Board members and administrators from the Estes Park School District(EPSD) met at Town Hall on Monday, Oct. 24, for their monthly Board of Education meeting. The night’s proceedings included recognition of student success, board and administrative reports and a decision to decline a proposed medical leave insurance act.
Once roll call was taken and the night’s consent agenda items were set, the board took to recognizing the EPHS Marching Band’s success over the 2022 season in an item titled “Spotlight on Success.” The band recently won division 1A regionals and will now compete in the state championships in Grand Junction on Oct. 31.
Drum majors Sam Workman and Sophie Kamprath represented the team, along with their Band Director, Kaylin Brennan. These three individuals were praised by board members for the hard work and leadership they’ve shown throughout the season, as was the entire team.
At the conclusion of this recognition EPHS Student Board members, Chloe Coop and Oliver Tapia took to delivering the October student board report. Throughout the report Coop and Tapia recapped what they referred to as a very successful homecoming week, along with exceptional Fall sports senior nights. Tapia also covered the latest details concerning the EPHS student body’s initiative to change the current school dress code.
The call for change was introduced during last month’s Sept. 26 board meeting, where e student board representatives voiced their belief that the policy unfairly targets certain individuals in the student body. Tapia announced that the student board will be sending out questionnaires in the near future to draw opinions from students, teachers, administrators and teachers on policy specifics.
After the student board report ended and a brief quarterly finance report was given, EPSD Superintendent Ruby Bode gave her a monthly report. During her report, Bode covered some of the four areas of improvement at EPSD that board members identified at the beginning of the school year.
Attendance and student engagement
Similar to what the student board reported, Bode recalled a very successful homecoming week and dance that saw the highest student body turnout in years.
“It’s really great to hear that students are involved in those activities at our school, it really helps with building culture, uniting our community and getting kids involved,” Bode explained.
Bode also noted that all district buildings are on track with this improvement area and are meeting their expected student attendance rate. A glitch in the power school system denied Bofe from sharing accurate numbers, which she said will be given once the issue is resolved.
High Impact Instruction
As a way of improving in this specified area, Bode explained that EPSD is launching afternoon tutoring sessions for elementary school students in November, and has plans to do the same with middle schoolers while adding optional Spanish classes for kindergarten through fifth graders.
Bode also gave results from the Northwest Evaluation Association(NWEA) beginning-of-the-year assessments. Results showed that every grade level – third through tenth – that took the exam had Fall to Fall gross scores that exceeded projected growth norms on the NWEA Math assessment.
Another area included in this progress was that 50% of these grade levels exceeded growth norms in the literacy area. Kindergarten, first grade and third grade also showed composite scores exceeding the benchmark norm in literacy as well.
Discussion over the night’s consent agenda was kept brief, with the agenda featuring just two items aside from the approval of September minutes. The October 2022 EPSD Personnel list and the 2022-23 District Advisory and Accountability Committee(DAAC) member list were up for consideration, both of which were approved unanimously.
In the primary action item of the night, the board unanimously voted to decline a proposed Family Medical Leave Insurance(FAMLI) Act that was offered to the district at the beginning of the 2022 school year.
The FAMLI Act creates a state-run family and medical insurance program in Colorado that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave without losing their job. Both EPSD employees and employers would have had to pay into a new state fund for the act, which reserves that money to be used for day wage benefits for employees during their time of leave.
In the decision to reject this act, Board Director Jason Cushner explained that if the board elected to use this plan, the district would pay all agreed-upon money toward the reserve fund and not see any of it back whether it gets used fully or not, which could cause employees to lose out on their earnings.
Cushner went on to express that the current district plan in place works much better, as it pays employees full salary during leave, while the FAMLI act only covers partial salary.
Once this action item was passed, the upcoming Nov. 8 board work session was confirmed, and Nov. 28 was set as the next board of education meeting date.