GRENADA – On Thursday evening the Granada Huntley East Chain School Council (GHEC) met for their first meeting of the school year and during the meeting they discussed the progress of the year so far and made plans for the coming weeks.

Shortly after the meeting began, the board heard a report from middle and high school principal Taylor Topinka.

Topinka said the teacher training and student orientation went well. Since last year, the district has split back-to-school workshops into two weeks and moved from a numerical grading system to a traditional letter-based system. Topinka also highlighted improving access to college-level courses as one of her goals during the school year. The principal said he was pleased with the results of the district’s new mobile phone policy so far, but noted that it was still very early in the school year.

Regarding the start of the school year, Topinka said: “I am continually impressed with the outstanding student body and community support we receive and as we embark on another year, I am understandably excited to begin.”

Topinka announced the addition of a new school-based therapy option for GHEC students. Starting September 13, a mental health professional will conduct therapy sessions for students who may not otherwise have access to counseling or other mental health services. The provider is not a full-time employee of the district and would hold sessions at the school one day a week.

Following Topinka’s report, Superintendent Doug Storbeck updated the council on the district and its elementary division.

The district is still unable to obtain the 21 missing Chromebooks that were undergoing maintenance when the company performing said maintenance went bankrupt. Although the district expects to receive these devices eventually, it has planned to order replacement devices to maintain the size of its existing inventory. Storbeck also announced plans to discard and replace some older or damaged Chromebook cases.

Storbeck also noted that the total number of registrations remained largely the same. Overall, the district has five more K-12 students enrolled compared to the same time last year.

After receiving the reports, the board moved on to discuss the action points.

The board has approved long-term replacement contracts for kindergarten teacher Niki Lewis and paraprofessional Melissa Engel during the current school year. They also designated the December 8 school board meeting at 6 p.m. as a public hearing to discuss the district budget and property taxes.

The board has decided to approve the district tax certification at the maximum amount that can be claimed. This was to ensure that the district would be adequately funded if their next ballot measure denied their request to submit a building bond. If the measures are successful, the district could reduce its levy later this year.

After approving action items, the board discussed potential meeting times for information sessions regarding their next ballot action, revisions to student drop-off at the start of the school day, potential expansion of the parking space and plans to attend an upcoming staff leadership conference. The Board took no further action on these matters.

Now that the school year has begun, all subsequent school council meetings should be attended by a student body representative.

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