skip to main content

Dr. M. Neil Terhune, Superintendent

4 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 March 13, 2018

General: This is a great time of year. Students and staff are beginning to assess the levels of learning thus far and even looking forward to how the next year is going to be even better. So far this School Year I have been impressed with the morale and teamwork of our school community. There is a genuine spirit of cooperation with each other and a love for our little ones. I think our kiddos are enjoying school as well. Not sure I could always say that about my own experiences back in the day. For the most part they have all been as well-behaved as they know how to be.

Community and Calendar Activities

As you know February 23d was staff time off traded for Book Study time on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) after school. We have met four Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:00 and the meetings have been productive.

GF is planning a Family and Community school activity with a pie contest and a dinner March 12th at 6:00 PM. We are going to provide a community feed of Chili, Hot Dogs, Fritos and Pie. Yours truly will be the pie judge and we will offer prize for the very best. It will cost the rest of us a quarter to play literacy bingo with small pies as the reward for bingo winners. Donations go to the Student Activity fund.

Saturday March 17th, Emma White, Perla Jimenez, and Lorelai Collier will participate in the Regional Spelling Bee in Las Vegas. Good luck to each.

Our second round of Parent Teacher conferences will be conducted on March 22d.

A little advance notice that we will be doing our Spring MAP and State Summative Assessments in the next six weeks.


They continue to be our greatest school resource. J

It will soon be time for our Spring Track schedule. Details to follow.

At THS the boys and girls are playing Baseball/Softball already. Our girls split a double header last Friday.

Ms. Ottolino’s class took a brief field trip to the Goldfield Museum last Tuesday.

We have potential for two first graders and one sixth grader to enroll in GF in the next couple of weeks. Still thinking we may have a Kinder in SPE also.

Theresa has moved from guitar to Recorder familiarization. So if you hear the kids tooting it’s OK.

Staff and Committee Meetings:

We conducted several district level meetings on March 6th. A reminder to you that these meetings will always be scheduled the Tuesday prior to the monthly scheduled Board meeting. An exception to this will be our next meeting scheduled for March 27th in order to keep from doing it during our Spring Break. This group will conduct the business of Board agenda prep, the Safety and Policy Review Committee and then conclude with a District level PLC meeting. Our last agenda included:

The Safety Committee will meet and prioritizing the safety considerations offered up by the ASOs and staff at each site. Out of those you will remember that the committee gave initial priority to the following site and student security actions:

a.    Rehearse drills in accordance with the district plans. This includes the participation of First Responders whenever possible. This also includes emphasis on communications and equipment.

b.    Keying the doors appropriately

c.     Safe rooms upgraded

d.    Cameras /doors/windows    

e.    Site upgrades for single point of entry which may include fencing and gates.

       At the March 6th Safety Meeting last week, we determined that we would start with Keying and hardening doors and windows appropriately. The committee tasked James, Doug and I are tasked to create action plans for these items and to get started ASAP. Anabel will be consulted as we do so. We will apprise you of our status periodically. As I reported last time, there is maintenance and administrative actions that the district will address concurrent with the five areas cited above.

1.    Policy Review Committee: The policy Section on “Administration” was reviewed for update and approval for the Board.  The committee will address the “Instruction” or “Facilities” section next month. We have not decided. The initial review for Admin focused on deleting most of the HS and Nye County language. Bill participated as the Board Policy Review designee. It was about a 2.5 hour process and our purpose was to get the big stuff corrected. I will recommend board approval of this section with one reading. Remember that this committee will review this section again about this time next year.  

Our District PLC meeting later that afternoon was devoted to our Curriculum and Admin issues. The Middle School and to a lesser extent K5 is modifying curriculum to support a Computer Science approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). Rob is leading the initiative to apply for and receive grant monies in support of this approach. His student modeling and all three ASO’s coding will be presented to the board in the April meeting. Pretty advanced for our little district. Our students are fortunate to have the background that these teachers offer.

I am about halfway through the Certified Evaluation Cycle.

Negotiations: Our last meeting with the Support Staff went well enough. We made a counter to each of their requests. I sent their initial document to the board in a previous report. They asked for time to review and get back with us. Part of the delay is getting health insurance surveys into the Nye County School District Insurance board. This is a necessary part of the process when reviewing the potential for participating in their pool. We were scheduled for a March meeting, but Summer asked the district to reschedule our negotiations to April 13th due to conflicts. My hope is that we may have a final CBA to approve at the May Board meeting.

Facilities/Real Property: A reminder from last month’s report that “the ACE approach to the Fire Alarm project is being conducted in four phases, 1) data collection at each site, 2) Design (architectural computer overlays), 3) Request for Nevada Fire Marshal permits, and 4) site construction. Mike Spurgin is the Project Manager and he says that they are still collecting dimensions form Jesse and making the trip to our schools to physically obtain the data he doesn’t have. He told me that getting the approval and permit will probably take 2-3 months. Historically there is a lot of back and forth with the state before he will have the go ahead. The project construction itself will be 6-8 weeks after. Mike said if there is Board member interest and question they are welcome to call him.” At this time we are still in the first phase moving into the design.

The hardening of doors and windows will likely be done by contractor. Our standard for the doors is that they must be as strong as our walls. We will be assessing our status and then looking at the options available for us.

If you get a chance look at and tell me what you think.

I have had Manny and Jesse working the teacher housing in Dyer. It has a need for major renovation. Hope to have it complete next week.

Keep in mind my last month’s report, “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 as well as our Counselor and I am hoping that we can create offices in Dyer.”

Human Resources:

We continue recruiting for the ES position.

Jeff Higgins (School Counselor) will be visiting us in mid-April during his Spring Break. We will be getting a couple transition days for him. If he is here on the 13th I will invite him to the board meeting.

Just in case you hear murmuring, I am reflecting on student achievement data and how best to assign and structure our staff on behalf of our students next year. In doing so I am soliciting informal input from the staff. At some point I will be making recommendations to continue as we are or offer some other options.

Technology: I have had various communications with Ken Johnson of Valley Electric and with Dan Slentz which resulted in 3-year contracts for increased internet service at each site. Dyer will continue at 100 MBPS and SPE will be upgrade to the same. GF will get fiber at on gig. This is projected for July 1st.

Dan has also submitted a request for upgrades to our infrastructure. Based on his recommendation we have approved 16.5K for the refurbishing of our three main servers. This is about half what new ones would cost and have the realistic potential to serve the district almost as long and as well.


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 attended this month’s NASS Meeting held in Lovelock. The April meeting is canceled due to the NSBA conference April 6-8. The next will be in May 5th.

I will meet in Governor’s office on March 12 with my peers in NASS to discuss our ideas on school safety. What I will continue to propose is to allow individual district (boards) to do their own Risk (Hazard) Assessments and plan in accordance with current NRS and the assistance of our Safety Ops guys from POOL/PACT. We do not want a mandatory template being placed on all schools.

The weekend of March 16-17 is our regular outreach to the Reno LDS temple and we will be gone Friday afternoon through Saturday night for that. This means that I will miss the Spelling Bee that Saturday; if any of you wish to take my place let me know.

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.