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School Board Notes: Nurses recognized, graduation planning underway

| April 21, 2021 1:00 AM

The Whitefish School Board of Trustees at its April 13 meeting considered several discussion and action items.

Topics included:

Recognizing school nurses

The Whitefish School Board kicked off their agenda by recognizing Deanne Sramek and the nursing staff across all three schools.

Board Chair Katie Clarke recognized how Sramek, who is the school COVID-19 coordinator for the district, spent countless hours researching protocols and developing the COVID-19 guidelines the district has been following this year. She also bridged the gap between the county and pharmacies assisting in securing COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and staff over the last couple of months.

“We just wanted to genuinely appreciate and recognize you for all of the work you’ve done to keep us all healthy and informed and safe,” Clarke said. “It’s absolutely incredible how Deanne has networked with local healthcare professionals and pharmacists to get everybody a pathway to vaccines and information about vaccinations. We just as a group are so appreciative of that.”

Trustee Darcy Schellinger extended the recognition to the school nurses and the extra effort they have put into keeping schools safe and students and staff healthy.

“The school nurses were working all the weekends calling families, calling kids, making sure of quarantines with close contacts, in classrooms with measuring tapes making sure all the chairs were six feet,” she said. “We appreciate all of the time and effort you put into keeping our schools moving and running.

National Certification

Whitefish High School math teacher Renae Tintzman recently earned a National Board Certification.

WSD curriculum director Ryder Delaloye took a few minutes in the meeting to explain the process Tintzman went through and recognize her outstanding achievement.

“National Board Certification represents a process that a teacher undergoes and that process can last as long as three years,” Delaloye said.

He went on to explain that there are four components of the certification process — one, content knowledge, two, differentiation in instruction, three, teaching practice and learning environment, and four, effective and reflective practitioners. Teachers going through the process of attaining the National Board Certification put together a rigorous portfolio to demonstrate these components.

Delaloye said there has been over a decade of research that demonstrates teachers with the certification have a greater impact on student learning. Throughout the country research shows that one to two months of additional learning can be demonstrated within the classroom of a nationally certified teacher, he added.

“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Renae Tintzman’s accomplishment in receiving National Board Certification,” Delaloye concluded. “Renee also accomplished this in the context of Covid, having observed the rigor associated with this process and recognizing the challenges we faced last spring, Renae was able to really prioritize this and demonstrate an incredible degree of flexibility and focus, and also accommodation for her students as she navigated this process.”

School Library Month

During the meeting the school board also voted to designate April as School Library Month.

In a letter written to the board, school librarians across Whitefish’s three schools asked the board to adopt the American Association of School Librarians’ Proclamation to formally acknowledge April as School Library month.

“The Montana Library Association, and the School Library Division of our state, support the AASL’s mission to develop the professional responsibility of school library teachers. Over the past 35 years School Library Month has helped schools and communities ‘celebrate the essential role that strong school libraries play in transforming learning’ and formally recognized the hard work and dedication of library professionals,” the letter states.

The letter was signed by Michelle Barton, Gary Carmichael, Chani Craig, Stacy Kelch and Dan Kohnstamm.

The board unanimously approved to formally recognize April as School Library month beginning this school year.

CSE donation

The board voted to approve a donation of $125,000 from the Whitefish Community Foundation for the completion of the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship groundwork.

The priorities, in order include: Extend fencing to create additional agricultural zones, integrate topsoil through CSE landscape, create permanent pathways and gated access points, create an outdoor classroom, and plant mature native trees and continue wetland development.

“We are fortunate to receive this donation through the Whitefish Community Foundation, it’s a very generous donation,” Means said.

WHS Principal Kerry Drown added that the timeline for completion is still being considered, but the hope is to get work started on parts of it this summer.

Graduation planning

Whitefish High School is planning a commencement ceremony for seniors graduating to occur in the WHS gym on Saturday, June 5 at 1 p.m.

According to Principal Kerry Drown, graduation is being planned to allow a limited number of tickets per student graduating to attend to keep families spread out in the bleachers. The ceremony will also be live streamed for those who cannot attend.

He said the music department is planning to provide music for graduation remotely in a prerecorded video that will present on the big screen. This will free up some space on the gym floor and allow students to be spread out appropriately according to COVID-19 guidelines.

“Those are some of our big directions that we’re trying to finalize as we speak,” Drown said.

Whitefish Middle School Principal Josh Branstetter added that for the eighth grade celebration, many of the same principles will be applied.