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Pederson to retire


October 3, 2019

POMEROY-Long-time and beloved Band and Art Teacher, Marcus Pederson, presented a notice of retirement to the Pomeroy School District Board of Directors at Monday’s meeting, September 23, 2019. After 35 years of employment with the school district, it was an emotional presentation for Pederson, who had nothing but praise for the staff and administration, as well as the school board. He said he had “outlived about 10 principals and seven superintendents,” but that he “could not have asked for a better teaching position.” He will finish out the 2019-2020 school year and retire after its completion. Pederson added that he and his wife, Joanne Pederson, will stay in Pomeroy because they “love it here.”

Enrollment has dropped slightly from the beginning of the school year, from 310 to 307, with a few students moving out of the district. However, the enrollment number is still higher than the 290 for which the district budgeted, so Superintendent Rachel Gwinn is still satisfied with the enrollment level.

The school board directors approved the placement of a 2003 International School Bus on the surplus list. That bus has a 72-passenger capacity and has accrued 327,000 miles. It is being replaced with a newly purchased school bus, approved during the previous 2018-2019 school year. Due to the new purchase, the directors also approved Resolution No. 288, a transfer of funds to the Transportation Vehicle Fund (TVF). The cost of the new bus was slightly more than the amount already in the TVF.

Kelly McKiernan, Pomeroy School District Business Manager, stated that the school district had $942,101 in cash and investments as of the end of August, 2019. He also reported that the recent state auditor’s report did find some errors that needed correction, which were minor and were easily fixed.

Due to the resignation of Aaron Stallcop as School Board Director at the August School Board meeting, Geremy Nelson has been appointed by the board to the vacated seat, and to finish out Stallcop’s term through the end of the calendar year. Nelson had filed to run unopposed for the seat in November, so the appointment was an easy choice for the School Board, and was determined and approved at the August School Board meeting. Nelson was sworn in and attended the September 23 meeting.

Gwinn reported to the board that Discipline Policy 3241 will need to be reviewed and updated to reflect changes required by The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The new changes are more restrictive about removing students from the classroom for disciplinary purposes. The issue that the OSPI is trying to address is that students miss important instruction while they are out of the classroom or possibly suspended from school.

Teachers will now be required to attempt some in-class intervention strategies by using a “best practice” menu of intervention choices, and will also be required to keep documentation of which strategies have been used. Follow-up phone calls or meetings with parents will also be required for each disciplinary action. The school districts will have the opportunity to write their own disciplinary policy as long as it fits within the requirements and guidelines of the OSPI. Jr./Sr. High School Principal, Amy Miller, said that “in-school suspension” will be utilized as much as possible so that students will have continued learning opportunities.

The school board directors were given copies of a proposed discipline policy by Gwinn, which will be reviewed by each director and discussed further at the next meeting.

The High School Principal’s report was given by Principal Amy Miller. She stated that the teachers at the Jr./Sr. High School are each beginning work on writing a “Scope and Sequence” for one of their classes. This has not been done since 1989, or even earlier for math. Significant changes have occurred in state standards since that time. Miller added that a large amount of professional development time will be spent completing this project.

Ty Bye, English teacher, has begun work on an advocacy/mentoring program to share with the staff. Administrative observations of teaching staff will begin the first week of October. All Jr./Sr. High teachers are now incorporating math lessons in each class, and the math teachers are working on a “common math terms” list to provide to other teachers.

Miller has given her staff a 30-item list of self-care activities to complete as part of a professional development challenge. She also informed the board that the high school staff has decided to adopt a new approach to parent/teacher conferences this year, with an open format. The teachers will have tables located in the gym, where parents may choose the teachers with which they would like to visit. This is a common practice with other school districts.

The school will also offer food and prizes as an incentive for parents to attend, and it will be held the same week as Homecoming, and the same night as the “Lip Sync” contest, which is usually well attended. If parents would like to have a more private conversation with a teacher, that opportunity will still be available by appointment.

Gwinn gave the Elementary Principal’s and Superintendent’s reports, stating that the elementary school has had a good start to the school year, including the new math curriculum, which is well liked by the teachers. The sixth-graders will be at Camp Wooten the week of September 23, 2019. The school is currently in the process of assessing for Title I certification.

As the superintendent, Gwinn has been working with the health district to get immunizations up-to-date. The Garfield County Health District sent letters to parents early in the school year due to new state requirements.

The school district received a letter from the Odessa School District Football Coach stating that they enjoyed their time in Pomeroy during the home football game on September 6, 2019, and really appreciated the hospitality shown by the Pomeroy staff and administration.

Gwinn also reminded the school board that the district will be hosting a Pomeroy Youth Football tournament, as well as the Volleyball Border Battle Tournament, on Saturday, September 28. Each tournament will involve several teams who will be travelling to Pomeroy.

The next meeting of the Pomeroy School District Board of Directors will be in the Shepherd Room of the Elementary School building on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 6 p.m..


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