Garvey thanks district for support in trying year

BIG PINEY – Kevin Garvey, Sublette County School District No. 9 interim superintendent, gave his final report to the board of trustees at the June 15 meeting.

School District No. 9 rose to the occasion during a difficult year marked by the threat of COVID-19, Garvey said.

The district finished the 2020-2021 academic year with all students, teachers and staff healthy, an impressive achievement, Garvey said. Garvey highlighted the fact that schools and activities remained open and no children fell "seriously ill."

Schools coped well with numerous state and local public health orders and implementing the Wyoming Department of Education's Smart Start plans, he added.

The district was relieved when the remaining state mandates and Smart Start plans were rescinded by the state on June 1, Garvey told the board.

Garvey expressed appreciation to all teachers, staff and administrators for keeping schools safe throughout the year. He also thanked local and state public health officials for their willingness to be available to answer complicated questions and collaborate with the district.

Lessons learned during the pandemic included the need for a reliable, fast technology system, Garvey said. The board of trustees approved a bid to replace the district's aging network infrastructure with a new system at its April meeting.

Garvey reported on June 15 that the new network infrastructure was installed the following week and was up and running successfully.

The Smart Start plans taught the district to effectively use classroom-based virtual education to homebound students, Garvey said. He told board members that schools planned to use the new technology and virtual learning techniques for students that had to miss school because of illness or injury in the future.

The renovations to Big Piney Middle School were "nearing completion," Garvey added in his report. Work remained on drains in the shower room and with laying the new carpeting, he said.

The district was gearing up to offer a summer snack program for all students, Garvey announced. Free summer snacks will be distributed every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. at the Fine Arts Center in Big Piney. Snacks will be available every other Wednesday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at LaBarge Elementary School.

In other school board news

  • Curriculum changes to K-12 vocal music and elementary school computer science were approved by the board. The changes are intended to make music standards more comprehensive and detailed and to align computer science standards with state requirements.
  • In a unanimous vote, the trustees approved amendments to policies related to compulsory attendance, student absences and excuses, truancy and drug and alcohol testing for transportation staff.
  • The trustees approved a food bid from Nicholas and Company, the 2021-2022 wellness goals and 2021-2022 academic year student handbooks.
  • Following an executive session to discuss personnel, the board offered initial teaching contracts to Tessa Christiansen as an elementary school reading interventionists and Krista Manning to be a speech language pathologist

The board also approved the following extra-duty assignments: Jeff Makelky, Big Piney High School activities director, Scott Carpenter, Big Piney Middle School activities director, Sam Rees, BPMS swimming coach, Jeromy Moffat, BPHS assistant football coach and Jess Nugent, head high school track coach.