LCSD No. 1 school board hosts December meeting

COURTESY PHOTO / Ben Head

Several items were on the agenda for the Lincoln County School District No. 1 school board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Kemmerer Junior Senior High School principal Orlen Zempel recognized senior Brooklynn Hagler as student of the month.

Hagler’s teachers and coaches said she was hardworking, positive, helpful and a great role model at the high school.

Board members Brenda McGinnis and Dave Nelson were presented with awards from the Wyoming School Board Association for their leadership and service. The board also received awards for achieving a standard of excellence in certifications.

Miriam Feeley had been asked to address the board about what it would take for the high school to have an FFA chapter.

“I’m passionate about agriculture education,” Feeley said. “I’ve seen students push themselves with this program, and it really helps them succeed. I am a product of the FFA program.”

Feeley said she had spoken with the state FFA advisor, and KJSHS already meets two of the requirements for an FFA chapter: the school must have an employee with an agriculture degree, and students must be enrolled in an agriculture class. The other requirement the school would need to meet is to create a constitution and bylaws for the chapter.

The board and LCSD No.1 superintendent Teresa Chaulk said that the requirement to enroll students in an agriculture class for at least one semester each year would likely require the school to add another part-time faculty member and rework the class schedule. 

The board also asked if there were size-comparable schools in the state that had successful agriculture programs. Feeley said Mountain View, Lyman, and Manila, Utah, high schools produce strong FFA programs with schools that are similar in size to Kemmerer High.

Chaulk and Feeley agreed to research some of the board’s questions about a potential FFA chapter for Kemmerer High School students in the future.

Chaulk updated the board on the indoor pool renovations. The project hit a roadblock in July when voids were discovered underneath the deck surrounding the pool. The district had the soil from underneath the deck around the pool tested to determine the compaction rate, which is a good indicator of the deck’s building integrity.

“With the compaction test, the results were not the consistent compaction rate that we wanted,” Chaulk said.

The superintendent said because of those results, the district had chosen the option to remove 18 inches to three feet of dirt around the pool, and then continue the work when the compaction rate had been increased. 

“The estimate is four weeks for the dirt work, then plumbing and electrical,” Chaulk said.

Chaulk said she would have an updated timeline for the renovations to present to the school board at their next meeting.

Kemmerer Elementary principal Shawn Rogers and Canyon Elementary principal Brad Meyer presented the board with takeaways from the National Student Safety and Security conference they attended in late November. Rogers said there were security experts presenting information at the conference, as well as representatives from schools that have dealt with safety threats.

Some of the takeaways from the conference that Rogers and Meyer discussed included:

• Safety at school is a feeling that may be different for each student

  School security is a big industry, with lots of money being spent on programs and devices to address safety

• In order to increase school security, some freedoms may have to be sacrificed

• School safety involves more than active shooter situations

• School districts should be proactive with safety policies and update them as needed

• Mental health is a vast issue that needs to be addressed by schools

• Districts can’t ignore school safety issues, but need to find a balance that works for their district

Meyer also said several conference sessions focused on the importance of schools addressing the safety protocol that would need to be instituted immediately after an incident occurs — such as working with local law enforcement and preventing further panic among the student body and parents. 

“I think we’re doing some good things as a school in regards to school security,” Rogers said. “It was an informative conference. Everybody seemed to have a different opinion about school safety issues, so it is really up to the districts to decide what’s best for the schools and the students.”

The next LCSD No.1 school board meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7:00 p.m.