Bus routes, math teacher hire on board's agenda

Included in last week's meeting of the Grand Canyon School Board were details on the new Valle bus route and discussion on expectations for a middle school math teacher to replace outgoing instructor Nancy Hunter.

The board approved a contract to hire Tom Bruno as middle school math teacher for the rest of the year, though in the course of their discussion they expressed concern that he is not highly-qualified under provisions of No Child Left Behind.

"Can he be in that position and not already be highly qualified?" asked Board President Clarinda Vail.

Breen said that he could, in the short term, but if he wants to continue next year, he will have to pursue certification.

She said he indicated he is willing to do that if he and the school mutually agree the arrangement is working out.

Board member Chuck Wahler said that the administration should continue with efforts to recruit a new teacher; otherwise it's possible they could be without a highly-qualified instructor for as long as a year and a half.

"I'm OK with it for this year," said Wahler. "But I still think we need to be recruiting and seeing what's out there."

Board member Tammie Harris asked if Bruno would continue with his position as a conditioning coach. Breen said that he would.

Board member Emmons Berry asked about oversight. Breen said that Math Coordinator Jane Halvorson would monitor his class closely to ensure he is effective.

Ads for the math teacher position will be placed in the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff paper, as well as with the state Department of Education and through a contracting service that will place the notice in about 250 papers statewide, Breen said.

Bus routes

Breen said that a letter and survey will go out to parents once it is translated into Spanish. She said they are asking all parents of bus riders, and not just those who would use the Valle route, to respond to the survey.

"We're asking everybody to fill one out if their kids are being transported on the bus," she said.

The letter, which was presented to the board in its English form, explains that the school will add a bus route to Valle starting Jan. 8, describes how it will operate and asks parents to respond to the proposed schedule and stops.

According to the letter, stops are tentatively planned at Valle Air Park, the Chevron station, and entrances to South Rim Ranch and Woodland Ranch. The survey also asks about stops in Tusayan and in the park.

Pickup will be at 7 a.m. and buses will leave the school for trips home at 4 and 7:30 p.m. According to the letter, only middle and high school students will be allowed on the late bus.

In a separate interview, Breen said that she has received queries from parents who might be interested in enrolling students here if bus service is offered.

"I know we're getting telephone calls from people who are asking about coming up and going to school. So we have to revamp our open enrollment application," she said.

She said there is no plan to run the bus south of Valle, nor to recruit more students for Grand Canyon.

"We really don't want to make Williams feel like we're trying to steal their kids," she said. "What our goal is, is to pick up our own kids and have them involved in after school activities and athletics and that kind of thing, so they feel like they're more part of the Grand Canyon experience. We've had several kids tell us that they want to be on the basketball team but they can't be here for games."

She said they hope to eventually offer an activity bus to run later to enable attendance at games.

Correspondence

Breen presented the board with a copy of the letter sent to parents of girls on the basketball team explaining the coaching change.

The letter noted that the previous coach was terminated because of charges he was facing and that Dan Lopez would take over as head coach.

Emergency planning

Breen reported that she had met with Chief Ranger Chris Pergiel and others to talk about evacuation and emergency planning. Though the park has held drills to refine their own plan, Breen said that she is concerned that the school hasn't been involved. She said officials assured her the school will be involved in future planning, and also promised that the facility would not be used as a command center as it was during the 1992 manhunt for escaped convict Danny Ray Horning.

"I think we're starting to work out some of the details and concerns," she said.

She also expressed the need for a separate plan in case of an outbreak of violence.

"With fire and things like that, you usually have time," she said. "With a shooter you don't have time."

Board secretary Barb Shields noted that rangers have been visiting the school to get a sense of the layout and to give the students a sense of familiarity with their presence.

CAVIAT

The board reviewed notices of intent to add two new vocational tracks to the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology, or CAVIAT, program.

Breen said that while the school will be surveying students and parents to gauge interest in adding marketing and hospitality, as well as in keeping the existing culinary arts programs, the letters of intent must be filed now.

There is no penalty for filing letters and then deciding not to offer the program later, she said.

Policy adoption

The board postponed the second reading on policies regarding sex offender notification until January. Breen said that while she wants the school to comply with requirements, she is still seeking legal opinions on the extent of the school's responsibility.

Copies of the policies are available for the public's review in the school district office.

Discovery

Principal Bob Kelso reported that disciplinary focus room visits are down 31 percent compared to the same timeframe last year. By the 60th day last year, there were 249 focus visits, while this year there have been 171.

IB update

Kelso said that at an in service day last month, Primary Years Programme teachers discussed agreements required by IB, including training commitments and expectations for completion of PYP planners.

Middle Years Programme coordinator Becky Crumbo presented the board with copies of the MYP application, which included the first completed curriculum for the program.

She outlined upcoming training leading up to the MYP authorization visit set for March 12 and 13.

Recognition

Harris was recognized for her service on the School Board. Her term expires this month.

Contracts

The Board voted to terminate contracts for basketball coaches Perry Smith and Elizabeth Davis. Breen said that Smith is being terminated as head coach for cause, while Davis has asked to be released from her assistant coaching contract because of other commitments.

Replacing them are Dan Lopez as head coach and Laura Schrage as assistant coach. These contracts were approved by the board.

Leave of absence

The Board approved a leave of absence for middle school teacher Lori Rommel, who will be on maternity leave for the rest of the school year. Her last day will be Dec. 22.

They also approved substitute teacher Caroline Williams as her replacement. Williams will come on board on Dec. 18, working with Rommel for her last week to get oriented.

Rommel said that she will continue to fulfill her contract duties as IB Area of Interaction Leader and that she will remain involved as Middle School Student Council advisor.

Training

Breen, Shields, Wahler, Breen and incoming Board member Suzette Streit said they plan to attend Board Operations and Leadership Training in January. Vail said that she doesn't plan to attend and Berry said he hasn't yet decided.

Marquee

Breen said that Park Service will be meeting with the district about an informational marquee that has been in the planning stages for about six years. The project has been stalled over questions of location and design.

"We've finally agreed on a location and we're having our consultant redesign it," she said. The redesign will go back before the park's Project Review Board.

The initial plan called for a solar powered LED display but Breen said that there is power available in the sign's proposed location on the west side of the High School, near the parking lot and facing Boulder Street.

The project will be paid for by the PTA.

"This is something the PTA has funds saved up for," said Breen. "Right now it's about $7,000."

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