Central Services Facility

NCSD News Briefing: Jan. 24, 2011

The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees on Monday approved a transportation policy exception that will open the way for fifth-grade students to participate in a skiing partnership with Hogadon Ski Area.

The district has a long-standing policy that prohibits school buses from traveling up Casper Mountain. An exception is already in place for transportation for after-school ski teams.

Dr. Mark Mathern, associate superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, said Monday that the district’s fleet of buses, as well as driver training programs, have changed since the policy was put into place, and that travel for the field trip program would not be dangerous.

Trustee Donn McCall echoed that the board’s Budget Development & Business Services Committee, which deals with transportation issues, also was planning to review the policy in light of technology and training upgrades.

In the meantime, fifth-graders will be allowed to ride buses up the mountain for a lifetime sports activity at Hogadon. Mathern said about 600 students might be involved, based on preliminary interest from teachers and principals, with students participating in one-day field trips in groups of 30 per day.

NCSD teachers earn National Board Certification

Also Monday, the board recognized 14 NCSD teachers who earned National Board Certification this year.

NCSD teachers who earned the certification this year include Sue Berchenbriter (Park Elementary), Michelle Bustos (Summit Elementary), Rebecca Byer (Kelly Walsh High School), Catherine Hedlund (University Park Elementary), Erin Jackson (Evansville Elementary), Sally Keith (Roosevelt High School), Laurie Kilts (Paradise Valley Elementary), Nancy Pickett (Kelly Walsh High School), Ernie Smith (Centennial Junior High), Lisa Smith (Centennial Junior High), Amy Sorensen (Crest Hill Elementary), Sandra Stille (Centennial Junior High), Mary Fair Whitlatch (art teacher at various sites) and Bethany Williams (Kelly Walsh High School).

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program considered the most rigorous in the country for assessing teacher performance. It is designed to recognize, and improve, great teaching. To earn certification, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. They also are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach. The performance-based assessment typically takes one to three years to complete.

The state, the district, and the Ellbogen Foundation all provide financial support for the pursuit, while cohorts of teachers also work together to prepare and mentor one another in the process.

In other news …

The board also heard updates on action in the Wyoming legislative session; the Eastside Activity Complex; and the district’s early notification program. It also spent its work session drafting the beginning of a board mission statement.

Finally, the board approved its standard personnel report, including new hires, promotions/transfers, and retirements/resignations. The report is available here. The board also approved a recommendation not to renew a continuing contract for Catherine Hartley following an independent hearing.