JPS officials, coaches to work together on athleticsProgress was made at Monday’s Jamestown Public School Board meeting on implementing changes to athletics with administration and coaches agreeing to work together.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Progress was made at Monday’s Jamestown Public School Board meeting on implementing changes to athletics with administration and coaches agreeing to work together.
The members of a standing athletics committee made up of volunteers in the community drafted a letter to the board, which was considered a call to action to move forward on changes to athletics.
“There came a point where there really was nowhere for us to move forward,” said Dustin Jensen, committee member. “It really feels like there needs to be 100 percent buy-in by the board and staff. …”
The board agreed in a unanimous vote to include the newly formed coaches council on the existing implementation team made up of Bob Toso, superintendent, Jim Roaldson, high school activities director, and Mark Stilwell, middle school activities director.
While Toso presented the board with a plan of what’s been accomplished so far, the agreement was made to rework the plan to include goals and dates for achieving those goals.
“I think what we want to really see is some type of a guidance document, because ongoing can be ongoing forever,” said Greg Allen, board member. “I think we need to have something that’s going to lay out this information in such a way that’s going to see these targets met and moving forward.”
Board President Roy Musland suggested measuring success by counting teams’ standings at the end of the year, something that was shot down.
“I think it’s important to note we’re an educational institution and if our extra-curricular programs aren’t an extension of the classroom we shouldn’t be sponsoring them,” Toso said.
Jim Boyd was in the audience and agreed to volunteer as a facilitator between the coaches and administration during the process.
“I think I could bring something to that party,” Boyd said.
Additional progress was made on athletics with the hiring of a strength and conditioning coach, Bill Nelson. The board approved Nelson for the position in a unanimous vote.
More than 10 high school coaches and athletes in the audience Monday favored Nelson for the position.
Nelson was hired for the winter and spring seasons for a cost of roughly $7,500. The renewal of the position will be brought up again by the board at a later date.
The proposed changes to athletics in the district, including hiring a strength and conditioning coach and trainer were part of a strategic plan made up by a different volunteer committee.
The board discussed a strategic plan for the district as a whole Monday with Dr. Marv Earhardt, a strategic planner for other districts in the state.
No decision was reached but the board, if it moves forward with Earhardt and his planning services, would work on the plan partially with Toso and the next superintendent when Toso retires in July.
The cost to the district for the plan would be roughly $2,500, which would include Earhardt’s travel expenses and running a focus-group type meeting to determine the district’s needs.
“How do we get this started?” Allen asked. “From your experience and what we need here at this district I think this is well worth the investment and the time to get this going and get us a plan.”
Earhardt’s services would be the third and final option available in the state for drafting a strategic plan that Toso is aware of.
“I’m very positive about the future of Jamestown,” Toso said. “I think we’re looking at some significant growth and having a strategic plan to guide that is only going to benefit the community.”
One indicator of growth Toso raised was an interested developer in buying land owned by the district for a housing development.
“We have to think about what our long-term needs are, and I think it would be interesting to hear what the developer has to say,” he said.
The School Board also heard from Gail Wold, middle school principal, who is working with the latest accreditation process.
Part of the process was stakeholder feedback. The district was rated by students, staff and parents the lowest in governance and leadership compared to other categories.
“In layman’s terms there’s a perception that you might micromanage,” Wold said.
Resources and support systems and purpose and direction all received high marks from survey responders.
“If there are issues it’s not going to do us any good to try and ignore them,” Allen said. “It’s there but we have to take the whole report in because there are some positive things that have been said.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com