CLEARMONT — Six students attend Arvada Elementary, and all of the students are in third or fourth grade. Next year, the school will only host fourth graders.
The school board began conversations Feb. 12 about the future of Arvada Elementary if there are no more enrolled students in the kindergarten through fourth grade school once next year’s fourth graders transition to Clearmont Elementary, which teaches grades kindergarten through sixth.
“We are looking toward the future and realize that, after next year, there may not be any kids,” Auzqui said. “Decisions will have to be made at that time.”
Auzqui added that, if the school must mothball in years to come, it will be due to lack of enrollment, not finances.
Mothballing is an option in which school facilities would remain open for community needs even though a school year with teachers and students would not occur. In the event that the K-4 population in Arvada rebounds, the school would be immediately ready to reopen and serve those students.
“It was a very positive meeting with a lot of involved parents and community members,” Auzqui said. “They’re very supportive and understand the cost of keeping the school open.”
Auzqui made clear the discussion was not about shutting down the school, and the word “closure” was never used.
Samantha Grubb has taught at Arvada Elementary there three-and-a-half years.
“I’m glad to hear they would mothball versus completely closing down and that there’s potential to reopen the school. It’s really important that this community has a school to gather around,” Grubb said.
If mothballing occurs, Grubb may potentially be absorbed by a fellow school in the district, which is what she hopes would happen with her contract.
“We’re lucky in our district that they think about teachers in situations like this,” Grubb said.
Grubb loves teaching multiple grade levels and differentiates her instruction to accommodate the varying ages.
“I have complete faith in Mr. Auzqui and the school board. Even if [mothballing] does happen, it’s part of God’s plan,” Grubb said.
In other news:
• Since there were no applications for spring track coaches, it was recommended to the board that junior high and high school track teams co-op with Buffalo.
“We have successfully co-oped with Johnson County before,” Auzqui said.
SCSD3 has previously co-oped in football, wrestling, golf, swimming and track. The co-ops occur when SCSD3 can’t sponsor or fully support an activity, usually due to lack of coaching applicants or adequate practice facilities.
• The board discussed the time frame of its new strategic plan, which has a current start date for the summer of 2020.
“We have always had institutional goals, but now we will be naming them officially within the strategic plan,” Auzqui said.
Within the past few years, the district has updated board policies and leadership expectations and restructured literacy and math programs.
Auzqui said they are seeing positive results from these amendments.
Now the district feels it has the proper infrastructure in place to develop long-term plans.
The strategic plan will aid in the district’s long-term goals.
Part of developing a sound strategic plan is having an outsider visit the district and evaluate it as an unbiased third party.
“We’re involved as stakeholders, but they engage with parents, teachers, community members and the board. They come in with experience from other strategic plans to give guidance on what works. So we aren’t the leader of the process but we’re still a part of the development. It’s not just the superintendent and the board creating it on their own,” Auzqui said.
• SCSD3 board meets again March 11.