Eggar Appointed Frontier’s Reading Coordinator

At the regular meeting of the Frontier School board July 19, school superintendent Christine Eggar was appointed as the reading coordinator for the school.

A former Frontier teacher was originally hired as the reading coordinator, but has since quit working at the school. The position is part of the Montana Comprehensive Literacy Project grant that Frontier received in January.

Frontier was among 21 schools chosen to receive the grant which is equal to $250,000 per year over three years, totaling $750,000. The program is aimed at helping students better decode, comprehend and build fluent reading skills which will last a lifetime.

The loss of the teacher formerly hired for the position left Frontier in a difficult position regarding the grant. Eggar said she had contacted the Office of Public Instruction for advice on what to do as the school struggled to find someone to fill the position.

OPI informed Eggar that the school had two options: they could give the grant money back or hire a certified teacher for the position.

Eggar said hiring a certified teacher would be difficult since the school is currently struggling to hire an English teacher to round out their curriculum. Giving the grant monies back Eggar said was possible, but would entail repaying $150,000 in grant money that was already allotted for various aspects of the program.

Eggar stated that the school has the capability of repaying that money, but that they would lose the benefits that having the grant would bring to their students. Eggar stated she believed the program would be incredibly beneficial to the students and that is why it’s a struggle to decide what the do in this situation.

OPI gave Eggar one other option, stating that either she or principal Greg Gourneau could hold the position until they could find someone to fill it. However, OPI advised against having Gourneau hold the position since he evaluates the job performance of the individual holding the position as he does with all teachers at Frontier.

Eggar told the board that while it may be a struggle, she can fill in for the position for the time being and, in the future, it may become easier on her as some of her other duties are completed.

The board elected to appoint Eggar to the position one year at a time while they continue to search for someone to permanently hold the position.

The Montana Comprehensive Literacy Project grants are funded through three $24 million grants through the federal Strivng Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program. The purpose of the grant is to advance reading, writing and digital literacy skills in students, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children. 

In addition to this significant hire, the school board also approved various policies and agreements in preparation for the 2018-19 school year.

The board approved the Indian Policy and Procedures which included a minor update to reflect their regular posting of a monthly newsletter and reporting to the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.

The transportation agreement with the Wolf Point School District was approved by the board. This is the same agreement reached after much debate between the two boards last school year. It is unclear at this point if Wolf Point will accept this policy as is, or if they will seek to make further changes. The policy allows for each school to enter the other’s district to pick up a small number of students enrolled in the other district.

The district approved a new policy which will allow students to have an manage an email account pending parent permission. These email addresses will be used for a few technology-related activities including some Google Docs acquisition for middle school students.

The board also approved the current out-of-district students for the 2018-19 school year, the student handbook and the new out-of-district students meeting criteria. None of these policies saw significant changes. The board also reviewed the district goals policy and educational philosophy policy, neither of which had significant changes.

Other items of note:
•Ben Houg was hired as full-time custodian.
•The Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion and Disease Prevention program will provide free physicals for students participating in sports Aug. 21 during open house day.
•The district also approved year-end warrants, registers and claims against the district. The annual treasurer’s report and voided warrants were also approved.
•The district also approved an audit for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school year.
•The next meeting of the Frontier School board is set for Aug. 14.