Barb Thomas presented several positions she believes the Challis school district could use to improve its image and employee relations at the Oct. 9 school board meeting.
Thomas, who taught in the Challis Junior-Senior High School till August of this year, wants the school board to consider honoring a teacher of the year, an administrator of the year and offer other “little pats on the shoulder.”
The awards could be morale boosts for the district, according to Thomas, and give the district something to brag about.
“People need it,” said Thomas. “It makes you feel good.”
Thomas asked the board to support teachers financially. She said it is not uncommon for teachers to spend their own money for whiteboards and other supplies. Thomas said the district gets money from the state and county for maintenance and that money could also be used to pay for supplies.
Another improvement Thomas suggested related to hiring new teachers. She suggested the district send out contracts early in April so they can be back by May 1 to help recruit teachers straight out of college who are excited to start working. Her suggestion for enticing these potential employees is to advertise Challis as a great place to live and start a career.
“I would make them want to come here. We live in vacation land,” said Thomas.
Other business discussed at the board meeting included adding a health curriculum paid for by the state. Kaylene Craig of Eastern Idaho Public Health presented two options for teens looking to avoid sexual situations.
Reduce The Risk, meant for high schoolers, and Making A Difference, designed for middle school students, teach young adults ways to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The courses put emphasis on abstinence, but retain the option of teaching teens preventive measures, such as using condoms correctly.
The curriculum teaches refusal and avoidance skills by showing teens how to “say no, even to the people you like.”
The school board unanimously approved the curriculum and gave Craig the go-ahead to teach the two programs. Parents have the option to opt their children out.
Jolie Turek updated board members on the status of the baseball field the district is trying to build. Turek said the district didn’t get the grant it applied for, but she is willing to apply for more. Turek asked that whatever money the baseball field project gets in grants and through fundraising be matched by the district.
The school board concluded the meeting by authorizing Tom Coates to take three students to the FFA national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
They will leave Oct. 24 and return Nov. 4. Before going to the convention, Coates and the students will travel around the country, visiting places like the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.
Board members said goodbye to Terry Stillwaugh, who resigned her post on the board. With a vacant seat, the other school board members will appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Stillwaugh’s term. People can apply at the district office.