Students from Fletcher Walker Elementary read the short stories they submitted to Lit Jam during the Westwood Unified School District board meeting Wednesday, March 20. They are Ryan Nelson, left, Trinity Kellogg, Cadence Stevens, Jeris Stevens and Jaylyn Halcrow. Photo by Susan Cort Johnson

Westwood school board discusses snow days, Lit Jam

Westwood Unified School District closed Feb. 26 during heavy snowfall, but a “Request for Allowance of Attendance Due to Emergency Conditions” may not be granted by the California Department of Education.

Although the submission of the request was approved at the Wednesday, March 20 board of trustees meeting, Courtney Russell, chief business official for the district, told the board that schools are supposed to build snow days into their calendar and the snow day for Westwood is Monday, April 22, the day after Easter. Therefore, if the allowance is not approved by the state, school will need to be in session one more day, either on April 22 or at the end of the school year.

The temporary replacement for Cassie Anderson, the Ag/ science teacher at Westwood High on maternity leave, is Carol Ross. The board approved the contract. It also approved Cory Rickert as the Westwood High School golf coach. Josie Gibbs, the Westwood High athletic director, said golf was beneficial to students because it was a lifelong sport. The district did not have enough interested students to form a softball or baseball team. Brittany Baehler, a board member, said golf was a good sport for Westwood High because a commitment of only one student could constitute a team.

Two bid proposals for the building at 313 Birch Street, owned by the school district, were opened. The board accepted a proposal from Cecilia Allin to rent the building for $600 a month. The other proposal was for the purchase of the building for $99,000 under an owner financing agreement with $20,000 down.

The contract opener for the 2019-2020 school year between the Westwood Education Association and the district was approved. A letter from each party was read. Westwood Unified School District is interested in negotiating employee health benefits, stipend positions and Article 27 early retirement incentives. The Westwood Education Association would like to sunshine the following articles in their contract: Article 6 — association rights; article 9 — professional dues or fees and payroll deductions; article 14 — class size; and article 22 —salaries.

The Class of 2019 at Westwood High School approached the board of trustees to ask permission to take an overnight senior trip. They said Marci Johnson, a teacher at Fletcher Walker Elementary, had agreed to work with them on the planning process and they would submit an official request in April. The board packet included information on the policy for school-sponsored trips.

Shortly after the meeting was called to order, several young authors, who had participated in the 11th annual Lassen County Literacy Jamboree March 7, read their short stories to the school board. The presenters were Ryan Nelson, Trinity Kellogg, Cadence Stevens, Jeris Stevens and Jaylyn Halcrow. Eileen Heisig, a teacher at Fletcher Walker Elementary, said the theme was “adventures around the world.” A total of 21 students from Fletcher Walker attended Lit Jam.

During the reports to the board, Louise Biggs, the academic counselor for Westwood High, asked the board to consider offering a general education diploma consisting of 175 credits. She also told the board the independent study program was helping students get their high school diplomas.

Becca Nelson, president of Westwood Unified Parent Teacher Student Association, said 90 copies of the book “Bull Rider” had been purchased for students in fifth through 12-grade, who will attend a presentation by the author, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Tuesday, April 2, on the Westwood Unified campus. She also said that PTSA is giving cash awards of $75, $50 and $25 for first, second and third-place winners at the Science Fair in four categories. The organization will hold a Scholastic Book Fair the first week in April with an offer of buy one book get the second book free.

The next meeting of the board of trustees for Westwood Unified School District is at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at the Westwood Unified School District Library.