• BCSD School Board Trustees

    Rob Clayton, Vice Chair Kelly Green, Chair Keith Roark, Amber Larna, Lara Stone

     

    Coronavirus Update

     

    4/7/2020 - DISTANCE LEARNING WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR 

    Yesterday, the Idaho State Board of Education ordered a “soft closure” of all public and charter schools throughout the state. What this means for the Blaine County School District is that our buildings will remain closed through the rest of this school year and all instruction will be delivered through our distance learning program, which we began rolling out today after extensive planning and preparation. We recognize that students, parents and our teachers have questions and concerns about the ramifications of this development including, but not limited to, standardized tests, graduation and post-high school education opportunities. We are in the process of adding a question and answer forum on our website where up to date information about our program for the remainder of the year can be sought and obtained in a timely manner. We anticipate having this Q and A up in the next day or two. We will also be posting daily updates and messages from the superintendent and Board of Trustees as appropriate as well as on our COVID-19 page. 

    We ask for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented and challenging times. We welcome your questions, comments, suggestions and constructive criticism as we work our way through the final two months of this school year. You can send your questions or comments to the board and superintendent at clerk@blaineschools.org. Every member of our team is razor focused on our mission and, as they always have, our teachers will do whatever it takes to inspire, educate, engage and empower every single student of this district.

    R.Keith Roark, Chairman Board of Trustees

    GwenCarol Holmes, Ed.D., Superintendent

     

    4/3/2020 - DISTANCE LEARNING UPDATE BY BOARD CHAIR KEITH ROARK

    The Board of Trustees of the Blaine County School District is committed to transparency in dispatching its obligations to our students, parents, teachers, staff and community. To that end, I want to address some of the concerns that have been expressed by concerned members of the community.

    On Saturday, March 14, 2020, within hours of learning that the first case of coronavirus had been confirmed in Blaine County, we made the decision to immediately close our school buildings. Given how fast the virus spread regardless, we can only imagine how much worse things would have been had we not acted so quickly. Immediately following the closure order, our leadership team began planning for distance learning. This district, from the time of its formation, has operated on the traditional classroom learning model. Transition from that model to an alternative program is not a simple matter. Furthermore, the highly contagious nature of this virus dictates that our distance learning plan will, to the greatest extent possible, ensure the safety of our students and staff during whatever period of time it will be in place.

    Many parents and students are frustrated with the speed at which our administrators are rolling out the distance learning program and the board fully acknowledges and understands that frustration. Online learning is the best, quickest and simplest alternative to classroom learning and many people have asked why we have not already gone online. What people may not understand, however, is that as many as one quarter of our students and some of our teachers do not have high-speed internet access and some families have been forced to terminate their internet service for economic reasons. Thus, our administrative staff is tasked with having to roll out two different distance learning programs: one for students with high-speed access and one for those without such access and both programs must be in place at or very near the same time.

    Because teachers will not have the opportunity to observe and communicate with students face to face, a protocol for maintaining at least some one-on-one contact had to be designed prior to starting distance learning. Additionally, state and federal law requires the district to extend equal educational opportunities to students with special education needs and that mandate dictates further adjustment to any plan for distance learning. We are not offering excuses but merely stating the facts and circumstances that must be faced and dealt with as we leave classroom instruction and transition to an alternative.

    Finally, our highly skilled and well-regarded teachers have been working hard to develop content that can reach both students with high-speed internet access and those without it. This kind of retooling does not take place overnight and our teachers have invested tremendous time and energy to meet the challenge. Our distance learning plan was actually completed on March 21, subject of course to on-going revisions and adjustments dictated by further study and experience going forward. Unfortunately, we failed to communicate quickly and effectively with the public about the distance learning plan and its components. As chairman of the board I take full responsibility for this oversight and the confusion it has caused. I have taken steps to ensure that the plan is posted on our website here and distributed to all media outlets and updated as we move forward.

    We are well aware that some school districts have implemented online learning more rapidly than we have. It must be noted, however, that no district in this state has suffered such high rates of infection and we have not had the luxury of developing and implementing our distance learning plan in an infection free environment. There are still many districts in the state in which no coronavirus cases have yet been confirmed. In fact, our school closure and commencement of planning for distance learning occurred at a time when the State Board of Education was advising school districts to keep their schools open.

