By Margaret Hopper
The Silver school board met at 5:02 p.m. for the workshop session on January 16, 2014 at the administrative office. In answer to a board member’s request for information about sports injuries at a meeting before this, Mike McMillan, certified athletic trainer, and Clay Means, coach, each reported their findings and gave members a number of papers on how such issues were written up and what policy applied.
McMillan told how suspected concussions were handled, offering copies of the initial investigation and other follow-up sheets for parents and coaches. The procedure focused on how to ease a student back into the sports program after an incident, as the first action would be to pull a student from activity for at least a week if a concussion occurred. He outlined the overview spelled out by policy, the immediate checkpoints to learn if the student had been so damaged, the watch for delayed symptoms and referrals to medical personnel.
A major point was that a student be symptom-free for at least a 24-hour period before further progress would be started. McMillan said he had studied the policies of both Albuquerque and Las Cruces before writing the present one for Silver, and he had tailored the wording to meet local needs to create policy for the district. Local doctors had looked at the materials he had prepared. He stressed that the whole process was a many-step program that gradually returned a recovered athlete to full activity, not just a quick decision that ‘all was well.'
Coach Means talked about knee injuries, and admitted that girls seemed more likely to have problems than boys, who instinctively used their feet and leg muscles differently even at young ages. One decision he made after learning this was to do more gradual exercising, prevention and education for the female athletes. They had to learn to handle their muscles differently, learn skills that would prevent damage, if possible. Many of a girl’s injuries were out on an open court, not the result of a collision, he said.
Just before ending the workshop session, the board voted to change the board’s self-evaluations to the last item on the agenda, and to table the superintendent’s evaluation to the February meeting, as it would be held in closed session, and Mrs. Eggleston would be back to share in the activity. The other four, Arnold Torres, Tony Egan, Chris Arvidson and Trent Petty were present. That session ended at 5:55 and they took a short break before the public session.
David Lougee, Principal of Stout Elementary, brought some of his staff to the meeting; Emily Aversa of SPED; Leslie Ormand, a Title I person; and Pat McKee, a Stout volunteer. Lougee presented McKee with a plaque thanking him for years of service at Stout. McKee’s wife, Barbara, was there to see Pat get the surprise award.
Lougee gave the board a PowerPoint® presentation of some facts about the school. Graphs showed the progress of reading and math scores by grades. The increase of some student improvements was quite apparent in the fall and winter scores over entrance placements. Lougee commented that they should come close to state expectations by spring, and in some math areas, they had already exceeded their target improvements. Perhaps most impressive was the improvement in relationships. He had graphed the reduction of bullying incidents, very low and similar to last year, but in thefts, insubordination and physical aggressions, the figures showed great reductions of the negative behaviors, about a third or a fifth of former statistics. Overall, said Lougee, the grades and behaviors showed great growth and he was happy with the progress. He thanked his staff for the improvements.
Silver City Education Association (SCEA) representative Justin Wecks told the board that some of the local state legislators had been on hand at the round table discussions and he would be at the Santa Fe lobbying efforts.
Candy Milam, financial director, gave the board a list of BARs (Budget Adjustment Requests) and asked for approval. Two, in the operational budget, merely showed a cleanup of former funds carrying into the 2013-2014 budget, and made no impact on the process. One was for the athletic director, the other, Harrison Schmidt.
Under pupil transportation, an amount of $498 of a cash carryover had to be remitted back to the Public Education Department, as law required half of an unspent amount to be so treated. Milam said this rarely happened; most often, the unspent amount was less than $5 and the problem wouldn’t happen again. The other transportation BAR was $20,810 for a new bus purchased for Montoya Busing. The last BAR was $7,824 that went into the New Mexico Autism Project. The board approved all these actions.
The payroll of $1,625,267.71 and other checks written for December amounted to $933,922.48. A donation of $2000 from the Elks Club for La Plata Middle School was also approved, and a letter of appreciation would be sent soon, according to Milam. There were no bids or proposals at this time. Gus Benakis, transportation agent, asked the board to approve revisions to the 2013-2014 bus contracts, which they did.
Looking at items for the February agenda, the board said it would include updates on the security plan. Several minutes of discussion followed this. Regarding increased police presence at all the schools, administrators said it was both random and welcomed. The unscheduled pattern was probably more effective than anything that could be planned. It was good to see policemen drop off their kids and walk around in the halls or show other interest at the schools, they said. The board wanted officers to know the school layouts.
Visitors opted to leave before the self-evaluation of board members began, although Petty said they were welcome to stay, and it was in this session, which had not ended. When asked how long it would take, Petty said it might take 10 minutes, then again, it might last a lot longer. All but the board members and administrators left, just before 7:00 p.m.
The next meeting will be the third Thursday of February at the same location, the administrative offices. The work session begins at 5:00 and the public session usually begins at 6:00 p.m. Closed sessions begin after the main meeting adjourns.