Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 trustees unanimously approved a $200,000 state grant for emergency communication system upgrades and reauthorized the charter for Battle Rock Charter School at their meeting Tuesday night.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants are administered through the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Specifically, the dollars received by Re-1 will go toward the schools’ interoperability – or “bridging” – systems, which allow school officials to communicate with first responders, according to Donetta Jones, a school administrator who worked on the grant.
Superintendent Lori Haukeness called the grant “very, very exciting.”
“This will replace and upgrade our bridging system, which was originally purchased in 2009,” she said.
The district found out that it had received the SAFER grant in December – RE-1 was one of 12 grant recipients, out of an applicant pool of 33, Jones said. They aim to have the upgrades in place by June 2019.
And also on the action items docket, the Battle Rock charter was renewed through June 2020, with the opportunity for a one-year extension, as long as it meets standards.
According to Colorado Department of Education data, in 2018 Battle Rock was designated as “Priority Improvement Plan: Low Participation,” meaning the school did not meet the state’s accountability indicators. The “Low Participation” designation is added for schools that saw “test participation rates below 95 percent in two or more content areas,” according to the state. Participation, though, doesn’t affect a school’s overall rating.
In comparison to other RE-1 elementary schools, Lewis-Arriola and Manaugh elementaries both earned the second-highest rating of “Improvement Plan,” indicating they did meet state standards last year. Mesa Elementary School joined Battle Rock in the third “Priority Improvement Plan” category, while Pleasant View Elementary School earned the top rating of “Performance Plan,” although the data set noted that Pleasant View had a small tested population.
Other businessThe board heard a report on student reading and English Language Arts performance based on midyear student assessment data. Overall, student performance was fairly comparable to last year’s numbers at this time, according to Carol Mehesy, director of school improvement and grants.A flurry of celebrations kicked off the Tuesday night meeting to appreciate the school board, including a performance by the Montezuma-Cortez Middle School eighth-grade choir, cookies and a signed poster from district students, and poetry readings by a few students.The board also heard a report from two students in the Exceptional Student Services program, who recounted a recent field trip to an assisted living home.
Parent leader Danny Wilkin and student members of the Cortez FFA chapter expressed concerns about how the district’s trimester system affects their organization, saying that it disrupted students’ progression in agricultural-related studies and learning experiences.“The biggest challenge we are facing is students may have 12-week absences from the program,” Wilkin said.
The board directed him to follow the chain of command and reach out to Haukeness or Jason Wayman, principal of Montezuma-Cortez High School.
Two student leaders from the Piñon Project advocated for Sources of Strength, a suicide prevention program, to be better implemented in Cortez schools.For upcoming board goals, trustees decided that they should consider holding another board retreat and work on increasing public attendance at board firstname.lastname@example.org