Facilitator brought in to ease tensions will meet with Steamboat High School staff next week | SteamboatToday.com

Facilitator brought in to ease tensions will meet with Steamboat High School staff next week

Next week staff at Steamboat Springs High School will meet with a third-party facilitator hired by the school district to help ease tensions in the building that came to a head at the end of last school year.

In her first Board of Education meeting since being hired as the district’s new superintendent on Monday, Aug. 8, Celine Wicks said addressing issues at the high school was one of her top priorities.

“This is one of the first things that I jumped into as acting superintendent (since) being named,” Wicks said.

The district hired facilitator Diane Groves in June, with board members saying they felt this was the best way to move forward, despite a survey of teachers in the local union showing that 90% of them lacked faith in Principal Rick Elertson’s leadership.

A week after the survey was presented to the school board, a lockdown incident during a tradition known as “senior run-through” at the high school left some students saying they felt terrified amid the confusion, and further inflamed the situation.

Wicks said initially, the plan was for Groves to meet with staff this week, but that was moved back as teachers contracts don’t start until next week so this is now planned to start on Monday, Aug. 15. The first two days of the week, staff will have one-on-one “intake meetings” with Groves and her colleague Mike Altenburn.

“What Diane and Mike will be doing is really understanding the diverse perspectives of everyone in the building, whether they are new or they have been there for a long time,” Wicks said.

Then, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Thursday, Aug. 18, and half of Friday, Aug. 19, Wicks said Groves would create an agenda based around conflict resolution, decision making models, characteristics of high performing teams, and goals for successful, school leadership teams.

Wicks said Groves would then create a report based on those three days.

“We’re really coming at it from a systems perspective, not any one individual,” Wicks said. “Full day Wednesday, full day Thursday and half day Friday will be all about this.”

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