March 6th Richland School Board Meeting

The Richland School Board met for regular business Monday evening, March 6th.

At the meeting it was reported that bids for the 2017 referendum projects have been opened and projects will be considered for approval at this week’s Buildings & Property Committee meeting. That committee will recommend to the full board during a special meeting next week which projects the district can afford within the scope of the referendum voters approved last year. That meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday (March 14) night at 7:30 PM at the high school IMC.

Brian Jones, Director of Operations and Maintenance, discussed the recent safety walkthroughs that took place in all of the district buildings. He said that over 60 points were looked in each facility from general cleanliness to fire protection and electrical checks. Jones added that they also looked at the training the staff members had in the areas of CPR and first aid. Generally he said the district does have safe facilities, but they did find some areas that needed to be corrected and those have been taken care of.

Lisa Stafford updated the board on the activities that are taking place at Lincoln Elementary. She said that the 4K and 5K students in the building are participating in a new reading curriculum this year through Houghton Mifflin called Big Day and Journeys. She said it’s been a very positive addition because the programs use popular main stream books that are familiar to students in that age group. Stafford added that there is also a very strong ELL component to the program that helps students whose primary language is not English. Lisa Stafford reported that seven families recently completed the “Raising a Thinking Child” parenting class. That’s up from the four families that took part in the first year of the program in 2016. Utilizing a new program called “Handwriting Without Tears”, Stafford indicated that the district’s youngest learners are developing fine motor skills that assist them with writing, drawing, and cutting. Lisa Stafford said that more-and-more students are coming to school without those skills, presumably due to the amount of technology children are exposed to. She said that a swiping and tapping skill used with electronic devices has often replaced the gripping skill that’s needed to operate a pencil and scissors in the early years of school. Stafford also reported on a number of fun activities that students have participated in including American Education Week, the 100th Day of School, Dr. Suess’s birthday, and Farm to School. She even shared samples of the strawberry jam and dried apples that students recently helped prepare.

Student Council representative Yevheiny Mizin reported that the recent prom dress resale event raised around $2,000 for the organization. That money will be used for group activities, charitable work, and program expenses for Student Council.

The Richland School Board meeting was light on action items Monday night. The board approved four exchange students from Nacel Open Door at RCHS for next school year. An agreement for Southwest CAP Head Start to rent space at the Richland Middle School was approved for $15 per day for next school year – unchanged from the current school year. And a pair of requests to waive Policy 252 – School Events on Wednesday, Sundays, and Holidays was approved. One would allow a fundraiser on the evening of Wednesday, May 4th for the RCHS Girls Soccer Team. The other would allow the high school to host a post prom party early on the morning of Sunday, April 23rd.