GHEC talks about mental health opportunities | News, Sports, Work

GRANADA – On Thursday evening, the Granada Huntley East Chain (GHEC) school board met for their first meeting of the school year and during the meeting they discussed how the year has progressed 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 reported that teacher training and student orientation went well. Starting last year, the district split back school seminars between two weeks and went back from a numerical grading system to a traditional letter-based one. Topinka also highlighted improving access to college-level courses as one of her goals for the school year. The principal said he’s pleased with the results of the district’s newly implemented cellphone policy so far, but noted it’s still very early in the school year.

On the occasion of the beginning of the school year, Topinka said, “I am continually impressed by the outstanding student and community support we receive, and as we begin another year, I am naturally excited to continue.”

Topinka announced the addition of a new in-school 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 district employee and would hold sessions at the school one day per week.

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

The county still can’t get 21 missing Chromebooks that were in the process of maintenance when the company doing the maintenance in question went bankrupt. Although the county expects to receive these devices eventually, it has made plans 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 total enrollment has remained largely the same. Overall, the district has five more students enrolled in K-12 compared to this time last year.

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

The board approved long-term substitute contracts for kindergarten teacher Nikki Lewis and paraprofessional Melissa Engel through the current school year. They also set the Dec. 8 school board meeting at 6 p.m. as a public hearing to discuss the district’s budget and property tax.

The board decided to approve the tax certification of the district at the maximum amount required. This was to ensure that the district would be adequately funded if their upcoming ballot measure rejected their request to submit a construction bond. If the measures pass, the district could lower its levy later this year.

After approving the action items, the board discussed potential meeting times for informational sessions on the upcoming ballot measure, revisions to student dropouts at the start of the school day, a potential school parking lot expansion and plans to attend an upcoming leadership conference the staff. The Board took no further action on these items.

Now that the school year has begun, a representative of the student body is expected to attend all subsequent school board meetings.

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