The Guffey Community Charter School has been open for in-person learning since the end of August, and so far so good. Only one student has had to use the isolation tent set up in the multipurpose room.

When students exhibit signs of cold, flu or COVID, or are just feeling sick, they stay in the tent until parents can pick them up. This student did not have COVID, but viral laryngitis. Students and families have been good about staying home even if they only have minor cold symptoms, according to grades six to eight teacher Jenny Hartman in the administrator monitoring reports.

This year students in each of the classrooms, or cohorts, interact among themselves only. The classroom desks are farther apart this year, with plexiglas shields between them. Everyone in the building must wear a mask, and when a students, volunteers, or staff enters the building, their temperature is taken and they answer a survey of questions about having or being exposed to any COVID-19 symptoms. The only time the whole school is together is outside during recess.

Hartman’s middle school class is honing their four primary interpersonal skills: oral, written, nonverbal and listening, to understand how to positively work with other students and adults, Hartman said. Since the class has been having class outside for some portion of the day, almost daily, at Sarah’s Place at the Bakery next door, they are learning how to be friendly and informative to people they have never met who think the bakery is open and stop to ask questions.

With 2020 being an election year, Lynda MacDonald’s three through five grades class has been learning how to “honor diverse attitudes, beliefs and abilities.” The class has been learning about the election process, the three branches of government, how laws are made, qualifications for running for each office, the jobs of the president, the right to vote and how it has changed over time, about political parties, the process of getting on the ballot, the issues of today and how they compare to issues in the past and how the electoral college works, from Election 2020 by Scholastic. MacDonald also showed her ballot so the students could see what they looked like. The students wrote letters to persons of their choice, encouraging them to vote.

Using “With Time for Kids,” MacDonald’s class has been learning the difference between facts and opinions, how facts help form our opinions, that our opinions are important and the need to respect different opinions. They have been learning how bias works and whether the facts presented look at just one, or all sides of an issue.

Elizabeth Jackson’s K through second grades class has also been studying about the election process during social studies class: how important it is to vote, and that picking something by election is a fair way for each person to get their opinion known.

Jackson’s class is learning not only how the world works, but how they can be a part of it all.

Ends Policy 4 is about social skills and 4.1.6 says “students celebrate each other’s growth and learning.” When Jackson has a student who is struggling with an idea, then he gets it down, she makes it a point to share that with the class. After a few times doing this, the other students are starting to show pride and joy when a classmate does something “awesome” on their own, said Jackson. Students are also starting to help other students who are struggling, not just by giving them the answers. All the above information is from the administrator monitoring reports.

Board member Chris Peterson stated that these administrator monitoring reports are historically significant due to COVID, in that they describe very specifically, more than usual, what is going on in each classroom.

The school had a Halloween Parade Oct. 29 in the afternoon, which included Trunk or Treat at the library, special treats at Rolling Thunder Cloud Café, a pumpkin carving party at Corona’s at Freshwater and a party at Sarah’s Place at the Bakers. They were not able to go to Colin Orchards in the morning this year.

There was no Veteran’s Day program this year at the school, but the students wrote letters and made cards for local veterans, school Principal Martine Walker stated during community linkage.

There will be no Winter Program or visit with Santa with presents this year either. The staff is considering alternatives.

The annual February Pie Palooza has been canceled, but will be replaced by something virtual or online, perhaps. The Pie Palooza has been the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Actually, last year’s pie fest was the last event the school hosted before COVID shut the school down in March.

The middle school class spent the day at the fire station making a year’s supply of fire starters, which the school sells, a bag of 40 for $15, as another fundraiser. Chuck Rinkor, The Woodchuck, who sells fire wood, already bought 100 bags, said Walker. He gives them to his wood customers.

If you want to learn more about the Guffey Community Charter School, you can find the GCCS’s Annual Progress Report 2019-2020, as well as all school documents, board documents and information on the school’s website, www.guffeyschool.org.

During the meeting, the board approved the agenda, October meeting minutes and consent agenda. The board acknowledged receipt of the administrator monitoring reports. After some discussion about the school’s Sustainability Fund, the GCCS Foundation (operational) versus the GCCS Fund (donations, etc.), the board acknowledged receipt of the board self-monitoring report.

Board members present were Dean Wilson, chair for the meeting, Laura Owens, Peterson and Frank Ruvo. Cathleen Van Egmond had an excused absence. The meeting adjourned at 5:48 p.m.

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