CVCS wraps up 10th school year

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Cottonwood Valley Charter School’s Governing Council held its last meeting of the school year June 8 in the newly completed multi-purpose building.
The swamp cooler in the new building was working for the first time, and workers moved around the outside taking care of finishing touches as the council members took care of the year’s loose ends and looked ahead to the fall.
Business Manager Mary Cox reported there are about $125,000 in reimbursements that the school is waiting for to close out the 2010-2011 budget.
“Everything’s been submitted, and we’re just waiting to see if PED can get them processed,” Cox said. “A lot is coming through the district so we can’t really monitor them like we could last year.”
Cox said the school has received approval to replace wooden ramps that give access to the portable buildings on campus with metal ones, through a Public Education Department capital outlay program.
Principal Karin Williams talked briefly about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Building Blocks Project, a technology grant program that enabled the school purchase laptop computers for student use. Williams attended a Building Blocks conference where awardees gave presentations about their projects.
“It was interesting to see what other schools did with their Building Blocks money,” she said.
Williams said all the grant recipients purchased laptops, but in bigger schools they were distributed differently. At CVCS, the grant allowed the school to provide a computer to each student in grades three through eight, for classroom use, and carts for charging the batteries. The laptops are kept at the school, and don’t go home with the students.
Williams said CVCS also has a new wireless Internet system.
“The school’s technology has moved from something terrible to something 21st century,” she said.
Williams also reported on progress made on 2010-2011 “Community Connections” and “Community Participation” goals. For “Community Connections,” every grade records activities that involve learning from community leaders, getting hands-on participation in real-world problem solving, participating in community service or improving environmental awareness. The goal is for each grade to participate in a dozen or more such activities, and in all but two cases, the goal was met or exceeded last year.
“I know it’s just numbers here,” Williams said, referring to the final tally sheet. “It doesn’t describe the richness of it.”
In addition to community service on a classroom level, members of the student body also formed a Relay for Life team. The CVCS Relay for Life team raised $2,600, the second highest amount raised in Socorro County, and was recognized with the American Cancer Society Bronze Fundraising Club Award.
The “Community Participation” goal has to do with inviting the community into the school. This past year, the school has recorded more than 200 volunteer hours donated by community members who are not parents, and hopes to increase that amount by 10 percent next year.
Williams also mentioned two other measurable goals to do with parent involvement that were discussed in a previous meeting. Reports on all four organization goals will be available on the school website in July, she said.

In Other Business

For 2011-2012, the council voted unanimously to retain Dennis Walsh as president, Britta Herweg as vice-president and Brandon Barber as secretary.
Each council member chairs a committee, and those appointments were also made at the meeting.
Walsh will chair the council’s budget committee, and also act unofficially as the Grievance Liaison. The budget committee oversees the finances of the school on behalf of the Governing Council, and meets on the Fridays preceding the monthly council meetings.
Herweg will chair the school’s fundraising committee, and Barber will chair the school’s technology committee. Sydney Eusepi will remain at the head of the safety/discipline committee, Keith Cummings will chair the Parent Association, and Jon Morrison will continue to chair the facilities committee.
The school’s charter requires that the Governing Council be made up of all parents, except for one community member. Morrison has been that community member for some time, and was hoping to relinquish that role this year, but agreed to stay on until another community member can be found to replace him.
No one was appointed to chair the Special Education/Gifted Committee. The remaining council member, Liz Clabaugh, was not present at the meeting.
School will begin again on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Parent Orientation Day, an opportunity for all families to get to know their children’s new classroom teachers, will take place on the morning of Monday, Aug. 8.
“Our goal is 80 percent participation,” Williams said. “But we know it’s hard for some parents to take that time from work, so we also have a Thursday night potluck for parents who can’t come.”