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Dr. M. Neil Terhune, Superintendent

7 days ago

Esmeralda County School District

233 Ramsey, P.O. Box 560

Goldfield, Nevada 89013

Office 775-485-6382

Fax 775-485-3511

Dr. M. Neil Terhune

Superintendent Board Report January 16, 2018

General: I hope that all of you are reading the superintendent report. Not because I think I am important, but the report does several things for our district: 1) it is a district level summary of events and issues from month to month, 2) It is what is provided to the community and posted on the district website, and board members should know what is being said should they be questioned  3) It provides a historical trend for the district, 4) it will elaborate on the board agenda recommendations being offered up for your consideration and 5) it will provide an explanation of some of the important decisions coming out of Central Office. Some of you, perhaps all of you have been diligent about this, but I have been questioned at times about issues that were explained in the report. If I can make the report better for you let me know. Thank you for your patience with me as well.

Board Reorganization: Don’t get too hung up on who the Board President should be. Any one of you will do fine. Board Presidents/Chairs are not as critical as one would think. Whoever has that position does not have position authority that overrides the board majority. There are more meetings to attend and more communications with the superintendent. I am fine with the way things currently are if you wish to keep it the same. Trish is doing a great job because she understands that her primary role is to 1) maintain order and 2) make sure everyone has a voice. Usually the President speaks the least and the last on issues before the board. She has a degree of humility and patience that I admire.

Melinda and I are giving you an opportunity to use the Consent Agenda for a couple of items this time around. Remember you can take an item off and place it on the regular agenda if you wish. 

Community and Calendar Activities

The Goldfield Spelling Bee will be held in the Goldfield Community Center on January 31st at 6:00 PM. Food will be provided. J. Dilworth presiding. 😊

We have a couple of staff attending the Safety training Vegas on the 18th. We have no basketball games on the 20th but three more weekends scheduled after.

I have asked NDE to allow the district to cancel school on Friday January 19th and Friday February 23d. We need these days for professional development. This will not affect the support staff. They will still be able to work if they need to. The paras will attend the professional development. They all get paid for that week’s holiday anyway.

Students: School started without incident on January 8th. We have two new students in Dyer and five in GF.

We split our games in Armargosa beating Beatty by two. 😊

Doug and I agreed to provide HS student activity transportation on Fridays if the district is made aware of the need and we have drivers available

I was able to spend time in Mrs. Ottolino’s class presenting about 1 ½ hours on Ecology, Butterflies, Math and Origami. It was fun, and the students were very attentive.

The second iteration of MAP testing will be conducted in January. This will offer the teachers an opportunity to present the comparison of the Fall (baseline) MAP results against the January results.


We conducted a PLC team meeting on January 9th after school. Our agenda included:

1.    How to proceed with PLC Training this semester and the start of next year.

2.    The training for the January 19th conducted by Rina Scates and the PLC training approach for February 23d. We opted to let the staff go home on that Friday and conduct book study meetings after school throughout the semester at each site that will be the equivalent to that Friday off. The book study will be “Professional Learning Communities at Work” (DeFour et. Al. 2008). I will work to get an external consultant to conduct formal PLC training in August.

3.    The team was asked to give me their prioritized list of actions that they believe will make our schools safer. These will be addressed as part of the next Safety Committee meeting agenda on February 13th.

4.    Rob reviewed the status of his grant work for the Computer Science SB200 Grant.  

We are scheduled for two hours of Google Calendar and Gmail training the morning of February 9th. The Regional PD staff under the direction of Dr. Smith (Las Vegas office) will do this for us. The rest of that day will be devoted to our Emergency Operations protocol. Jeff and Curtis will be here for that and they will also do a Hazard Assessment update.

Negotiations: I am going to leave this (last month’s comments) in my report again because I had some follow up questions from our last board meeting that made me think that it had not been read.

