The Mancos school board unanimously approved next year’s academic calendar during its regular meeting March 18.
The upcoming calendar for Mancos School District RE-6 looks very similar to that of this year, with the exception of moving spring break up a week in order to better align with the schedules at Fort Lewis College and Pueblo Community College.
“We have a good number of our seniors, and some of our juniors, doing concurrent enrollment at Fort Lewis,” Superintendent Brian Hanson said. “PCC then jumped on board and put their spring break with Fort Lewis.”
Durango and Dolores school districts have also followed suit in aligning their schedules with the local colleges. Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 has not, Hanson said.
Hanson also brought up other dates that had arisen as points of discussion, including the length of Thanksgiving break and whether or not to hold school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Veterans Day and Presidents Day holidays.
The decision to hold Thanksgiving break for a full week was due largely to poor attendance numbers when the district gave students only two days off, Hanson had said at a previous meeting.
Presidents Day will continue to be off, while school will be in session for MLK and Veterans days, as was the case this year. Presidents Day provided a needed break for students and staff, Hanson said. And staff felt holding classes on the other two holidays was the best way of honoring MLK and veterans, he said.
Graduation will be held on May 17 to avoid conflicting with the state track meet the following week.
Emily Hutcheson-Brown of the accountability committee presented some of the feedback the calendar had garnered from parents. Some parents were concerned about the lack of parent-teacher conferences scheduled in the latter half of the school year.
“Some parents actually want to have time with the teachers,” Hutcheson-Brown said.
Currently, the district hosts an open house in January instead of having specific conversation sessions between parents and teachers.
“We actually have a bigger turnout with how we do it now,” said PK-12 Principal Cathy Epps.
However, Hanson said he’d bring up the issue at an upcoming meeting with lead teachers.
Other newsThe board approved the first reading of a new wellness policy for the district. Janet Fogel, director of food services, said that practices would not change, and that the purpose of the new policy is primarily to align its language with state code.Additions include: a request that the district focus on incorporating locally grown foods into daily menus as often as possible, a requirement that only 1 percent or fat-free milk be served, time restrictions on student access to vending machines and “competitive foods” on school property, a requirement that foods and beverages sold during the school day meet USDA Smart Snacks in Schools standards, and a stipulation that nutrition program staff meet updated USDA training standards.
The adjusted policy also includes an accountability component, along with a statement that the document would be posted to the district website.
In other food news, the board approved Fogel’s recommendation to join the state BOCES Food Co-op for bulk food purchases for the district’s cafeteria. Fogel said the co-op offers the district a better delivery schedule and a wider range of products.
During a work session before the regular meeting, the board and attendees took a tour of the construction site – more well-lit than last month’s tour because of daylight saving time.Owner’s rep Monty Giles said Jaynes Construction is accelerating its timeline for completing the project and that they are $10.7 million into the planned $24.7 million project.
Currently, the paint work is being finished up on the north and south additions in the gym, and lighting has been upgraded to LED fixtures. An additional row of lights has also been added, to meet illumination recommendations from the Colorado High School Activities Association.
During a public comments period, third-grade teacher Fred Schroeder challenged rumors claiming that elementary Principal Epps was losing staff support.“After hearing about accusations leveled against Cathy Epps and questions about staff supporting her as our principal, the elementary support team thought it would be a good idea to take a staff vote,” Schroeder told the board, reading aloud from a letter.
He said the elementary support team had presented 28 classroom teachers with the question, “Do you want Cathy to continue to be your principal?”
The vote had been 27-1 in support of Epps, Schroeder said.
Superintendent Brian Hanson brought up the possibility of adding two positions: one to help out with music and art classes, and another to coordinate project-based learning.Also regarding project-based learning, Hanson said he was looking to bring introductory project-based learning courses to Mancos, rather than sending teachers to Napa Valley, California, for a global PBL conference in June, a move that could bring costs down from $60,000 to about $15,000.
The board unanimously accepted the resignation of middle school social studies teacher Scott Linders. It approved the hiring of Misty Montano as a new elementary school paraeducator and three new assistant track coaches.The board accepted a $1,500 bid to purchase a district email@example.com