School Board meeting draws many for variety of reasons

A NEWS crew from KOAT interviews Brenda Hindmarsh outside the Dolores School District office Tuesday night.

It was standing room only at the Dolores School Board of Education meeting Tuesday night and everything from educator effectiveness, the future of the garden program and teaching tolerance was discussed.

Many parents were there to discuss the football program and other issues with the school, but were told that they had to fill out a comment form and could not talk about specific people or students in public comment.

"The Dolores School District will no longer listen to any public comments or questions about specific employees. Concerns or questions should be submitted in writing to the Superintendent. We highly recommend you follow the chain of command," said School Board Member Linnea Vass as she read a prepared statement.

Others attended the meeting to hear the presentation by the Consiliation Specialist brought in from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Our role is as facilitator, mediator to try to bring groups together to help problem solve and put together action plans to help schools and communities be as successful as they would like to be," said C. Kit Chalberg, Conciliation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service.

Chalberg told the board about the SPIRIT program that would help students resolve issues.

"It's more of a process, than a program," Chalberg told the board. "The process is empowering for students and helping them identify problems and issues in the schools and develop problem solving steps."

Another parent voiced their concern about the early release Wednesdays, also called PLCs for professional learning community. A group of parents proposed that the early release Wednesdays place hardship on parents and needed to be changed to early mornings so parents would not have to change their schedules on Wednesdays, find additional child care or take off work.

In response to a parent's question, Board Member Deanna Truelsen read a prepared statement.

"We looked at may programs around the state and locally... The current PLC was collected by each group because they felt it best fit the needs of Dolores students. When a good discussion and strategy meeting is in progress early release allows that group to continue as long as they need to. The afternoon PLC is 90 minutes long, a morning PLC could only be 60 minutes. The elementary did a morning PLC for a year and Mrs. Maxwell states that the afternoon is working with more productivity," Truelsen read from a prepared statement.

There will be a discussion and evaluation of the PLC at the end of the school year, she added.

In other action, the school board approved $500 in money to give to the Dolores School Garden program to help establish a drip irrigation system.

Megan Tallmadge also told the board that the garden program is actively recruiting funds after losing a large grant recently.

The board also voted to give $850 to the Operation Graduation committee, $350 more than last year because of the large graduating class this year, 65.

Linda Barker, Colorado Education Association Director of Teaching and Learning gave a lengthy presentation on educator effectiveness.

Because of SB 191, teacher evaluations are now based on student growth and professional practice.

A few parents spoke at the meeting Tuesday night, and others voiced their concern over feeling ignored and having their concerns pushed aside.