    The Board of Trustees fully understands its duty to provide a quality education to all students in the district. Nonetheless, the health and safety of our students and staff is a priority and if that concern has slowed the rollout of our distance learning plans we hope the community will understand. We are extremely appreciative of the support received from this wonderful community and also appreciate the questions and criticism some of you have expressed. There is no playbook, no manual to guide us; the board and our entire staff have no choice but to play this by ear.

    These are times no one ever imagined and we do not claim to have easy answers to every challenge. But we can and do promise that every senior who was on track to graduate before the school closure will still graduate, assuming they satisfactorily complete distance learning assignments. Every student in every grade in every school will receive all of the quality instruction we can possibly deliver. Every teacher will be supported and every teacher will do his or her very best to keep our schools on task no matter how hard this pestilence hits our community. This school district will not just survive, it will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.

     

    3/30/2020 - SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENDED UNTIL AT LEAST APRIL 20

    The Board of Trustees voted to extend the School Closure until at least April 20 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff, and community members. At the April 14 regular Board Meeting, Trustees will assess the current situation and determine whether to continue with distance learning after April 20. Distance learning will begin on April 6, when teachers will initiate personal contact with students to reestablish student-teacher relationships. 

    Watch the webcast for the March 30 Special Board Meeting here.

      

    3/24/2020 - MARCH 30 BOARD MEETING TO DISCUSS SCHOOL CLOSURE

    The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, March 30, 2020. The Board will be considering the extension of school closures in light of the order from the State Board of Education that we adopt a “soft closure” until at least April 20. We will also be discussing plans for distance learning during the closure. We remain confident that our seniors who were on track to graduate at the time our initial closure began on March 16 will still be able to graduate this spring pursuant to the guidelines and waivers from the State Board of Education, yet to be finalized. All interested persons are invited to attend the March 30 meeting through an internet platform that is being tested at the present time. There will be no physical gathering of either the board or the public. Please refer to our website for instructions on how to access the meeting using your electronic devices.

    Please note: The BCSD Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m.

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    3/20/2020 - BCSD STAFF SHELTER IN PLACE PROCEDURE

    In light of the shelter in place order for Blaine County instituted by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the Blaine County School District Board of Trustees has ordered the following procedure be implemented immediately for the safety of our employees and our community. Employees in violation of these procedures risk disciplinary action, including dismissal for cause.

    1. All district employees should work from home, not in district buildings or in groups gathered in other locations. To be clear, "everyone" includes the maintenance team, superintendent, teachers, communications manager, custodians, admin assistants, finance manager, HR team, etc.
    2. Conference calls, video conferences, email, texting and other methods of communication should be used instead of in-person meetings.
    3. Only one employee shall be assigned to and allowed to be in each building. The superintendent will provide the board with a list of such authorized person for each school as soon as practicable and confirm that all employees have vacated the district office building and all other district buildings no later than 5:00 p.m today. No one else shall return to any district building until authorized by the board of trustees. Any changes to that list must be approved by the Board Chair or, in his absence, the Vice Chair or in the event neither Chair nor Vice Chair is available, any other trustee.
    4. We expect all employees to adhere to the mandated Shelter in Place policies.

    Exceptions are granted for:

    1. Staff involved in preparing and delivering Grab and Go lunches. This has been deemed an essential service by the County EOC.
    2. Custodial staff, once given permission by EOC/SCPHD to go and disinfect buildings. Howie Royal will let staff know when this has been granted.
    3. The District Office may at times have up to three people due to the nature of tasks that can only be done from there: Communications, Finance, and the Superintendent. These staff are requested to stay in their own offices and communicate via phone/computer.

    One staff member has been assigned to each building:

    Alturas - Brad Henson
    Bellevue - Mark Sauvageau
    Carey - John Peck
    Hailey - Toni Boush
    Hemingway - Tish Short
    SCHS - Mike Glenn
    WRHS - John Pearce
    WRMS - Rob Ditch
    Technology - Teresa McGoffin
    Buildings and Grounds - Howie Royal

    These procedures will be in place until they are re-assessed at our board meeting on March 30. Please direct any questions or concerns to Board Chair Keith Roark.

