On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the Trinidad School District No. 1 Board of Directors met for their regular meeting to discuss several items of importance for the future of the district. Giving a presentation on the joining of the Leader In Me and Lighthouse program, Kristen Crawford said the students have shown big improvements and are working as a team.
“Our mission is to improve the school culture at Trinidad High School by focusing on social, emotional, and educational needs of our students and teachers,” said Crawford. “We’re working to promote a positive school culture so if the kids are having issues or want to be involved in activities they know who to go to and feel comfortable with each other.
“They’re from all different groups in the school,” Crawford said, “and they’re really good about coming together and including everyone and sharing what each group is doing with each other to make sure they’re on the same page.”
Crawford also explained the kids are taking initiative and want to see positive change for their school.
“They want to become a Lighthouse status school,” Crawford said, “and use the Leader In Me for conflict resolution at THS. I’m really proud of all the kids.”
Crawford was also one of two teachers that received this month’s Teacher of the Month award. Trinidad High School Principal Chuck Smithy presented the awards along with sharing a bit about why they received the recognition.
“We went from a half day of art to a full day of art and her classes are full,” said Smithy. “When her kids go into the classroom they have a routine and know exactly what to do. When I observed them, they were on task the entire time and she gave them a choice of music to listen to as they worked on their projects. Her kids are always active and always volunteering and ready to go and that’s why she’s been chosen this month as Teacher of the Month.”
Also receiving the Teacher of the Month award was Trinidad High School and Trinidad Middle School Band and Chorale Director Alex Duran. He began teaching in Trinidad at the beginning of this semester and has already shown positive results with the students Smithy explained.
“If you didn’t get a chance to attend the concerts he had recently, that’s part of the reason why this teacher has done such a great job,” said Smithy. “He took the band to region competition for the first time in eight years and received above a 50 score. He’s done a fantastic job and the kids respect him.”
A Salud Family Health Center representative explained the benefits of partnering with the district to provide supplemental preventative dental care for students presented another possible service available to the district.
“We now have a clinic in Trinidad providing integrated health care of physical, mental, and dental health care,” said the representative.
She also explained that tooth decay is a big problem in youth and that much of these problems could be prevented by the partnership.
“Dental decay is one of the biggest problems we’re seeing in our youth and it’s a preventative thing we can work on,” she said. “The two biggest prevention methods of decay are Dental sealants and dental fluoride. They are low risk procedures. We want to partner with schools because it’s a way we can work outside our clinic to provide care to the community and do it in an environment that’s comfortable for families and students.”
She then talked about the procedure of what this partnership would look like if implemented.
“We typically go into a school once or twice a year when we partner with schools,” she said. “We will pull students from class a few at a time, screen their mouths for any cavities, and do a fluoride varnish on all the kids. Then we send home information to the parents so they’re informed on what we saw.”
She concluded by stating the three-fold benefit they see in this program.
“It helps kids, it helps families, and it helps schools,” she said. “We’re not asking for parents to pay or send them a bill. That includes uninsured or underinsured kids.”
Following the representatives presentation, the board moved to approved Salud’s MOU
During the Student Resource Officer report, Officer Phil Romero said during his time as the district’s SRO, he’s observed several items he wished to bring before the board. Among those items was incorporating CPR and first aid training to teachers as he feels there is a lack of people trained in such services.
“I’d like to have a safety day, basically adding a day to the calendar to do strictly safety training with all staff,” said Romero, “and being able to get them CPR and first aid certified and get first aid kits inside of the schools.”
To many people’s surprise, Romero stated there were no basic first aid kits inside the schools.
“I went through the schools and asked how many first aid kits were inside the schools and there were zero,” said Romero. “There are some small trauma kits if there were natural disasters in the schools, but not actual first aid kits. I’d like to see that we get first aid kits for inside all the district vehicles and the schools. That way, when we have someone trained, they know what to use.”
He also expressed his desire to see more drills included each semester beside the required monthly fire drills.
“I’d like to take more time to do actual safety drills as opposed to just fire drills that we’re required to do each month,” said Romero. “I’d like to do lockout drills and lockdown drills at least once a month. I’d also like to do a full evacuation drill where we evacuate the kids once each semester.”
Romero said he is working with other TPD staff to bring back the Junior Explorers program to the district.
“I’m actually working with the community service officers to get the Junior Explorers going again,” Romero said. “I’ve got all the paperwork; I just have to get the kids involved again.”
During the Chief Financial Officer report, District CFO Mitch Nutterfield said there were some concerns the board would have to look at regarding the budgeting for the upcoming wage increase at the beginning of next year.
Board Member Ed Romero stated he also saw some troubling gaps in pay for teachers that need to be looked at.
“There’s really big gaps between people that have been here five years and people that are just getting started that isn’t really fair to the people that have been here for five years,” said Ed Romero, “so we really need to get that adjusted.”
Dr. Bonnie Aaron said the numbers this year are showing to be down 42 students from the same time last year and because of continued low reading scores, the state will be intervening to see that improvements are made.
“Because the state didn’t see the dramatic improvement in reading levels from the read act, they’re going into intervention mode and requiring that Kindergarten through grade three teachers take additional reading training and be trained to teach students in K through grade three how to read,” Dr. Aaron said.
In addition to continuing to drop in students, keeping staff has also been a problem for the district and the board expressed they were very interested in figuring out why retention was such a problem. Another resignation letter was presented to the board from a teacher who had only begun this year.
“If somebody could talk to these teachers that are resigning and find out why they’re not staying that’s what I really want to know,” said Rossetti. “What can the district do to keep people here? It seems like every year we keep looking for new teachers.”
Romero requested that exit interviews be conducted to find out why teachers are leaving so that solutions could be provided in the future.