the interim Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) testing had been completed at the high school and while there was some positive movement in English and math, they would continue to work on raising those scores. 

Dr. Joe Heywood, Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) head of schools, spent a significant amount of time discussing mid-year data reports that were presented to the board members. Multiple benchmark categories including Star360 math and reading, live connection session attendance and passing rates were discussed.

Heywood emphasized that while some of the numbers were consistent with national statistics, WYVA administration and educators were not completely satisfied with the scores and were actively working to improve them. 

Heywood also spent time explaining the graduation rate of 42%, which was not acceptable by his or the high school administrator’s estimation. They have spent a great deal of time digging into this percentage and finding out what the rate actually reflects. Two program changes are being made immediately. The first is to offer specific classes for credit recovering to students who may have fallen behind. The next was to reassess how the classes for freshman and sophomores are being taught to try and create more individual connection and improve the grades and engagement at that level.

Business Manager Stuart Larson focused on the changes to reports the board will be seeing, including more information for grant tracking.

Superintendent George Mirich reminded the board about a training opportunity that is coming up. He also reported the district has two candidates for the high school principal position coming in on Friday, Feb. 19. These candidates will be interviewed by three different committees, a parent committee, teacher committee and community member committee. Board members were asked if they could sit on all three committees and several made commitments to do so.

Action items were all approved including the hiring of two new aids, one for some special education needs and one for the after-school alliance program. Multiple policies were approved as presented on first reading and a custodian was hired for the Lance Creek school.

The board discussed the parameters for the public forum to take place on Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be called to order and a public forum will be held to present the options for building reconfiguration to the public and give them the opportunity to ask questions from 6-7 p.m. 

Board members requested additional information on finances and schedule examples. The public forum will close at 7 p.m. and the regular meeting of the trustees will be held immediately following the forum. The forum will be held at the high school auditorium.

The board took a recess until entering executive session at 7:30 p.m. and adjourned after the executive session.


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