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Wolf Point Schools Shares Reopening Options, Planning

Wetsit Resigns From District, Parking Lot Approved

The Wolf Point School District board of trustees held a special meeting Monday, July 13. Attendance was possible via Zoom and Facebook.

During the meeting, superintendent Loverty Erickson outlined three plans for handling COVID-19 infection spikes during the upcoming school year. She told the board that meetings with stakeholders have been productive and ongoing. She shared three plans: Plan A would involve declaring a state of emergency for the district sometime in August, increased cleaning by custodial staff, signage, temperature taking, sanitizing, student quarantine procedures, staff assessments, protocols and procedures and other measures.

Plan B is currently under development, but involves a part-time attendance schedule with distance learning options for periods of increased risk to the community and the introduction of a social emotional support plan for students returning to regular classes called Helping Outstanding Wolves Lead (HOWL).

Plan C will involve a full shutdown with distance learning. A committee is being formed to consider plans B and C. Erickson said the district will only be pursuing Plan C if ordered by Governor Steve Bullock.

“We really can’t afford to shut down our school system,” said Erickson. “We have a lot of instructional lags from the students at this point.”

She said Option C would be the district’s very last option. Erickson invited stakeholders to participate in a survey soliciting perspectives on the plans moving forward. For more information about the survey, contact principal Kim Hanks at the high school.

Public comment was received from junior high special education teacher Patricia Toavs at the beginning of the meeting, who said she was disheartened by news that John Wetsit will be leaving the district. High school counselor Erin Loendorf also submitted comments in support of Wetsit’s role as a principal, stating that it was not in the best interest of the district to let him go. Several questions were posed as comments throughout the meeting from Toavs and Patricia Payne. The trustees do not address public comments during board meetings. Several individuals submitted general statements of support for the board and the district via Facebook and email.

Resignations were received from principal John Wetsit, custodian Lance Chase, school nutrition director Heidi Kent and assistant cook Jae Dee Braaten.

The following individuals were approved for hire pending background checks: Wayne Eagle Boy, student summer custodian; Trey Fourstar, summer custodian; Heidi Kent, Northside counselor; Abby Traeholt, JH social studies; Tressa Welch, JH/HS NAS teacher; Sharon Kolstad, part-time HS math teacher; Agboola Aliu, HS math teacher; Richie Tumonong, assistant cook; Emily Dougherty, speech pathologist; Nichole Paulson, JH volleyball coach; Scott Montgomery, JH football coach; Demi Henderson, eighth-grade girls basketball coach; Claine Raining Bird, HS assistant cross country coach; Rodney Paulson, seventh-grade boys basketball coach; Rob Manning, eighth-grade boys basketball coach; Ryan Wilson, JH track coach; Anthony Red Cloud, JH track coach; Wendy Connelly, junior class advisor; Janaeya Sutherland, FPCC Chante’ Project coordinator; Russell Johnson, extracurricular contracts for band and chorus, pep band and madrigal; and Ashlee Wilkening, para or EAE kindergarten teacher.

The board approved a project design for parking lot repairs paid for by Delivering Local Assistance program funds, with matching funds provided by the district. The estimated cost will be $918,600 for the two-year job, with $750,000 provided by the Montana Department of Commerce. Specific start dates and construction timelines will be contractor dependent. The district will be soliciting bids nationwide for the project.

Four purchase orders were approved for approximately $118,000 combined expenses. The orders cover repairs to the district office and high school roofs, new science curriculum materials and technological upgrades to the district office.

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