Lusk – The new meeting time of 7 p. m. for school board meetings began for the March 25 meeting. Visitors included the student of the month recipients, Phoebe Allbright and Uriah Fish (Jayden Matthews was unable to attend). LEMS Staff of the Quarter were Hunter Kunerth, Sue Lang, Kayte Lytle and Dawn Scott for their exemplary work as a team and the positive impact they have made on their students.
WYVA-William Johnston, interim Head of School and WYVA representative was in attendance. He brings over 18 years of online education experience to the table and is excited to improve and advance the relationship between NCSD #1 and K12. Johnston presented the board members with a board report intended to provide data on enrollment, withdrawals, pass rates, student and teacher satisfaction as well as attendance and special programs. He reviewed the provided information and is available for additional questions from board members. He also provided a WYVA weekly highlights report that discusses what WYVA is working on or accomplished during that time. He updated the board on the Head of School search and the three phase interview process that will be used for selection. This process will include extensive involvement of Mr. Mirich and the board to insure accountability of this individual to the school district. While a specific calendar has not been set both Johnston and the board agreed that a great physical presence and more communication between the Head of School and the school administrators would be beneficial for both parties and have a positive impact on the students enrolled in the district.
Mr Garhart, NCHS Principal/NCHS-Mr. Garhart presented the results of the Music program interest survey. Of the 40 surveys returned thirteen students indicated an interest in music for the 2019-20 academic year and two indicated a maybe. This is a stronger interest than was shown per enrollment for the 2018-19 year. The Business Class survey results returned 26 surveys. Thirteen students indicated interest in a STEM class, fifteen in a business accounting class and seventeen in a business finance class. Garhart has plans to conduct a FACS class survey as well. Staff are meeting to work on a master schedule and begin figuring out the best way to structure classes/class days for next academic year.
Garhart presented the NFHS Game broadcasting system using Pixellot Cameras. This system is an internet-based system that would broadcast high school games to the NFHS web system. Subscribers can watch all games available for $9.99/month. NFHS has give a proposal for $5,000.00 for two systems that would cover the football field and the high school gymnasium with the possibility for mobility to cover the LEMS gym during tournaments. This recommendation was moved into action items.
Mrs. Kasper, LEMS Principal/LEMS-Mrs. Kasper reported that at least 90 individuals were served at the LEMS game night with strong attendance. With the introduction of some new individuals into the middle school there have been some behaviors that are causing a lot of dynamic changes. Police were called the week of March 18 to the school for a locker search after a student was reported to be bragging about possession of a controlled substance. A search was conducted and no drugs were found however the school and police department are in discussions regarding the regular use of a drug dog. Additionally, a basketball hoop fiberglass backdrop was vandalized and broken with a rock. There is no security system at the school either inside or outside so it is difficult to determine the individual(s) responsible but it is under investigation. Parent-Teacher conferences were held on March 21 and 22. The grade school had an 80% attendance rate however the middle school experienced less than half that percentage. Staff and administration are in discussions on practices that can be implemented to improve this. April 10 is the school district Mustard Seed dinner. Students will audition to participate in a talent show that will debut to the public at the Mustard Seed.
Mrs. Heth/Special Services-Mrs. Heth reported that staff would attend additional training opportunities including upcoming sessions at Sweetwater District and in Cheyenne. They will continue to add skills to their experiences as the demand for her staff grows.
Mr. Mirich, Superintendent-The school closure/makeup for the snow day has already been completed (school on a previously scheduled day off, March 22) and approved by the state. The alternative calendar for the district has been approved by the State Board of Education for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The district may move forward on those plans and preparations. The school district has received state accreditation with support. The district only has 19 of 41 accreditation requirements in place. The school improvement plans are out of date and the district assessment system must be created. In October of 2019 the school will undergo a peer review visit. This will be an in-person site review conducted by personal of the State that will be used as an assistance visit for the district. This is not punitive but meant to assist the district in the process of meeting accreditation standards. The strategic planning process will move forward with two meetings for board members on April 15 and April 29. At administration’s recommendation the Board chose to table the K-12 ITC process for a while and move the acquisition of new switches from Venturetech to an action item on the April 8th agenda. Mirich has given permission to the sponsor of a new clay target-shooting club to utilize the name of the Niobrara County High School for the club. This club will be a non-sanctioned, non-sponsored, unfunded club like the rodeo club. Affiliated in name only. The club seeks to begin participating in the Wyoming State High School Clay Target League. Board members expressed concern regarding competition with 4-H enrollment until it was clarified that a 4-H leader sponsors the club. Board members supported the name affiliation given the statewide league that the club intends to participate in.
Mr. Larson, Business Manager-Larson provided information regarding the 9% increase to health insurance costs for the district. He recommended that since there were no step changes or raises in the contract recommendations the district absorb this cost to keep deductions from wages the same for staff. This will be addressed under action items. A clarification was given regarding the donor beef process. Individuals that donate beef may pay the processing fee or the district does. It is still a significant savings to the school district even when they do pay the processing fees and this comes out of a separate account as well.
Consent agenda was approved with the removal of the approval of financial statements. which does not need to occur at the second meeting of the month.
Board moved into executive session for 1 hour to discuss personnel. The board approved recommendations on classified and certified staff. They approved the full time permanent school psychologist position (previously an intern position) and to keep the existing individual in that position. The board approved the addition of a 20% part-time WYVA English Language Learning position. The board also voted to absorb the 9% insurance cost increase and will not pass that on to personnel through rate increases.
Old Business: More discussion regarding the WYVA relationship was held. It was further established that expanding the relationship will benefit both WYVA and the district. The board has decided at this time that they will continue pursuing candidates for one full-time music educator position for the district. The motto will be a part of the strategic plan outcome. This will be discussed at future strategic planning sessions.
Next meetings of the Board will be held on April 8 at 7 p.m. and April 22 at 7 p.m. Meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m.