TWIN BRIDGES SCHOOL BOARD: Middle school to include fifth-eighth grade

The Twin Bridges School Board met May 12 to discuss graduation, summer programs, the senior trip and a new middle school model. The Board met three time since April to discuss graduation in a coronavirus world.

“Administration came with a proposal to have graduation in the gym with limitations and we ended up approving a version of that,” Board Chair Steve Janzen said. Seniors and their families, people they cohabitate with, will be able to sit next to each other at the ceremony, but must remain six feet apart from other ‘pods.’ All four entrances to the gym will be used in an effort to space people out as they enter and exit.

“So, it’s going to be fairly scaled back but as good as we can do at this time,” Janzen said. Options for livestreaming or filming the ceremony are being considered.

Driver’s education and the summer Pride program were brought up, but no final decisions made on whether or not they will occur. The strength and conditioning program, offered to all students, was approved to continue this summer. Participants will use the football field and be given their own equipment, negating any need to share.

Dr. Nancy Males, the senior class advisor, proposed a trip to Fairmont Hot Springs and a barbecue to compensate for the loss of the senior trip to Salt Lake City. The venue is open to a limited audience and options for keeping students spaced out, like taking multiple buses, were discussed. The board approved this idea as long as it remained in compliance with other COVID-19-related policies.

Dr. Males, a high school science teacher, also proposed changes to 8th and 9th grade textbooks and curriculums and received approval. Public attendance of board meetings was approved during the monthly meeting.

As the coronavirus progressed, public interested in participating were invited to attend via phone. The phone option will continue to be available despite physical allowance of community members at meetings.

The Twin Brides School Foundation, an independent foundation to receive and allot donations, was approved along with its bylaws, mission statement and five new board members. The strategic plan, in the works for two years, was also approved. The new middle school model, designating middle school as fifth through eighth grade, was approved, though it was the only item of the evening that did not receive unanimous approval.

The Board member who voted against the decision worried about the timing of the decision in relation to a changing coronavirus world. Many members of the public, who had the opportunity to express opinions during a community forum hosted by elementary principal Cindy Brown, were concerned about dropping the age to the fifth-grade level. “It was definitely a mixed bag,” Janzen said.

CBA negotiations with the Teacher’s Union were completed. In renewing health insurance, the board was able to obtain substantially lowered premiums. A few classified hires were made, one student hired for summer grounds work, the athletic director and maintenance custodial position rehired and a new fourth grade teacher added to the staff. No election was required for the Twin Bridges School Board this year.

Three positions were open for three different lengths of time, and the three total applicants all applied for unique position lengths. The board did not submit for any levies next year. Gary Konen, trustee since 2014, decided to not run for his position again and was replaced by Jamie Wood

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