The Thompson Board of Education began the meeting listening to a presentation by the members of the Coyote Ridge Elementary School Lego robotics team. These elementary students lost one of there fellow students in 2008 when a driver talking on her cell phone struck and killed Erica Forney as she was riding her bicycle home from school. Since that time the practice of talking and texting on cell phones has become known as “Distracted Driving” and these kids want to do something about it. They explained distracted driving to the board and showed the signs they had designed. The students asked the School board to authorize placing the signs at the school driveway entrances to remind people not to talk and drive at the schools.
Several parents addressed he board with their concerns over concerns the boards hiring a replacement director of special education. All have children in the special education program and were seeking a more open process and parental involvement in the hiring process. Pat Chamberlin of Berthoud admonished the board to challenge these special education students to achieve as much as they can according to their ability.
The board had only a few action items for the evening, approving two proclamations, declaring February as Career and Technical Education Month and designating March 3 as Colorado Children’s Day.
They also approved a $1,081,000 expenditure to Apple Computer for a network operating system and server infrastructure replacement.
The board then received presentations on the 2009 District Accreditation Report and the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC).
The district’s two elementary level Spanish teachers described how Spanish is being introduced in the first through third grades this year. The two women create a half hour video lesson that is shown each week to each class. The teachers also make a live visit to each class once a month. They said that the program is giving good results, that they find the children using the words they have learned. The also noted that in classrooms where the teacher has shown interest by having posters and other aids, that the students are much more likely to be using the language.
The board received a written report on the OmniGlobe technology integration project. The high-tech Omni Globe, a staff position and transportation were provided to the district as a gift from the Erion Foundation.
The Loveland High School swimming pool project came in for a great deal of discussion. The district has committed to slightly over 1 million dollars as their share of the cost. Public donations and matching funds from the City of Loveland are to make up the rest. Both the city and some foundations that have pledged need to have the money spent this year, but there is some question whether there is enough money to complete the project. Former school board president Bill McCreary addressed the board and said that the pool design was flawed in the aspect that it is unnecessarily plush for the needs of the school district and that it could be done for less than the $3 million being suggested. The organizers of the public fund drive disagreed with McCreary, saying it was a good design that would last for many years. The staff took direction from the board to try to find ways to bring the pool cost in to the $2 million range and to get started this year.