School board shares reasons for serving

Director of Special Services, Trina Nichol, discusses new matters of business as well as introductions to new staff at Tuesday night’s Goshen County School District Board meeting. Rhett Breedlove/Torrington Telegram

GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County School Board (GCSB) met Tuesday night at the Central Administration Building promptly at 7 p.m. to discuss both old and new matters regarding the Goshen County School District (GCSD).

GCSD Superintendent, Ryan Kramer, was in attendance along with Business Manager, Marcy Cates.

All school board trustees were also present with the exception of Justin Hurley.

One notable matter of business that was discussed during the meeting, were personal reasons as to why each school board member chose to run for his or her seat. This conception was brought up by board member Dylan Hager at last month’s August meeting.

“Still one of the main reasons was that I felt the majority of needs and wants within the district as well as students was basically getting overlooked,” Hager began. “I thought a majority of voices went unheard, overlooked or changed a bit, especially through Covid. I’ve always liked the team aspect of what I thought the school board was going to be. I still, in my gut, strive and want to create a better team. Even though we have different ideas and thoughts on how to go about it, my goal would be if we could all agree on where we want to head and how to get there. I still don’t think we have tackled that yet.”

Along with Hager, other board members shared their own personal thoughts, stories and reasoning behind choosing to become a school board member, each with an individualized answer.

According to board member, Chris Alexander, “The reason I even thought about running is, a few years back when we were going through the past mask mandates, I felt the school board had overstepped their bounds in masking, and with parents being able to take care of their own issues. The school didn’t have the authority to tell students what to do with their own concerns, and there were questions where all this money was coming from with Covid. It was just a yes vote on everything, and nobody was questioning anything. I wanted to provide transparency, and I am going to continue to question things as well as look into investigating things. I’m going to continue to do that, and will continue to let the public know what is going on, what they should know about and what to take a look at. I’m just going to be straight up forward, and let partners know what’s going on too.”

Moving forward, board members Sarah Chaires, Carlos Saucedo, Matthew Cushman, Lena Moeller, Wade Phipps and Michael Sussex also shared personal reasons and ideas for choosing to serve the GCSD.

“I’m in a different position because I wasn’t voted in,” board member Moeller stated. “I think the primary reason to become involved in the school board was that I moved away and came back. I have two children, a niece and a nephew in this school district. It is so important for the community that our teachers have a voice. I sat through a lot of meetings, and felt as though there was a gap there with teachers needing to have a voice. I wanted to be a part of the solution, I didn’t want to just challenge everything. It’s not my style to sit back and complain. It’s my style to get involved, see what is right or wrong and do it together.”

According to board member Saucedo, “A position opened up and I applied, primarily because I was asked, but initially, I was reluctant. There were areas where I was unfamiliar with, but I had to step out of being comfortable to actually grow, and I think I’ve done that. Sometimes when it comes to achievement tests, our kids put a lot of pressure on themselves. That achievement sometimes creates a lot of stress, anxiety and pressure. I think that’s important for kids to understand. I think that for growth and where they can contribute in different ways, we have to actually think about diversity. When I talk about that, it’s kind of a complicated concept because I do agree with diversity, but I want to take it one step further in being mindful of diversity. It is more important to talk about inclusion, where you can have two people in a room and they will be diverse in their thoughts and ideas. That inclusion piece is extremely important with diversity. My goal is to be a voice for teachers, community members, parents, and to bring us all together. If we are to understand, we have to focus on diversity ultimately, and we have to strive for inclusion. That’s why I am part of the board.”

Other staples on the agenda for the evening involved the motion of approval for the renaming of the GCSD Tennis 5 Courts.

Superintendent Kramer spoke on the matter stating, “If 80 percent of the committee votes to move that forward, this would come back as an action item in October during the next board meeting, and I would like to have a committee of eight people.” 

Saucedo would be the first to volunteer to sit on the proposed committee, with further consideration for others moving forward on the issue.

One other significant matter for Tuesday night’s meeting involved the motion of approval for a proposed half-time contract to Randy Epler, as a Multi-Tiered System of Support Coordinator for the 2023-2024 school year. 

It should be noted that Epler retired from the full-time MTSS position earlier this year at the end of May. 

Superintendent Kramer explained to both the school board and community members in attendance the extreme importance of the MTSS position, a strong factor in Epler once again taking on the position on a part time basis. 

“Each building is expected to have a strategy for meeting the needs of different tiers of students,” Kramer stated. “Tier one are interventions of staff who can speak more specifically, something that they are going over with vocabulary daily. Tier two is a peace from a four to six week basis, and those team meetings look at those sessions where data is being collected and make determinations. There is a monitoring practice that goes along with where we focus on behaviors, so coordinating that access at the district level, while building needs is extremely important. Those who design the literacy put the language in that grant. In order to be a part of the literacy grant, this has to take a serious step from over the last two years. This also allows us to take that data through that tiered system and make the determination with that direction, should it be pushed forward.” 

The meeting adjourned at 10 p.m. and will reconvene on October 10, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the Central 

Administration Building. For further information regarding the GCSB or the GCSD, feel free to call 307-532-2171.

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