RANCHESTER — Four members of the AdvancED accreditation team interviewed the Sheridan County School District 1 Board of Trustees for about an hour Monday to gain a better understanding of how the school district works and the board’s role in steering policy within the district.
Board members were asked to discuss some of the district’s strengths. Trustee Carol Garber, who has children in the district schools, said the schools are a close-knit community and sometimes feel like an extended family. Chairman Gary Reynolds said the cultures at the Big Horn and Tongue River schools are different, but both do a good job of adhering to standards set by the board.
One of the final questions asked of board members was where they wanted to see the district in five years. Reynolds said he wants the district to remain independent, and have the same structure it currently has, with the board overseeing the schools.
Reynolds added that the district has a great dual and concurrent enrollment partnership with Sheridan College, but he’d like to see an increase in vocational and technical opportunities so students are exposed to a wider variety of potential career options. He said those opportunities can be expensive but are worthwhile.
Possibilities might include more vocational classes, or an increase in internship and job-shadowing options.
Trustee Mary Schilling agreed, saying there should be enough options offered “so that every kid can find something that’s going to interest them.”
Board members talked for a few minutes about how to respond if a citizen comes to them with a comment or question. If the topic has anything to do with education, board members said they always tell district superintendent Marty Kobza.
The board will evaluate Kobza’s performance as superintendent at next week’s regular meeting. Reynolds said Kobza and the board jointly developed a few goals last year, and Kobza will be evaluated based on how well he met those goals.
Board members also discussed self-evaluation, noting that a handbook on board personal conduct was recently developed, and will be reconsidered for updates each year.
“I think we got a little more honest with each other through that process,” Schilling said.
Board members said the position of community volunteer coordinator may be paid in the future, as the district is in the process of applying for a grant.
The AdvancED accreditation process will conclude Wednesday. The next regular board meeting is next Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Ranchester central office.