Raton School Board meeting covers money, clubs, and more
by Carol Bridge
RATON — In the regular July meeting of the Raron Public School Board, Retha Shiplet, coach and consultant from a company called ‘Your Success’, gave a lengthy presentation on what the school could do better in several key areas. Shiplet has been participating in meetings and interviewing teachers, students, and administration in an effort to help the school be more successful and mindful of its mission and values.
She brought some concerns to the board that she had received from teachers. Teachers want more consistency from each other and from administration regarding discipline problems. She encouraged the board and superintendent to use the radio and to continue to improve community and school relations. Ted Kamp, board member, said there needs to be more interaction between the board and teachers. Member Beaver Segotta was of the opinion that discipline and dress code policies are in place and would be effective if all staff and administration would use them in every incident.
Chairperson Kathy Honeyfield thanked Ernie Brown for his part in being the liaison between the school and the Raton Elks. The local Elks club has sponsored several activities and programs to assist and reward excellence among the students of the schools. He said that a new ‘Antlers’ junior branch of the service organization would soon begin. Their basketball hoop shoot is also being planned for the upcoming year, student of the month recognition will continue, and the generous scholarships for graduating seniors would be in place.
The need for a new and improved website was talked about with no clear direction taken. Honeyfield encouraged teachers to plan for activities, assignments and projects that could showcase their students and classes to the public. Andy Ortiz, Superintendent, said that teachers need to showcase student talent by cooperating with local media and that the school has a responsibility to present itself positively to the community.
A long discussion about the need for outside funding sources was held. Member Jason Phillips said he needs clarification about Title IX issues (legislation that affects funding for sports activities by gender) and repeated his desire for the formation of a ‘booster’ group to help meet costs of school sports. The wording of the legislation that is supposed to grant equal opportunity to girls’ activities is open to interpretation and, even after many state training sessions, seems fraught with problems and contentions.
The threat of incurring a ‘Federal Audit’ keeps schools from taking risks to fund activities more effectively. Kamp expressed that the school needs an activity director to pull together all the activities instead of each sport (and coach) acting as their own fund raiser.
Ortiz said that Maxwell Schools has a booster club and encouraged the board to speak to them to find answers. A discussion followed concerning merchandising of ‘Raton Gear’ (tee shirts, hats, etc,).
Ortiz updated the board about recruiting efforts for the school year. Teaching positions still left unfilled are Social Studies and Agriculture. He has been meeting with Luna Community College regarding their accreditation status and possibly adding courses to what they already offer Raton students. Honeyfield told the group that the Robotics Team and the Gifted and Talented programs would continue. An MOU was signed with the City of Raton that will allow the School Resource Officer to continue to be present in the schools as the school and city partner to pay the cost.
The next meeting will be August 27 at the Raton High School library at 6 pm.