Sisters School Board snapshot
Last updated 5/11/2021 at Noon
The Sisters School Board met Wednesday, May 5 for its regular monthly meeting, which was preceded by a Sisters School District Budget Committee meeting, at which the 2021-22 budget was approved. Details of the budget will appear in next week’s Nugget.
Board members in attendance for the Zoom meeting included chair Jay Wilkins, Edie Jones, David Thorsett, Jeff Smith, and Don Hedrick.
• In the wake of COVID-19 cases that required quarantining students at Sisters High School and the entire 6th grade at Sisters Middle School, Superintendent Curt Scholl explained that quarantine protocol for schools requires that any exposure now initiates a 14-day quarantine. Scholl wants to finish the final five weeks strong and have as many kids in school as possible, and said he felt frustrated having a number of kids out of school in the past two or three weeks.
“We are not seeing transference in schools and that appears to be true nationwide so the new protocol is keeping kids from school,” he said.
He believes there is a bigger chance of spreading COVID-19 when kids are out of school and that many cases get started at activities outside of school including community sports, travel together, sleepovers, and kids not practicing safety when not in school. Scholl ended his report with thanks to all the school staff in their efforts all year long in a very challenging time.
“This is the group I would want to face challenges with,” he said.
• Board member David Thorsett expressed concern about communication when contact tracing is required for student exposure. He asserted that very clear information is required for the community to be confident in what is going on. Scholl responded, acknowledging that follow-up and communication is vital and takes a lot of work-time.
• A vaccination clinic is scheduled for Thursday, May 13, at Sisters High School, but the district is hoping to push that date out a bit so that if the CDC lowers the age of kids who can be vaccinated soon, more students could take part in the clinic. The vaccine is currently only available to students 16 and older.
• Sisters received a grant from Volkswagen that will pay 30 percent of the cost of two new buses. The other 70 percent will be funded through government reimbursement.
• Overall district attendance stands at 1,150, which was a slight dip, but anticipated to rise for next year.
• Superintendent Scholl reported that the school bond campaign political action committee has continued its outreach to the public, including to civic groups such as the Kiwanis. Questions from the public have included what will happen to the current elementary school and district office properties if the building bond passes. Ballots are due May 18. The PAC plans one final push, and will contact people who have not voted.
• Scholl said that he has appreciated having lots of opportunity to engage with the public about the bond and other school-related issues.
• High School Principal Joe Hosang reported that summer school programs will be offered for credit recovery for students in need thanks to extra funding from the state. Seven teachers have agreed to offer classes, but opportunities will depend on final needs and sign-ups. Plans for a June 4 graduation at Reed Stadium are moving forward — in some way — in order to maximize the number of attendees. The class has eight valedictorians. Senior celebration/scholarship night is going to be combined with a senior awards event on May 20, rather than having a separate evening as normal. Plans may change. Banners featuring graduates will be distributed around town.
• Tim Roth reported from the middle school and thanked outgoing Principal Alison Haney for her mentorship as he is now taking over as the principal for the 2020-21 school year. Plans are moving forward for eighth-grade promotion outdoors. Summer activities are planned for students that will focus on science. Plans include offering opportunities related to science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), as well as educational outdoor offerings which will include focus on social/emotional well-being.
• Elementary School Principal Joan Warburg began her report by acknowledging Teacher Appreciation Week and reported that Sisters Parent Teacher Community has honored teachers with gifts and goodies. End-of-the-year plans are underway for kindergarten and fourth-grade milestones, so there will be celebrations for them. Part of kindergarten promotion will be to allow parents to be able to visit the school, having not been in the building all year. The school may be able to do a send-off for fourth-graders outdoors, and also keep the end of year fire-hose-soaking tradition as in many years past.
• Kindergarten Round-Up has been ongoing. Summer programs may be available if Sisters receives the state grant, and will have a childcare component. Sisters Park & Recreation District and Sisters Elementary School are formulating plans to collaborate over a five-week summer program. Some long-term substitutes who know SES kids and culture are prepared to help do this work. Extended-year programs for special education students will be available during the summer as well.
The next board meeting Wednesday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at Sisters Middle School, unless it needs to be done via Zoom again. The board will meet at 6 p.m. in executive session to complete the superintendent evaluation.