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School Board Meets in Work Session


The Cheyenne County School District No. 1 board of education discussed teacher assessment, student goals, substance use among students and student goals Monday.

The board discussed how teachers are evaluated, the use of self-evaluation and the “collective efficacy” program. Collective efficacy is when teachers and administrators work together toward producing better teaching staff. Sheri Ehler, director of curriculum and assessment, said the self-assessment is not a casual effort for a teacher to evaluate his or her performance. It is calculating advancement toward specific goals, according to Ehler and Sidney High School Principal Chris Arent.

The program allows a teacher to be evaluated by administration if necessary, sought by the administration or by the teacher. All non-tenured teachers are evaluated twice each year.

Superintendent Jay Ehler said the district has been working for about six years toward the “best practices in the industry.” The goal, he said, is for the school to be on the leading edge of teacher performance and student success.

“We wanted to make sure everything is intertwined,” he said.

Sheri Ehler said the system is now “completely collaborative.” She noted that even with self-assessment, there is still oversight.

“The buck still stops with the principal,” she said. “That’s not going to change.”

Supt. Ehler said a new assessment is the counselor evaluation. Prior to this process, counsellors were evaluated by a teacher evaluation process.

The board also talked with Arent about the impact of substance use and abuse and random drug use. Supt. Ehler said there is a system in place that randomly draws a student for a drug test. Students tested are only students involved in athletics or clubs under the authority of the Code of Conduct. He said e-cigarettes, vaping and similar devices are becoming a big issue. He said there is an increase in the number of students with abdominal pains and illnesses, and headaches. Both are often symptoms of tobacco or marijuana use, according to Arent.

The board also discussed district finances and what future finances might look like. The district is bracing for further decreases in county valuation and how it could impact the district. Supt. Ehler encouraged the board to plan on not more than a 1 percent increase.


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