GHEC talks mental health options

GRANADA– On Thursday night the Granada Huntley East Chain (GHEC) school board met for their first meeting of the school year and over the course of the meeting they discussed how the year had progressed thus far and made plans for the coming weeks.

Shortly after the meeting began the board heard a report from middle and high school principle Taylor Topinka.

Topinka reported teacher training and student orientation had went well. Since last year the district split back to school workshops between two weeks and reverted from a numerical grading system to a traditional lettered one. Topinka also highlighted improving access to college level courses as one of his goals during the school year. The principal said he was pleased with the results of the district’s newly implemented cellphone policy thus far, but noted it was still very early in the school year.

In regards to the beginning of the school year Topinka said, “I am continually impressed by the outstanding student body and community support we receive and as we embark on another year I’m naturally excited to get going.”

Topinka announced the addition of a new school-based therapy option for GHEC students. Starting on September 13 a mental health professional will be holding therapy sessions for students who may otherwise be unable to access counseling or other mental health services. The provider is not a full time employee of the district and would hold sessions at the school one day a week.

Following Topinka’s report Superintendent Doug Storbeck updated the board on the district and its elementary division.

The district is still unable to obtain the 21 missing Chromebooks which were undergoing maintenance when the company performing said maintenance went bankrupt. While the district expects to receive these devices eventually, it made plans to order replacement devices in order to maintain the size of its existing inventory. Storbeck also announced plans to discard and replace some older or damaged Chromebook cases.

Storbeck also noted total enrollment remained largely the same. Overall the district has five more students enrolled in K-12 compared to this time last year.

After receiving reports the board moved on to discussion of action items.

The board approved long-term substitute contracts for kindergarten teacher Niki Lewis and paraprofessional Melissa Engel during the current school year. They also designated the Dec. 8 school board meeting at 6 p.m. as a public hearing to discuss the district’s budget and property tax.

The board decided to approve the district’s levy certification at the maximum requestable amount. This was to ensure the district would be adequately financed if their upcoming ballot measure denies their request to submit a building bond. If the measures succeeds the district may lower their levy later this year.

After approving action items the board discussed potential meeting times for informational sessions regarding their upcoming ballot measure, revisions to student drop-off at the beginning of the school day, potentially expanding the school’s parking space, and plans to attend an upcoming staff leadership conference. The board took no further action on these items.

Now that the school year has started all subsequent school board meetings are expected to be attended by a representative of the student body.


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