The Dolores RE-4A Board of Education on Thursday discussed BOCES and attendance initiatives and approved a bond resolution that promises voters that the construction bond would not be spent unless the district received a BEST grant.
Before getting to the business side of things, the board heard from Dolores sixth graders who recently took a field trip to Bradfield Bridge for an immersive learning experience.
During their time at Bradfield Bridge, students took turns spending an allotted amount of time with their teachers and doing practical, hands-on activities.
In social studies, they talked about water and how it works in the world economy while learning the origins of the Dolores River.
Sixth-grader Kennedy Erautt told the board about how they measured the speed of water using oranges in their math section, Randon Hooper explained the exercises for language arts and Owen Elder for science.
Because there were no citizen comments, the board moved into Reece Blincoe’s superintendent report, where they talked more about BOCES and details surrounding Cortez’s planned exit from the organization, though it hasn’t yet become official.
Blincoe told the board that if the state would not allow the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 district to exit BOCES, they could still appeal the decision, which would go to the Montezuma County Board of County Commissioners.
Blincoe said that as he understood it, Montezuma-Cortez wasn’t happy with BOCES’ services and costs and took a position that BOCES over-identified students in need of services.
Montezuma-Cortez Superintendent Tom Burris has canceled an Oct. 28 presentation hosted by the Montezuma County League of Women Voters in which he planned to discuss the district’s plans to withdraw from BOCES.
The board also heard from Multi-Tiered System of Supports’ Catherine Freeman, who gave an update on some projects, including attendance issues.
MTSS recently sent surveys to parents asking about barriers that might keep students out of school. The level of survey response was high at both the elementary and middle schools. All by 10 high school surveys were returned.
Respondents from the elementary school survey cited reasons such as illness and health, none of the above, other, transportation, family situation, anxiety, bullying and struggling with their studies.
A survey of middle and high school students produced similar results. Top reasons included illness or health, followed by situations at home, other, hunting, farm, transportation, help with younger siblings, struggling in school, anxiety and bullying.
Freeman said the surveys were not done anonymously, so students who reported bullying were referred to the school counselor. Attendance records would be tracked with the reasons the students gave for not being able to come to school.
She said they hope the targeted system will provide more support to students who are struggling and habitually absent.
At the end of the meeting, the board presented a bond resolution to reassure voters that if passed, the bond would only be issued upon the awarding of the BEST grant. Without the grant, the bond will not be issued and will not be used for other aspects of the school or district.
The resolution was approved by the board unanimously.
The next Dolores school board meeting is in November after the election.