They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet, school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our nation’s public schools.”Volunteer school board members serve countless hours working to improve public education, and we have some of the best in Vicki VanEngelenburg, Howard Stapleton, Jan Hubbell, Kim Goossens and Jay Rickstrew,” said Dr. Gary Pack, Re-2 superintendent.January is School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and to better understand how local board members work together to provide a better future for our children.School board members serve as key advocates for students and are responsible for communicating the needs of the district to the public and the public’s expectations to the district. The school board works closely with parents, education professionals and other local citizens to create the educational vision we want for our communityIt is in the schools of each local community that real teaching and learning happen. Consequently, it is the local school board that can best bring together in our democracy the entire community – parents, business and civic leaders, and all others concerned about the future of our children.In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.•••••On Jan. 17, students enjoyed a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.; however, teachers were hard at work in the classroom. January 17 was a staff development day at Garfield Re-2, and teachers were trained in a variety of subjects.At Highland Elementary, nearly all of the district’s teachers spent the morning working on “Power Indicators.” Power Indicators are the essential skills in which students should be proficient before moving to the next grade level. This is an initiative that Garfield Re-2 is working on at all levels, and getting agreement from teachers on exactly which skills are essential is a time-consuming and enlightening process.In the afternoon, teachers at both Highland and Roy Moore Elementary received additional training in the Everyday Math program. Kathryn Senor Elementary teachers refined their Success For All skills, and teachers at Wamsley learned from Roy Moore teacher Simone Hiller how to improve student writing through implementing the writing web. Finally, middle school teachers at both Rifle and New Castle gained tools for ensuring a safe and respectful learning environment. “We are always looking at how we can improve instruction. By allowing our teachers some time to refine their skills, we are confident that we can increase student achievement,” said Highland Elementary principal Howard Disney.At Rifle High School, they too had morning training in Power Indicators and the science staff received their final training from the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs on an interactive science curriculum. These units will be taught this semester in the integrated science classes and will culminate in a two-hour live scenario where students apply the skills they learned real time.The staff at Garfield Re-2 was hard at work during the student holiday, seeking not only to improve themselves and the instruction that they deliver every day, but also to improve their buildings and the district.Check out http://www.garfieldre2.k12.co.us for more Garfield Re-2 information.Theresa Hamilton is director of districtwide services for Garfield School District Re-2. She can be reached at 625-7621.
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