SHERIDAN — Since the fall of 2007 the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies have partnered with Sheridan County School District 2 to provide services to suspended students via the ACE program.
Accountability Change in Education houses students instead of participating in out-of-school suspensions and VOA Division Director Todd Richins said this ensures a safe situation for the students while providing goals and structure.
Richins said the program is divided in concentration with 40 percent of the time spent identifying the behaviors which landed the student in suspension and working to change those behaviors, 50 percent of the time focused on substitute teacher-led academics and 10 percent spent performing acts of community service or exercise.
In response to board requests and expectations set by the district prior to this year’s contract renewal, the ACE directors implemented a few changes and performed a more thorough examination of the effectiveness of the program.
Two staff members attended the Boys Town training offered recently and principals of Boys Town will be implemented into the elementary level ACE program. Concepts included in the Code of the West were also analyzed and implemented.
The program has added a computer lab to their facilities, has held regular meetings with district representatives and has experienced no staff turnover, all areas identified as ways to improve the effectiveness of the program.
During the SCSD2 Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, Richins presented figures showing the effectiveness of the program in terms of how many students receive another suspension assignment to ACE following their initial completion of the program.
ACE served 530 students in the 2013-2014 school year including 97 elementary students, 129 junior high students and 304 high school students districtwide.
Of those students, 136 repeated their enrollment in ACE — 26 elementary, 24 junior high and 86 high school students.
Though the 530 served were a small percentage of students compared to the 2,996 students who did not access ACE, Richins said the students who were placed there did need the service and showed marked improvements as a result of completing the program.
After the presentation, the board voted unanimously to approve the contract renewal at a cost of $17,915 per month for the 2014-2015 academic year.
In other business:
• The Early Building roof replacement has begun and it will necessistate the closure of the back parking lot for a construction staging site. Materials will begin arriving next week and tear down can commence at that time. The extent of the damage has yet to be determined and will be identified as tear down continues.
• A project completion ceremony and time capsule dedication will be held for the new Coffeen School on Aug. 9 at 3 p.m. The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Wyoming will conduct a ceremony and local dignitaries will be in attendance. The public will be invited and more information will be advertised shortly.
• Director of Elementary Education Scott Stults presented a recap of Parent Teacher Organization and Board of Trustees Focus Group meetings. There were many praises and concerns shared among the schools including praising music programs and facility enhancements and concerns about capacity and technology.
• The district is applying for $2,637,674 from the Consolidated Grant fund to add 25.2 positions next school year.
• An updated version of the board goals was approved and Trustee Wayne Schatz suggested that a copy be posted for public review throughout the year.
• Donations from the community were accepted including nine trees from Landon’s Greenhouse and Nursery and several donations made to the Destination Imagination team.
• Mitch Craft presented an update on the Graduation Counts Committee meetings. Approximately 25 committee members are working on a variety of aspects affecting graduation rates in subcommittees with a common short-term goal of identifying critical aspects within the community and identifying common trends of students who drop out of school.
• A revised personnel action report and a profession and non-exempt salary and benefits package were approved following executive session.
• District Business Manager Roxie Taft was recognized for receiving a certificate from the Association of School Business Officials International naming her a Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations.
• SHS Activities Director Don Julian presented the spring activity report and noted that following the annual Blue Ribbon Art Symposium a statue made by Becky Blommel will be on display in the Governor’s Mansion for the next year.