    “Just a thought or two about negotiations. My attitude towards our staff is the same that has been expressed by many of you. As school leaders we are serving the very finest people and they are serving our children. In this district I doubt if you will find one person that would not do anything you ask of them. They often go the extra mile for our little ones. You never have to worry about their safety. They will educate them, feed them, bus them, hug them, listen to their problems and stand between them and danger. It should not be our intent to see how much money and resources we can keep from giving up. We are not trying to win a contest. We should not let some of the adversarial approach, language, emotions and personalities that we sometimes feel around the table cause us to forget this. We don’t always have to have an hour’s work for an hour’s pay. We can give simply as a token of our appreciation for each other. We do it in our own families without complaint or reservation. We are a school family.  When we genuinely, in more than words, demonstrate our appreciation then we get it back tenfold in loyalty and service. The real issue is not whether to give but can we afford to give. If we can we should. If not, then we should explain why we cannot openly. Sometimes it is as simple as a disagreement over priorities. We should say so and not let it get personal on either side. Finally, and probably most importantly, some of you recognize the decade long journey that it has taken to become financially solvent in our district. Despite our best feelings for each other, we cannot allow the district to lose that in one round of bargaining. It can and has happened elsewhere. Your negotiated teams on both sides are working to find that balance before placing it on the agenda for approval.”

Thank you for supporting the negotiated recommendations offered at the December 19th board meeting. Some of it maybe controversial with our communities but I will give everyone an opportunity to hear and question any aspect of it sometime this semester.

The first Classified meeting was held December 9th and I sent their proposals to each of you. I can resend them if you request. The second was held December 13th right after the Certified meeting to offer counter proposals. We did not come to a final comprehensive agreement. We did agree to pay out a retroactive 3% at the same time. I will ask the board to ratify the MOU at the January board meeting. The next meeting with the Classified will be February 8th at 5:30 PM in Dyer.

Note: There has been discussion about combining EsCSD health with Nye County insurance. I had a short conversation with the Nye Insurance Board Chair and hope to have more information on that by the end on the month.

Facilities/Real Property: ACE and Eldridge proposals for fire alarm upgrades are on the agenda. Mr. Melendrez’s further investigation did not yield any potential savings. I am not going to make a recommendation for one over the other. The bottom line, along with the sometimes unpredictable construction expenses on both these projects, are so close that I consider them comparable.   

Nye County contacted me and said that they have a couple of modulars at Round Mountain that they want to get rid of. I told them I would go look at them when they were ready. The superintendent said they needed work. If we feel we need another teacherage we might consider one of them. We have a couple city lots in GF and some space in Dyer. At this point I am not looking at replacing the GF Central Office.

The GF office has new siding and gutter. We also have work being completed inside the admin office that was not finished (molding, base boards, paint, blinds etc.). Doug has been loaning me some of his people on this project.

A major summer project may include some extensive reorganizing, cleaning and disposal activities with our maintenance and storage areas. We will need a classroom or office for our Literacy person and I am hoping that we can create a place in Dyer.

Human Resources: The district has been recruiting four positions: 1) ES Teacher,            2) Counselor, 3) Literacy Teacher and 4) Paraprofessional. We received three applicants for ES Teacher, four Counselor, three literacy and three paraprofessionals. I screened out anyone who was still contracted by another district or had no ES experience for the first round of interviews. The district conducted 10 position interviews. Some applicants were applying for more than one position.  The committee members were representative of certified, classified and parent’s. There was no conflict of interest. Each applicant’s interview was scored, tallied and the average was considered. Reference checks were made if needed.

Ms.  Simental scored the highest for the Para position and is being recommended. Jeff Higgins (second round interview) scored the highest and is being recommended for the Counselor position. Ms. Scates scored the highest and is being recommended for the Literacy position. Ms. Miramontes scored the highest for one of the two ES positions. The other ES position vacated by Ms. Scates did not have an applicant that met the minimum interview standard for that position and the district has opted to continue the recruitment process. Ms. Simental with the assistance of Ms. Scates, will temporarily fill the ES Dyer 3-5 class as a full-time sub until the recruitment process is complete. Mr. Dave Beth of Goldfield will fill the Paraprofessional position in GF in a temporary/probationary status.

Jeff Higgins is licensed as a Teacher, Counselor, Administrator and is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School. His contract depends on approval by the School Board and PERS for a “Critical Need” position status. He was interviewed as part of the second round because he is not making himself available until August 2018 (under contract).

There has been some question as to the Highly Qualified (HQ) status of our staff.

