The Mancos RE-6 school board on Monday discussed upcoming changes to the board because of the November election, the superintendent evaluation in January, creating procedure manuals and continuing project-based learning programs that show real-life examples of student excellence.
After routine updates about recent meetings with the Colorado Association of School Boards and BOCES, the board discussed its finances and looked at projections for the 2024 portion of the school year.
They noted they have received 30 grants so far, compared with 40 last year.
Katie Cahill-Volpe, whose term will be up in November, remarked that the district wasn’t getting enough state funding, and the board noted that the district has 11 grant-funded positions and no HR person.
They also discussed teacher safety, noting that teachers nationwide are leaving the profession because of increasingly violent student behaviors, even at an elementary level, which Superintendent Todd Cordrey said is unprecedented.
Many teachers, Cordrey said, are leaving teaching because they feel unsafe and are spending so much time with bad behavior and student aggression that they can’t teach properly. The board said it was important to ensure that Mancos teachers feel safe.
The board spoke of making the postelection transition as smooth as possible for whoever is elected Nov. 7, especially with the superintendent evaluation coming up in January and preparatory work for that beginning in November.
The board has been updating and revising the superintendent evaluation and adding more specific and targeted goals and descriptors.
Cordrey said he is working on helping create operation manuals for each area of the school to help teachers, staff, administrators and the school board understand what to do when certain situations arise.
Project-based learning is a core foundation of education in the Mancos school district, and the board talked about their continued goals to have above-standard project-based learning and to continue providing and creating deeper and student-centric learning models.
They said project-based learning was “crucial” in a student-centric model that helps students pursue their goals for secondary education, workforce, military or others.
Board member Emily Hutcheson-Brown suggested doing demonstrations that showcased how students have applied project-based learning skills outside the classroom, because some parents and residents ask questions about what project-based learning is and how it works.
Demonstrations can show how students are applying their learning, Hutcheson-Brown said. They would also be able to showcase the work the district is doing in educating its students and setting them up for success in life.