Trustees hear proposals for new curriculum, office job description

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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A new social and emotional learning program was presented to Trustees as an informational item to implement at Shirley Rominger Intermediate School at the Jan. 16 Winters Joint Unified School Board meeting.

Sandra Ayón, Assistant Superintendent-Educational Services, presented The Toolbox Project, a social emotional learning curriculum, which was piloted in one of the Rominger classrooms in the fall. The curriculum was introduced by Rominger Principal Monica Moreno and has received approval from Rominger staff and the CAIT (Curriculum, Assessment, Instructions and Technology) Committee.

“Toolbox Project is a research based, community tested, social and emotional learning program targeting elementary-age youth that fosters the development of resilience, self-mastery, and empathy for others,” Ayón said. “Toolbox honors and strengthens children’s innate capacity to manage their own emotional, social, and academic success, by giving them the tools that empower them.”

The program uses the metaphor of 12 different “tools” to introduce a set of life skills and practices that students, staff and parents can utilize in day-to-day experiences. Ayón said the program is made for Kindergarten through sixth grade, and also has a component for school counselors to utilize.

In a video introduction to the curriculum played for Trustees, one of the teachers said Toolbox Project gives students guidance to abilities, strategies and concepts they already possess, and that it goes beyond a school program to become a natural way of life for all ages.

Some of the tools include, but are not limited to, the Taking Time Tool, Listening Tool, Empathy Tool, Using Your Words Tool, Courage Tool, Personal Space Tool, Garbage Can Tool and Breathing Tool. The community can view the video and learn more about the curriculum online at

Moreno shared that she has seen a real difference in the community of the classroom the program was piloted in from the beginning of the year to now.

Winters Middle School Principal Phoebe Girimonte said they are considering using it for sixth graders at the middle school because of the cross over and alignment with Second Step (the current social emotional learning program WMS is using). Waggoner Elementary Principal Jennifer Klockzo reported she is sharing the program with her staff, and there is potential for Winters students to experience the program all the way through their elementary school experience up through middle school.

The program’s fiscal impact is an estimated cost of $14,748.90 (Professional Development $6,000; Materials $8,748.90).

The Toolbox Project curriculum is currently available to review at the Winters JUSD Education Services office, and Moreno or Ayón can help to answer questions about it.

Trustees are expected to take action on the item at the Feb. 20 school board meeting.

Business Office Staff Proposal Winters JUSD Fiscal Analyst, Kathy Cologrossi presented Trustees with a proposal of adding the new position of “Business Services Specialist” to support the Business Office staff.

Colagrossi said the school district staff identified a need for an additional staff member in the business office due to additional workload over the last several years created by actions including the passing of three bonds, the Affordable Care Act, the Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014, increased developer fee revenue, Compass Charter School oversight, increased federal and state revenue oversight and reporting have heavily increased the volume of work.

“Current staff is having to work extended hours to meet deadlines and complete tasks,” Colagrossi said.

The proposed position would support the Business Office staff in all areas of oversight including accounts payable, payroll, attendance, student body, charter school oversight, federal and state reports and budget data entry.

School board clerk and Area 4 Trustee, Rob Warren brought up concerns about how using monies for new district office positions takes away from supporting educators.

“Every time we add a new position it takes revenue away from giving teachers and the rest of the staff raises,” Warren said. “ I’ve heard everything except that we’re competitive and can keep quality teachers.”

Warren voiced caution of taking away monies from educator salaries and shared from previous experience of having to cut staff.

“I was here as we were cutting people and it’s not fun cutting people. I just want us to keep that in mind,” said Warren.

The fiscal impact is an estimated salary range of $45,819-$52,553.

Trustees are expected to take action on the item at the next school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Walnut Room at the school district office.


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