FCSD#25: New courses authorized for RHS; Griffith honored by national association; McKinnon to retire

Principal Dr. Joanne Flanagan, right, presented plans for six new courses next fall at RHS. The school board approved the curriculum additions. (Ernie Over photo)

Principal Dr. Joanne Flanagan, right, presented plans for six new courses next fall at RHS. The school board approved the curriculum additions. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com 

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Riverton High School Principal Dr. Joanne Flanagan gained approval Tuesday night to offer seven new courses to students next fall. “Each year we look at what we are courses we are offering to meet student needs,” Flanagan said. “For instance, the Science Department is hoping to offer a mix and match of classes that we don’t currently offer, but that would give students some good background in those areas prior to college.”

The proposed courses are: Creative Writing, Documentary Film Making, Pre-Med Anatomy and Physiology, Forensic Science, Engineering, and Wyoming Geology

Flanagan said all of the courses fit into the high school’s common core curriculum and that state standards would be addressed in all of the classes. She said the Documentary Film Making class “blends nicely with Central Wyoming College and their program.”  The RHS principal said her school has writing students “who are very good and often request to do more than that is allowed in the English classes, such as poetry.”

She said the classes would be electives “and we’ll roll them out there and see what students are interested and how many we’ll have.”

Superintendent Terry Snyder said all of the proposed classes “are relevant to modern day needs and for future student opportunities. They could give kids some idea of what they might major in in college,” he said. Citing one of the proposed classes, Snyder noted that Forensic Science is a great career choice, “but you almost need to be a medical doctor to get that. But by taking these classes, they’ll understand what they’ll need to do in the future to get there.”

RHS Assistant Principal John Griffith is the NASA "Assistant Principal of the Year" in Wyoming. (Ernie Over photo)

RHS Assistant Principal John Griffith is the NASA “Assistant Principal of the Year” in Wyoming. (Ernie Over photo)

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• RHS Assistant Principal John Griffith was acknowledged for receiving the “Wyoming Assistant Principal of the Year” honor last week from the National Association of School Administrators. The Association picks one Assistant Principal from each state for the honor.

“John is one of the clearest thinking, hardest working administrators I know of,” Snyder said. “He thinks through issues, stays calm, and he does the majority of discipline at RHS. He stays positive in that job, looks for the good in the kids as he continues to work in the areas of curriculum. John goes above and beyond what his job description is at RHS and the district.” Griffith also received kudos from Flanagan and the Board.

• Retirement requests, with regret, were accepted from long time Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kim McKinnon, who has been serving in the district for the past 31 years and from Lorenzo Chouinard. Both retirements are effective at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

• Glenn Ogg reported that the District 25 Recreation Board had received more requests for funding that money was available. He said the Rec Board would be reviewing all of the applications this coming week and then meet again on Monday the 28th to award grants. Ogg said the Rec Board received more requests this year for funding assistance than in any time during the past five years. Dean Peranteaux also attended the meeting.

• Snyder said he has asked the administration at the Rendezvous School to estimate what their space needs would be for the 2013-14 school year. Snyder said a large second grade class would be moving to the building this coming fall necessitating 12 sections rather than the current 10 for that grade, and that fall fourth grade sections would be increased from nine to 10. He said the additional sections are needed “to keep our ratio numbers the same.” However, Snyder said he does not know if its possible to fund three additional staff members at this point. In any regard, he said he wanted the space needs determined so he could present those to the Wyoming School Facilities Department at that group’s February meeting.

• Out of state travel requests for RHS student programs were approved per policy Tuesday night.  The Forensics Program had been invited to the Berkeley, California, Speech and Debate Tournament in February once again; The Theatre Program had been invited to attend the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June; and the Indoor Track Team requested travel to attend meets in Spearfish, South Dakota and to Pocatello, Idaho.

• Contracts were approved for new hires at Tuesday’s meeting, including: Gabriel Marble as a Network Engineer and Katy Hanson as a School Nurse. Hired as Bridge tutors were Michelle Widmayer, Virginia Widmayer, Marcia Ashdown, Bonnie Ochsner, Tasha Bauer an Kayla Lynch.

• Approved on first reading was new policy #5043, Children in the Workplace. “This was a challenge to write, we want to be family friendly but provide a policy to protect liability on our employees and not to put children in a liable situation,” Snyder said “This policy allows for life to happen, for day to day events, but to make clear that there is separation between a parent and an employee of the school district.” Ironically, there were four children in the audience studying on their tablets with earphones as their respective fathers, and district employees, waited for their items on the agenda to come up.

• The meeting was recessed into an executive session at 7:50 p.m. for board members to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation.