Teri Vigil, President of the Board of Trustees of the The Fall River Joint Unified School District presided over a very enjoyable, action packed and productive school board meeting at the Burney Office at 20375 Tamarack Avenue, Burney, CA 96013 on Wednesday September 14.
Superintendent Greg Hawkins was present. as were Board Members Ignacio Venegas, Cindy Ronquist, John Hamilton, Randy Oller and Student Board Member James Chapman.
The meeting room was full with principals, teachers, and staff from the Burney and Fall River schools, as well as members of the public in attendance.
The meeting began with a special presentation for “Person of the Year” to Jennifer Hribar on behalf of the Shasta County Special Education Local Plan Area Community Advisory Committee. Jean Boggs presented the award in recognition of Jennifer’s efforts to improve the Mount Burney Special Education Center.
Next there was an introduction of newly hired certificated employees.
Burney Elementary school has three new employees. Morgan Stevenson will be teaching 5th grade; Holly Spainhower and Christine Roeschlau will be teaching 3rd grade; and Susan Cabrera will the new speech and language pathologist.
At Fall River Elementary, Diane Main will be teaching Transitional Kindergarten and Young 5. Teagan Teslow has been hired as a new resource specialist for Fall River Junior Senior High School.
Abigail Oleson will has been hired to teach at Mountain View Continuation High School, and John Mirande will be teaching at Burney Community Day School.
After the introduction there was a social break for conversation and cookies.
Following the break the meeting commenced with the approval of the consent agenda items including budget adjustments; a memorandum of understanding between the school district and the Alliance for Teachers Excellence; agreements for library services with the Shasta County Office of Education; agreement of participation with the Shasta County Office of Education for Northern California Personnel and Labor Law Consortium; agreement with the California Board of Regents; as well as approval of school fundraisers and overnight trips; and acceptance of various donations to the schools.
New Business included approval of instructional minutes; approval of dual enrollment with Shasta College which will allow students to gain college credit during their high school period of study; a review of instructional materials; fixing the appropriation limit for GANN; revising transportation policy; and adoption of a Revised Shasta County Special Education Local Plan Area.
The Board also appointed Cindy Ronquist and John Hamilton to the Governing Board and considered two informational items concerning College Readiness Block Grants and County approval of this year’s Local Control Accountability Plan.
It was amazing how many items were discussed and approved so expeditiously in such a short period of time.
There was then a period of reports and announcements. Supervisor Hawkins announced that enrollment is up again this year for the third year in a row. This year’s enrollment is 1226 students, up 42 students and 3.5% from 2015.
Another highlight was that Chris Knoch from Burney Elementary said that our district has five teachers participating in a program to improve K-8 literacy in Shasta County. The program is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Shasta County Office of Education and involves working with the Carnegie Institute through Stanford University. Harvard University has also expressed interest in the program.
Ignacio Venegas asked if Rancheria grants had been received. Several had for various needs.
There was a discussion of the use of Google Chromebooks as instructional material. The district now has more than 1000 Chromebook devices in use by students. IT director, Ken Wike, said that connectivity has been good. The only gliche was one short period last week when Google was down. It was not a local network problem and Google corrected the crash within an hour and a half.
After a summary of future agenda items, the regular meeting was adjourned and a Board Workshop was convened. While staff and public attendees enjoyed pizza, each Board member wrote a list of their goals for the 2016-17 school year on a large sheet of paper on the wall. When all of the Board members had finished listing their goals, each of them read their goals, followed by was a discussion of common goals for the year.
After the Board Workshop was adjourned, the Board went into closed session.
Considering all that was done and how pleasantly the evening flowed. I would say that the school year is off to a jolly good start.