The John Clayton school site has seen some big changes in recent years, shifting from housing kindergarten only, to holding preschool, becoming the new home of Wolfskill Continuation High School and taking on the Rural Innovations in Social Economics (RISE) Inc. offices just last year.
In an informal discussion to gather board direction without the pressure of decision-making, the school board discussed the future of the site at their meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We are looking to make some changes to the facility,” said superintendent Todd Cutler, “We are looking at bringing Head Start to the community and bringing together all of the early education.”
Cutler proposed housing the preschool programs, including the existing state program, transitional kindergarten (which is currently at the Waggoner site) and the new Head Start program in the permanent building of the John Clayton site.
Wolfskill, which would require less space than the conglomeration of preschool programs, would move to the portable, which currently serves as the classroom for the state preschool program.
RISE would be able to keep their current offices in the permanent building.
“I do like the idea of more maximization,” said board member Rudolph Muldong.
“What’s the cost going to be? Well, Head Start might come in with some additional money,” said Cutler.
“We don’t have leftovers and we don’t have a lot of manpower,” said director of educational services Sandra Ayón.
According to Ayón, fencing and bathroom renovation would be priorities of the restructuring.
Matt Moran, Wolfskill principal, spoke favorably about the proposal, saying that he and Director of Educational and Instructional Technologies Micah Studer already had separate plans of moving Wolfskill into one room.
The school plans to shift its curriculum to focus on career readiness, with students working part time off-campus.
“We really started embracing this idea of teaching in one room. We can make this work,” said Moran, “It’s kind of perfect for what I was envisioning.”
The addition of the Head Start program has the additional benefit of providing the Winters preschool population with federal funding, which could provide an opportunity for special needs students to prepare for school in the district. Currently, these students must participate in these programs elsewhere.
“All of those parents refused special education support ‑ they stayed at home, because they would have had to go out of town,” said Winters Elementary School Principal Greg Moffitt.
WHS engineering pathway
Raena Lavelle, who teaches engineering courses at the high school, gave a presentation on the state of the pathway and current course offerings.
Intro to Engineering Design (IED) and Principals of Engineering (POE) have no prerequisite courses, but build a foundation for Computer Integrated Agriculture Manufacturing (CIAM), which requires successful completion of both courses.
Students who have completed those three courses have the opportunity to enroll in Engineering Design and Development (EDD), which is a capstone program where students do a large final project.
“EDD focuses on solving real world problems,” said Lavelle, “At the end of the year, they have to present their designs to a panel of engineers.”
“I’m proud of them and I feel like they’re proud of themselves,” she said.
High school Principal Nicole Reyherme said that all of the pathways aim to prepare high school students to target their interests.
“We’re going to be really solidifying,” she said, “Students will dedicate themselves to a pathway and finish that pathway.”
The board unanimously approved proposals to procure designs for new bleachers and adjusting the Measure R budget in order to avoid prolonged delay from the Division of the State Architect.
This and adjustments to the Measure D budget have fueled some disagreement among the board in the past few months.
“When we vote as a board, that’s our chance to voice our opinions,” said board president Robert Warren, “Once our board makes a decision, we move on.”