The August 12th school board meeting — the first of the 2021-22 school year — was highlighted by upbeat first week site reports, an Employee of the Month Award, a discussion of board policies and the passage of a resolution seeking local control on face coverings.
LVUSD governing board consists of President Tom Courtney and members Jessica Risler, Chelsea LaGrange, Jim Harvey and Jason Hansen.
The following is a sampling of many of the items discussed or voted on during the meeting:
• Employee of the Month — Kimberly Snow, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s transportation supervisor, was given the Employee of the Month Award. Ms. Snow was given the award due to her dedication to keeping school buses moving and meeting the needs of students and their families. “She finds a way to get it done,” said Superintendent Peter Livingston.
• The board approved: the created of one 8-hour maintenance worker position; one 4.75-hour bus driver position; the creation of a 4.5-hour food service worker I position; the creation of one 2.5-hour cafeteria aide-position.
• In the Information/Discussion segment, Mr. Livingston presented the district’s weekly cash position, budget summary reports for the end of year and Fiscal Year 2021-22, the 2021-2022 Governance Calendar, Williams 2020-21 Fourth Quarterly Report, the Local Control and Accountability Plan and Charter School Updates. “They will be funded this year, so that’s good,” he said about the charter schools.
• Board, Superintendent and Administrator Reports:
LVES Principal Ricky Anderson — “We’re back. We’re excited!” Mr. Anderson said. “We had a huge turnout of parents on campus. Enrollment is growing.” He also commended the IT, maintenance and food services staffs. “Kudos to all of our departments.” Also, Mr. Anderson mentioned that LVMHS administrators are helping to start an athletics program for 6th-graders. He reported the school has a current enrollment of 585 students.
Assistant Supt. Nate Lambdin — Mr. Lambdin commended the Welcome Back Breakfast prior to the start of school. “It was great to honor our veteran employees. It was a nice way to start the year off.” Mr. Lambdin, who shares Middle High School co-principal duties with Kelly Boeing, said the school’s Open House had an estimated 400 people who had the opportunity to pickup their students’ schedules, tour the campus and receive school supplies. COVID vaccinations and TDAP vaccinations for incoming 7th graders with Medi-Cal were provided by St. Mary Health Center.
At the first day of school on August 9th, the three girls killed and one severely injured in a hit-and-run traffic collision in early June were honored. With the help of a “well developed action plan,” a school crisis team helped students who requested emotional support for dealing with the tragedy. About 35 students had counseling sessions with some continuing to receive counseling as needed.
Mr. Lambdin was especially impressed that 98% of Middle School students were in attendance on the first day of school. “That’s incredible!” he said. The High School had a first-day attendance of 87%. Soon the student drop off/pick up location will be moved to Ladera Avenue, at the eastern end of the campus. “It will be safer and easier,” he said.
The school’s first sports event of the 2021-22 school year was the annual Alumni Volleyball Game. The event also marked the first time an athletic event was held in the Sgt. Brian L. Walker Memorial Gymnasium since it received a new floor during the summer of 2020. “Our alumni said it looked great. They were proud.”
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will be paying a visit to the LVMHS campus next April, Mr. Lambdin added.
He added that the Lucerne Valley Cadet Corps is planning on honoring Sandra Mizer, who was one of the Lucerne Valley girls killed in the collision, with a very special honor to be announced at a later date. “We’re very proud of those kids,” he said about the cadets.
(Later in the meeting, Mr. Lambdin was asked about students and face masks. He roughly estimated 40% of students continue wearing their masks outside, even though state guidelines allow them to take off their face coverings. “We have not had issues with the mask thing,” he said. “It’s a non-issue on the most part.”)
Principal Kelly Boeing — Ms. Boeing shared how students were excited to check out the collection of clothing donated by filmmaker Hugo Palette for the school’s “cold weather closet.” Much of the clothing had been items worn in Hollywood movies. “The kids were really excited about it.” She also thanked the County of San Bernardino for donating hand sanitizer, face coverings and a large amount of popcorn.
Virtual Academy Teacher Cindy Lazenby — Ms. Lazenby said that the school year started with only eight Virtual Academy students but enrollment quickly grew. “This week we went from 8 students to 33.”
Lead Special Education Teacher Vici Miller — Her program is very active with lots of interest, especially from parents. “The feedback has been awesome,” she said. “The District is doing an awesome job at putting students where they need to be. There are more options now.”
Superintendent Peter Livingston — Mr. Livingston welcomed new Executive Assistant Marina Savchenko. Ms. Savchenko took over from Melissa Cook-Rodriguez, who is now the district’s Director of Compliance/Credentials. “It’s a great fit,” Mr. Livingston said about the addition of Ms. Savchenko. “We appreciate having her here.” He also talked about the first week of school. “It’s an exciting start to the year. It definitely looks like it (the enrollment) is growing.”
School Board Member Reports — New board member Jason Hansen, who was sworn into office on July 7th, was welcomed. “He’s going to be a great addition,” Board President Tom Courtney said. Mr. Hansen said, “This district really does have the students’ best interests at heart.”
School Board Vice-President Jessica Risler shared how much she enjoyed the Welcome Back Breakfast and congratulated administrators for getting the schools ready for the new year.
School Board Clerk Chelsea LaGrange said she hopes the district continues to grow and change as needed.
School Board President Tom Courtney said, “I’m so grateful for the way the schools started…. I”m really proud to be a part of this organization.” He also talked about how he and a few other district administrators attended a small schools conference in Texas. “We’ll keep on driving for our schools, small schools.”
The school board ratified the independent contractor agreements with Diana Gutierrez, Wendy Ness and Helen Tracy for psychological evaluations for special education students.
The board also approved board policies and discuss the merits and challenges of the Board Self-Evaluation Survey results from earlier in the summer. “It was very helpful,” said school board member Jim Harvey. “I commend this board for doing it.” “We’re doing a good job,” Courtney said. “We’ve got a superintendent that listens to us.”
The school board approved a provisional internship for Megn Lona to teach at the elementary school and ratified the Memorandum of Understanding for teacher evaluation through June 30, 2023.
The board approved Joanna Mora, Vici Miller, and Liuchoy Hirschhorn as LVES principal designees, Kevin Barda, Brandon Barkley, and Jessica Haecker as the Lucerne Valley Middle High School principal designees, and Victoria Kessler as the Mountain View High School principal designee. Douglas Beaton, Melissa Cook-Rodriguez, Nate Lambdin and Vici Miller were approved as the Superintendent’s designees.
The board also approved a resolution requesting the state provide expeditious revision of face covering guidance for K-12 schools. The board also approved the StudySync ELA program and curriculum for grades 7-12 and approved the novel list for the Middle High School.
Peter Day is a social media advisor for the Lucerne Valley Unified School District.