TRUS board sets priorities for 2021


TRUS board sets priorities
A portion of the Middle School wing of Three Rivers School is not currently being used as the district awaits permission from state officials for seventh and eighth graders to return to in-person learning. Superintendent Sherwood has written letters making a case for an exception that, with the same safety measures in place for K-6, it is safe for the upper grades to return.


The Board ponders COVID-19 testing and Mrs. Sherwood’s retirement 

On Wednesday, January 6, the Three Rivers Union School district school board met via zoom for it’s first meeting of 2021. Winter break ends this weekend as 55 students grades transitional Kindergarten through sixth return to in-person learning on Monday, January 11. TRUS board sets priorities

Still no word when the seventh and eighth graders might be permitted to return to on-campus classes. Superintendent Sherwood has written letters to state officials making a case that Three Rivers School is an exception and seventh and eighth graders should be permitted to return. Sherwood said she is hoping to get an answer to that question by the start of the third quarter on Monday, January 25. There are currently 104 enrolled in the Kindergarten-8th grade school.

The board also discussed plans to make it easier for staff to get COVID-19 tested. Superintendent Sherwood reported that there is a program through Valencia Labs where staff can be tested at the school site and swabs and test results are expedited through the Tulare County Board of Education.  The closest place for testing currently is at Rite Aid in Woodlake. Sherwood said she used Rite Aid ‘s drive thru testing on Thursday so she could be tested before students returned from winter break on Monday, January 11. TRUS board sets priorities

Following a discussion on the next building project, David Karplus, board president, asked for input from the board on setting some strategic priorities for 2021. Karplus said that this was an effective planning tool used during his tenure with the National Park Service. Karplus shared his zoom screen and listed each item as presented. TRUS board sets priorities

The priorities are listed as proposed and not in order of importance. Input from staff, school parents, and the public is encouraged. (1) Building project — a special board meeting scheduled for January 20 will brief board members and the school community on the what, when, where, and how of the next phase of improvements.  (2) Board policies — members worked on these intermittently in 2020 there is more to be done. (3) Bring all students back to in-person learning — that’s the consensus. (4) Mission and Goals — work is needed here to keep up with the times. (5) Assemble orientation packet for board members — this could be valuable in simplifying the learning curve especially for new members.  (6) Pursuing grants and new sources of revenue — more important than ever as revenue declines while costs escalate. (7) Formalize communication — a better informed staff, public, and advisory council makes for a more effective board. (8) Leadership transition planning — Superintendent Sue Sherwood’s retirement is inevitable and planning for that day can make the process more seamless. (9) Improve the upper field — this is critical as the aging facilities serve as the play place of the entire community. TRUS board sets priorities

Underscore the leadership transition planning because the renewal of Superintendent Sherwood’s is a big part of the annual budget and, after 25 years, she will be difficult to replace. At the conclusion of the regular agenda, the board went into a lengthy closed session to discuss Sherwood’s pending contract renewal. At its conclusion, there was no decision to report. TRUS board sets priorities

“If I had my choices, I would stay another year and retire in June of 2022,” Sherwood said after the meeting. “I would really like to see a return to normal and a school year with all the activities that the students and entire community look forward to each year.”    TRUS board sets priorities

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