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Abbotsford staffing in good place heading into school year

The Abbotsford School District is one employee away from having a full roster of support staff for the first time in a long time according to District Administrator Ryan Bargender.

At the monthly school board meeting on Aug. 15, Bargender said he is in the process of interviewing for one more cook helper position which will complete the support staff roster for this coming school year. The hiring struggles of school districts and employers everywhere throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were well documented. This year seems to be a different story for Abbotsford schools.

Bargender said the district is still looking for a middle/ high school English teacher but four other positions that were vacant throughout the summer have been filled or are in the process of being filled as the beginning of the year approaches.

Board member Ivone Vazquez asked what the plan was if the district could not find an English teacher for the middle and high schools by the time the year starts. Bargender said the administrative staff has been getting creative in developing a plan for that overflow of students.

“We’re on to plan ‘W’ right now but something will have to happen,” Bargender said. “We’ve got two weeks [to figure it out].”

_ The FEMA project is underway and Finance Manager Ashley Dake said she would be uploading pictures of the progress on the district website so people can watch the progress of the building.

_ All original access points will be open for kids to enter in. However, elementary students will be encouraged to go through the western-most doors on the south side of the building. Updated policies will also be put in place for bus riders and staff will help students through those changes during the school year.

_ The Christensen Foundation donated $300 for marching band trios and $10,000 for pool upgrades. The district is planning to use that money for a scoreboard as well as a couple of bleachers for the pool area.

Bargender said the district looked at buying its own timing system for the pool but the cost outweighed the benefit because the pool will only be hosting two or three swim meets a year. Bargender said he plans to be able to host middle school swim meets in the near future.

_ Both elementary and the middle/high school reported an overall decrease in bullying incidents during the 2021-2022 school year. The elementary school experienced less than five incidents which was down from five such incidents in 2020-2021. The middle and high school experienced seven incidents in 2021-2022 compared to 10 incidents in 2020-2021.

_ The board approved a shared/mutual technology support consortium with Colby, Granton and Spencer School Districts. The goal will be to help each district with different problems by sharing information and resources with each district.

_ Bargender stated that one of the district’s goals is to improve coursework for EL and dual-language students.