School board makes board appointments, continues with dome project

Uinta County School District No. 1 board Chairman David Peterson removed himself from the Uinta BOCES board on Tuesday, proposing that David Bennett replace him. Pictured are Dan Wheeler, Brian Woodward and Peterson. (HERALD PHOTO/Hayden Godfrey)

By Hayden Godfrey

Herald reporter

The Uinta County School District (UCSD) No. 1 board held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10. 

The meeting began with the placement of trustees on other local boards. Board chair David Peterson removed himself from the Uinta BOCES board and nominated David Bennett to succeed him. The current UCSD No. 1 representatives on the BOCES board are Christa Barker, David Bennett and Dan Wheeler. Wheeler, Joel Wiedrich and Jenny Welling remain on the Evanston Parks and Recreation board. A new appointment to the rec board was tabled until next month’s school board meeting. Wheeler remains on the Region V BOCES board.

Davis Middle School Principal Rick O’Driscoll addressed the board on behalf of the middle schools’ seventh grade science professional learning community (PLC.) He opened by describing how the middle schools differ from the elementary and high schools in the district. “We are one school with two campuses. We have one teacher at Evanston Middle School (EMS) and one teacher at Davis Middle School (DMS,) and they come together every week to make sure the work they’re doing is very much the same.”

DMS science teacher Rylee Berger and EMS science teacher Derek Haider gave an overview of their department’s techniques. “I’ll be honest,” said Haider, “the work here is a continuation of lots of years of work. This is an ongoing work that started four PLC partners ago.” He said he believes that, despite much progress, there is still room for improvement. He added that the science department’s proficiency scales use check boxes. “Students have this within their notebook…they have the opportunity to go through and check what they can do and can’t do yet. If they can do it, they check it off, and they know what we expect them to be able to do.”

The department also uses short assessments to determine students’ level of proficiency. Haider said “Between Ms. Berger and myself, we’ve been able to focus our attention on students who need our help.”

Berger added, “After all of our questions, we indicate which part of the proficiency scale the questions go to, so we know if a student is proficient.” 

Berger said that she and Haider gather student data online. “After we build our proficiency scales in our PLC, we put them into a system … this is how we keep track and store data in our PLC.”

EMS Principal Eric Christenot described a new two-pronged method for grading students in academics and work habits. “What we are going to do is have two separate grades.” This would rank both coursework and student habits on a 0-4 scale, similar to the academic model local schools have adopted, but with two marks rather than one. The work habits would focus on things like class behavior, punctuality and work completion. This system would affect student eligibility in school events.

Evanston High School drama teacher Erin Russell, along with five of her 65 state theatrercontestants, appeared before the board. Russell announced that her students had competed in 64 events. “Other than our main stage shows, there are 24 other events that kids can participate in with acting and technical work.” The Drama Devils took third place in the 4A sweepstakes. “We went to defend our state title, so we were a little sad at first,” Russell said, adding that, overall, her students were pleased with their position, four points behind second and 11 behind first. “When you’re talking 198 points, we were really close.” 

Thirty-one students received honorable mention awards, and 20 students earned all-state. Two students performed a musical duet for the trustees. 

EMS Spanish teacher Amy Velasquez and DMS Spanish teacher Courtnie Link requested permission to attend the University of Wyoming’s World Language Day with Challenge Spanish students in March. Velasquez said local middle schoolers attend the event almost annually, but two years have been missed due to COVID. “Thankfully, we’re getting back into the swing of things, and the university will hold the event on campus again this year.” The board made the stipulation that the trip would require four chaperones.

The board reviewed the three inflatable domes they purchased from Brigham Young University last year. At the time, all three domes cost the district $300,000. The domes are valued at $975,000 each. “We got a heck of a deal,” said facilities director Jaraun Dennis. 

Dennis said the project might be started in May, with concrete on the ground in June. “These aren’t just toys,” said Dennis. “They’re significant, and there’s construction that goes into it.” He assured the trustees that when the smoke clears on the project, the domes will be an asset to the district.

The board voted to approve the district’s 20-year lifetime of service stipend, which doubles longtime employees’ sick leave payout and grants them $100 per year of service. The stipend acts as a notice of retirement by those who take it. The board voted in favor.

Trustees voted to approve the World Language Day trip under the stipulation that there be two chaperones of each gender present throughout the event. They voted to approve a concussion protocol on second reading. They passed the 2023 board schedule, which will move board meetings to the second Tuesday of every month, effective July 19. 

The board approved bus lease financing, a quitclaim deed, the high school dome project and employee concealed carry.

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