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    3/18/20 - SCREENING UPON RETURN TO SCHOOL

    The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees is following the Coronavirus crisis very closely and we have scheduled additional special board meetings for the weeks ahead to stay on top of the situation and provide guidance as needed. We realize that many families have plans for out of state travel during the spring break and, although we advise against such travel, we have no authority to interfere with those plans. However, everyone should be aware that, pursuant to Idaho Code Section 33-512(7), we have the duty and authority “To exclude from school, pupils with contagious or infectious diseases who are diagnosed or suspected as having a contagious or infectious disease or those who are not immune and have been exposed to a contagious or infectious disease; and to close school on order of the state board of health and welfare or local health authorities.”

    This means that before schools re-open measures will have to be taken to screen all returning students to assure those who are infected with the virus are excluded from school property until proper treatment can be received. How such screening will be structured has not yet been determined but we will have the process in place prior to re-opening. We hope to be able to re-open on April 6 but all students and parents should be prepared for extended closure if that becomes necessary. Please be assured that the district staff and board of trustees are working hard to manage this situation in the least intrusive and most effective manner possible.


    Community Survey Results - December 2019

    English Language Survey:
    Charts and Comments      
    Charts only      

    Spanish Language Survey:
    Charts only


    Duties of the Trustees of Blaine County School District

    The powers and duties of the Trustees of Blaine County School District are set forth throughout Title 33 of the Idaho Code and policies of the Idaho State Department of Education and are summarized in terms of nine broad functions.

    1. To establish the educational policies of the school district;
    2. To determine the personnel policies of the school system;
    3. To select and employ a well-qualified superintendent of schools to manage the system;
    4. To employ the necessary personnel upon the recommendation of the superintendent of schools;
    5. To establish the educational and administrative structure of the school system, external and internal;
    6. To provide and maintain the physical plant and equipment;
    7. To assume and carry out the responsibility for the raising, spending, and accounting for the funds to support the school system;
    8. To evaluate the accomplishments of the system;
    9. To plan for the continued effectiveness and further improvement of the school system.

    Best Practices of School Board Trustees

    The Board of Trustees ascribes to the Best Practices set forth in BCSD policy 218:

    1. Values and Ethical Behavior

    To be effective, an individual school trustee:

    1. Places students’ needs first.
    2. Demonstrates commitment to equity and high standards of achievement for each student.
    3. Commits to treating each individual with dignity and respect.
    4. Models high ethical standards.
    5. Advocates for public education.

    2. Leadership

    To be effective, an individual school trustee:

    1. Contributes to thoughtful governance discussions and decisions by being well informed, open-minded and deliberative.
    2. Understands that authority rests with the board as a whole and not with individual trustees.
    3. Is able to articulate and model appropriate school trustee roles and responsibilities.
    4. Actively participates in school trustee duties and responsibilities.
    5. Demonstrates group membership and leadership skills, working within the board structure.
    6. Respects the board’s role in policy making and supports all adopted board policies.

    3. Communication

    To be effective, an individual school trustee:

    1. Builds and maintains positive connections with the community and staff.
    2. Communicates accurately and honestly, with awareness of the impact of his/her words and actions.
    3. Listens carefully and with an open mind.
    4. Maintains civility and treats all people with respect.
    5. Maintains confidentiality of appropriate matters.
    6. Refers and guides people with concerns to appropriate staff.
    7. Welcomes parent, student and community input.

    4. Professional Development

    To be effective, an individual school trustee:

    1. Commits the time and energy necessary to be informed and competent.
    2. Keeps abreast of current issues, research, applicable laws, regulations, and policies that affect public education.
    3. Participates in professional development, individually and with the board/superintendent team.

    5. Accountability

    To be effective, an individual school trustee:

    1. Is accountable to the community, staff, and fellow Board Trustees.
    2. Takes personal responsibility for his/her own words and actions.
    3. Respects and abides by board decisions.
    4. Meets expectations for transparency, including disclosing potential conflicts of interest and refraining from discussing or voting on those issues.
    5. Complies with board policies/procedures and the law. 

    For more information on School Board Trustee elections:

    Read the Guide for School Board Candidates.

    The Appointment and Certification of Political Candidate Form and the Special District Candidate Filing Guidelines must be completed, notarized and given to the Board Clerk by the last day for filing declarations of candidacy (a Friday in early September) at 5:00 p.m. at the Blaine County School District office, 118 West Bullion Street in Hailey. 2019 Election Timeline

School Board Meetings