At the June 6 regular meeting, Morgan County School District Re-3 School District received three special presentations.
English language development
In a presentation, Shelly Ocanas shared data on English language development students’ ACCESS test scores.
Ocanas first presented the Cumulative Two-Year Growth chart, which compared the results of the previous year (2021) to the results of the current year (2022). She explained that the N/A category accounts for students who took the test in 2022 but not in 2021.
“As you can see, things are looking pretty good. It’s kind of the same old, the same old. High school and middle school generally don’t have as much growth as the other buildings. This year Jason (Frasco) and I are going to sit down and talk about some things that we might do differently in middle school to see if we can improve on that score,” said Ocanas, who also mentioned that he might Prizes are awarded to students who test well as an incentive to take the test seriously.
She also presented overall redesignation special education (SPED) data, something she analyzed to see if the Re-3 district over-identified ELD children who are also considered SPED children. Ocanas plans to continue monitoring the dual identified SPED and ELD students.
Ocanas also shared their goals to create better immigrant support systems within schools, especially for students and families at large. She, along with Adriana Nickel and some school counselors, are creating instructional videos, a website, and high school intervention classes to help these newcomers adjust to the American school system and life in Fort Morgan.
Ocanas also announced that the kindergarten will receive a new WIDA screener.
Food and Nutrition Director Ashley Martin, who has been in her new role for three months, then gave a presentation on what’s new in the Food Services division.
She announced that the summer dining programs began on the morning of June 6th. The Sherman Early Childhood Center offers cooked breakfasts and lunches. And packed lunches are available at Fort Morgan City Park. (In case of inclement weather, packed lunches are available at Baker Elementary School.)
“I think my biggest challenge for the coming year will be that lunch isn’t free everywhere. The government has decided to no longer offer this option. Prior to the last few years, our district averaged about 70% with free and discounted lunches. We’re down to 45% because people aren’t filling out those applications anymore… It’s important[to apply]not just for free and discounted meals, but for other means,” said Martin, who said applications will open on June 1 July were possible and encouraged people to apply.
She also revealed that she applied to both Baker and Pioneer elementary schools for the fruit and vegetable program because both are eligible (they include more than 50% free and discounted meals). Martin hopes to introduce a monthly cooking class using a specific fruit or vegetable.
Special Services Department
Finally, Lisa Megel and Jaylyn Holzworth spoke on behalf of the Special Services Department. Megel, the outgoing Re-3 director of special services, introduced Holzworth to the board as the woman who will take over her position.
Megel reported that the Re-3 District currently has 443 students in active Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), nearly 100 more than when they began their role seven years ago. There are 55 aspiring sixth graders with IEPs and 13 aspiring freshmen with IEPs.
She also reported that one student attends an Approved Facility School, one student attends the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in Colorado Springs, two students attend the Student Transition Educational Program Services (STEPS) program in Brush, and four students attend parochial schools.
Megel also announced that primary and secondary school emergency assistance (ESSER) II and III funding had been allocated to the curriculum and SPED. She anticipates that those funds will be used to purchase communications equipment and other classroom technology.
In her role, Megel was also responsible for the de-escalation training of the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). As she is stepping down from the role, she informed the board that Courtney Zahn is in training to fill the role.
Megel also recognized the continued achievements of the Autism Team and the Brain Steps team in providing services to students with autism or students with brain injuries.
She also emphasized that “students with special educational needs are general education students with special educational needs, not special education students who are allowed to attend general education.”
Holzworth, who has worked at Fort Morgan High School for six years, said she looks forward to taking on the principal role and returning to special education.
“It’s a new experience, but it brings me back,” Holzworth said. “I spent 17 years — that was my background — with special education, so I’m excited to return to those roots. I’m excited. I think Lisa (Megel) has a solid foundation here from which we can grow and continue to do what is best for our children.”