Re-2 president gets education in power of politics |

Re-2 president gets education in power of politics

Carrie ClickStaff Writer

It’s essential that school board members become political animals.That’s what Garfield School District Re-2 school board president Vicki VanEngelenburg told fellow school board members Tuesday after attending the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) fall conference.The event was held Oct 18-19 in Steamboat Springs. “One of the most significant issues we discussed was the importance of school board members using their political selves to serve public education,” she said. “We need to engage our communities. If we don’t listen to community members, they’ll bypass us.”VanEngelenburg pointed out the importance of going out into the community and having meetings convenient to the public’s schedule.VanEngelenburg also reported on an 18-month course in Pueblo that trains community members how to run for and become school board members. The board concluded that the district might benefit from a condensed version of Pueblo’s training. VanEngelenburg also shared a new educational philosophy discussed at the conference.”Education is different today than it was when we were in school,” she said. “There’s still the Three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic, but now there’s also the Three Ts: thinking, technology and teamwork. Now, it’s thinkers who are the ones being hired, not just people who will do what you tell them to.”School board members were also entertained and educated by a special presentation from Garrick Fontello’s third grade class.The students attend Kathryn Senor Elementary School and were at the meeting to share what they’ve learned at school about bully prevention (see related story, pg. 1). After the presentation, Sanja Morgan, Re-2’s director of transportation, updated the board on the district’s bus policies – and what changes might be needed.As it stands, Re-2 policy allows school buses to transport K-8 students to school if they live more than a mile from campus. High school students living farther than 1.5 miles are transported by bus as well. However, many students living closer to district schools are being transported by bus. Also, because of new housing developments cropping up around existing schools, potentially dangerous highway intersections, and unsafe pathways to schools, Re-2 bus routes now extend far beyond original intentions.With six of seven district schools being reconfigured, assistant superintendent Ava Lanes said it is time to take another look at the district’s transportation needs. Student ambassador Haley McDonald suggested crossing guards might be another way to help children on foot get safely to school. VanEngelenburg said it’s healthier to walk to school.All board members agreed the top concern is safety, and they would continue working with Morgan in creating new answers regarding the district’s transportation issues.In addition, at Tuesday evening’s meeting, the board:-Discussed a mascot for the new Coal Ridge High School, to be built between Silt and New Castle. A group of Riverside Middle School students have submitted possible names, including “Flames” and “Canaries.” The board will continue collecting input and make a final decision in November. -Reviewed Re-2’s draft version of the district’s annual report, to be published Nov. 7, and distributed in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the Rifle Citizen Telegram and at area schools. -Discussed public understanding of the proposed student achievement calendar, which is not, as some perceive, a year-round calendar; the calendar would still keep students in session 174 days per school year. -Gave special recognition to district nurse Sandra Burwell and health clerk Becca Shieldler for their efforts in implementing a Medicaid program in the school district.

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