FYI: All of our full-time teachers are currently HQ with one exception. After the board meeting it is expected that the one exception will be the full-time ES sub for Ms. Scates former class. The recruitment process will result in an HQ replacement for that position by end of semester. All other staff members are Nevada certified Paraprofessionals or Subs in positions that NDE allows (Preschool and enrichment Art/Music programs). The Title I position was grandfathered. We are about as HQ as a rural school under our circumstances can be. Just as importantly we have committed staff.

Technology: I have had two meetings with Ken Johnson who is the Point of Contact (POC) for Valley Electric. He is working to do all the permitting, E-Rate review, construction and other planning (in conjunction with the Sheriff’s office) for the proposed upgrade to GF and SPE internet. I have also asked our official E-rate guy in Tonopah to advertise the upgrade. The first phase is a three-week minimum time frame and frankly based on the MBS requirement I do not expect anyone except Valley to offer a proposal. My understanding is that we are obligated to WESTNET on a month to month basis at this point. When it comes to E-rate we may go out for bid if the school can get a better service at the same rate. Ultimately our most optimistic estimate is that we will be receiving services within 90 days. Worst case next School Year.

Policy, Safety etc. Reviews:  The academic Action Plans, Policy Review, Safety Plan issues and Facilities issues be addressed at our monthly PLC team (cabinet) meetings the Tuesday prior to monthly board meetings. From 4:15 to about 5:30 PM on those days we will have an agenda and we will take turns addressing each of the areas by reviewing proposed and active Action Plans. For example, it may be that one month will be Safety and Facilities and the next month Academics and Policy Review and so on. I have had not done very well at kick-starting this process but hope to do have good meeting in February. Any board members on related board designated committees are encouraged to participate. Any recommendations or actions coming out of those meetings will be covered in the superintendent report or board meeting.

Calendar Information:

The calendar for the upcoming month school activities is posted on our website every month for you and our parents. Thank you, Melinda. 😊


As always, board members please strongly encourage the community to call or see the superintendent when they have concerns. I want to hear them.

I believe I will wait to see how the first Superintendent’s evaluation in February goes before I decide to ask you to revisit any proposed changes that we discussed at our workshop. My reason for considering the changes initially had more to do with creating a strong board focus on the variables that lead to increased student achievement than with me. It appears that I am getting good support on the Vision/Mission/Beliefs and the PLC process which ultimately takes us there.

I plan to be at the next NASS/CFO meeting in Reno on the 19th of January. I told the board I would attend every other month. If you have any input for the following NASS agenda items let me know:

COLLEGE & CAREER READY HS DIPLOMA and INCENTIVE GRANTS, Overview/Q&A Kristine Nelson CLASS SIZE REDUCTION, ALTERNATE FUNDING METHOD, Discussion Jeff Zander STATE SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT Steve Canavero, State Superintendent of Public Instruction PROPOSED 2018-2019 NASS CALENDAR SCHEDULE, Discussion ▪ Select Two Rural Sites & Dates Dale Norton TEACHER LICENSURE – PROPOSED K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 CHANGES

Dr. Roberts resigned from Director of the Nevada Association of School Administrators (NASA) and an interim Ralph Cadwallader, Executive Director Emeritus has taken his place.

Vision, Mission, Belief Statements
We envision a highly effective district-wide safe and orderly Professional Learning Community that results in a premier school of highly engaged and highly motivated students preparing for High School and 21st Century College, Career and Citizenship responsibilities.

Our mission is to create a safe and orderly environment with a highly effective PK-8 district-wide Professional Learning Community that appropriately delivers NVCCSS to a rural student population that will result in a 100% graduation of eighth grade students adequately prepared for High School responsibilities.

Belief Statements
WE BELIEVE that all students can learn at high levels.
1. WE BELIEVE that this can best be achieved by becoming and performing as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). We will be guided by three questions:
a. What is it we want our students to learn?
b. How will we know our students have learned?
c. What will we do when they do not learn?
2. WE BELIEVE in providing a learning environment that fosters citizenship, a high level of health and physical fitness; and one that supports a moral/ethical approach to the challenges of our current society, to college and to career readiness.
3. WE BELIEVE in providing a learning environment that fosters respect for social and individual diversity.
4. WE BELIEVE that “Family and Community Engagement in Public Schools” is critical to student success.