School board approves additional hiring needs for 2018/19 school year
The Teton School Board approved more than $130,000 on Monday working to fulfill staffing priorities as outlined earlier this year by the administration team. The school district is also navigating a few chess moves within the public school system that is finding familiar faces in new positions heading into the 2018/19 school year.
Kristin Weston new Rendezvous Upper Elementary School principal
Kristin Weston, a veteran educator with 22 years in the classroom, has been hired as the principal at Rendezvous Upper Elementary School in Driggs for the 2018/19 school year, according to information recently released by Teton School District #401.
She replaces Megan Bybee, who is moving internally to serve as the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director.
Weston transitions from teaching sixth-grade English and leadership at Teton Middle School to the new position. A graduate of Rigby High, she taught in Firth, Idaho Falls, and Jackson before joining the TSD faculty four years ago. She holds master’s degrees in secondary education from Idaho State University and in educational leadership from Western Governors University.
“I knew that this many years in a classroom was a long time,” Weston said in a news release this week. “I’d like to use my expertise to influence change at a higher level.”
Her husband, Troy Weston, is a PA at the Victor and Driggs Clinics; they have a daughter graduating from the University of Idaho this spring, and their son graduates from Teton High School in May.
Middle school approved for additional teacher to support online learning
Teton Middle School principal Brian Ashton was approved almost $37,000 to invest in a more robust online educational program. Ashton asked the board to approve hiring a full time teacher to serve up to ten students in 2018/19 school year. The pitch included some technology investments. By piloting the first year with an additional teacher, the school district would be shouldering half of the cost.
Ashton made the pitch to the school board asking them to consider the expenditure in a greater effort to prepare students for online learning on the secondary and collegiate level. He said currently, “we are a barren wasteland of online learning in terms of how to deliver those types of settings,” and added that having the tools and a dedicated teacher to work with students on how to be successful online learners.
He presented a plan where the first year of implementation with a dedicated teacher could serve up to ten students would be piloted by the school district. Through state and federal funding, the program would pay for itself after the initial investment. The program’s goal is to pay for itself by serving 20 students in the second year of implementation, and the third year’s goal, 30 students.
Ashton said that by providing online courses to students, his staff could reach the needs of students who want to, “faster and further,” with personal interests and skills.
The expenditure was passed unanimously by the board. School board member Delwyn Jensen was not present at Monday’s meeting.
Board approves increasing counseling support at the elementary school level
Superintendent Monte Woolstenhumle sought board approval for an additional $85,000 to increase the counseling staff at the elementary school. The school board unanimously passed the request that has the potential to fill out the positions at the Driggs Elementary School and the Rendezvous Upper Elementary School.
Woolstenhulme explained that currently the district shares its counseling staff, splitting time among the elementary schools, RUES and the middle school. He said the administration would choose how counseling staff is divided among the school with the additional support, but ultimately the goal was to better serve the growing demands of students on the counseling staff.
Additional staffing changes
The board also approved increasing the paraprofessional hours by 16 hours a week to support the increased demands on the elementary schools’ physical education classes.
The district also accepted 32 year veteran high school Spanish teacher Ryan Kunz’s resignation as he anticipates retirement. The district also accepted RUES teacher Lianne Johnson’s resignation after 18 years with the school district.