MONTE VISTA— In addition to concerns from basketball athletes and students, the Monte Vista Board of Education meeting also heard a follow up report from the middle school students who attended the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., approved the junior class request for their 2018 senior trip and allotted more funding for college concurrent courses. The board also watched an informative presentation from Rachael Torres’ fourth grade class on substance use prevention.
Middle school students and one of their chaperones, Ms. Colleen Vanderpool, presented about their January trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration. Vanderpool praised the excellent behavior of all of the students who attended. She also commended their dedicated efforts to fundraise the expense of $4,000 per student, including selling raffle tickets and conducting weekly car washes last summer. Blair, one of the middle school students, presented the board with a slide show of their destinations, including the Air and Space Museum, the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Pentagon Memorial, the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian. The Holocaust Museum was one of the most impactful and emotional destinations for the students, who explained that they were given an ID card with a number similar to those who were imprisoned at internment camps at the beginning of the museum and at the last stop, they were informed whether they would have survived the holocaust or been killed based on their ID card. The students also related several of the exhibits back to the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel that they had been reading in April Tideman’s class.
The students did not get to tour the White House, but did get to observe the Obama family outside making their last public visit to the vegetable garden. Vanderpool also relayed how the controversy and protests surrounding the inauguration led to increased security and prevented them from getting closer to the stage, as their tickets were supposed to allow. The Women’s March on Washington also hindered their visits to the monuments on the mall. In both instances other schools’ students were protesting and behaving poorly, but Vanderpool again noted that MVMS’ students were calm and unbiased throughout the proceedings. Blair wrapped up by thanking the board, the chaperones and the parents who made the inauguration trip possible, “I and the other 20 students are very thankful that we got to do this.”
The 2018 senior class presented their proposed trip to Disneyland. Their class president and vice-president told the board that they had sent out a student survey to determine how serious the seniors were about attending with 72 percent replying that they were sure they would go, only two students said they would not go and 11 replied with maybe. They also hosted a parent meeting to hear their concerns, and addressed that students would be required to have a 90 percent attendance rate to go, would have their luggage checked and medical staff would be accessible at all times. The board asked about their financial resources, and they answered that they have about $20,000 currently and will need $32,000 for the trip. They recently raised $1,700 in a donut fundraiser, and they are planning on having more Sonic nights, booths at upcoming festivals and other efforts. The trip was approved later in the meeting with a friendly amendment that they complete their fundraising goals.
Principal Scott Wiedeman, Counselor Lara Gordon and the board also discussed the funding for courses taken at the college level. Currently, the school district budgets $25,000 for students to take courses through TSJC and ASU. However, with the number of juniors and seniors who have expressed interest in taking courses, the cost to the district will be $40,279 if they all get to take six credit hours. Wiedeman stated that he wants the students “to keep that opportunity.” Board Member Elizabeth Conner stated that she would like to see a stipulation of high scores for the students, which Wiedeman stated was already the case. Students have to get a C or better or they are required to compensate the school. Superintendent Robert Webb added that they are also required to give a written plan stating what classes they want to take and why. The board agreed that the opportunity to the students was vital, so they agreed to raise the budget for those courses to $45,000 for the 2017-2018 year, allotting six credit hours per student per year.
The board also passed new graduation requirements on third reading for the high school and the Delta center, beginning with the upcoming freshmen class. They also read policies regarding hazing, pregnant students and student complaints and grievances on first reading.