SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County School District 2 board voted 5-1 to approve a contract with the nonprofit Volunteers of America Northern Rockies at their regular meeting last night.
Through the A.C.E. program (Accountability, Change in Education) the VOA provides a monitoring and reentry program for students who are suspended or expelled from the school district. The contract specifies a monthly payment of $17,915 from SCSD 2 to VOA for operation of the program from Aug. 31 through May 30, 2014.
The lone dissenting vote was from Hollis Hackman who said he was concerned that the school district is sending students with discipline issues to a separate entity rather than creating a program within the district.
“That just doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “If they are having trouble they need to have a strong relationship in the school. I remain unconvinced that this is the best way to go at this point.”
He added that he believes there is space within the district to have a similar program that would supervise students, provide homework assistance and work on discipline problems using existing or newly hired district staff who have experience dealing with at-risk youth.
In a report provided to the board from Todd Richins of VOA at their July meeting it was noted that 272 district students participated in the A.C.E. program during the last school year.
Also during the meeting, the board was updated on the status of the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Snack Program. At the July meeting, the board had discussed the importance of the program and were concerned that only Henry A. Coffeen Elementary School had received a grant to offer the program in the coming year.
However, last night, Roxie Taft, SCSD 2 business manager, notified the board that all district elementary schools will be participating in the program. The FFV snacks will be offered three days a week and five days a week during PAWS testing. In a memo to board members, she estimated the cost of the program to be $60,000.
“This is a very positive program,” she told the board. “I think it is appreciated not only by students, but by staff members as well.”
In other business, the board was updated on summer school attendance. Scott Stults, director of elementary education, reported that 157 elementary, 64 junior high and 45 high school students attended various summer school classes and enriched learning activities. He also noted that 310 students are registered for kindergarten this fall, with the potential for that number to increase to 326.
The meeting opened with a presentation by Sheridan High School Principal Dirlene Wheeler to SHS School Psychologist Servio Carroll. Carroll was awarded the Wyoming School Psychology Association’s 2013 Award for his literary accomplishments. Carroll has written 85 professional articles for publication, as well as seven books, including one in Spanish.