RE1J looking to alleviate staff needs for English learning team

Shift of funds allowing for new positions

By Kendra Walker

As the number of new English learning students continues to climb in the Gunnison Watershed School District, superintendent Leslie Nichols shared with the school board during their February 13 meeting that the district is looking to hire a full-time equivalent (FTE) position for the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) education team this year. 

Earlier this school year, the CLD team spoke with the board about the need for more personnel to support the district’s English language learning (ELL) students. “The need has increased and we’re looking at how we could alleviate some of their stress,” said Nichols. 

Nichols explained that in budgeting for next school year, the district was able to find room for the FTE position to be hired as early as this year, due to class size decreases at Crested Butte Elementary, increases in interest income and job vacancies that the district has decided to collapse. Nichols said those funds will be able to not only create a FTE for the CLD program, but also help add some counseling positions next year. “It’s shifts like this that allow for the creation of these positions,” she said. 

“I advocate the hiring of this individual,” said board member Dave Taylor. “When we talked to the ELL team, they stated this is their number one need. We need to hire people with the skills to make our new kids as successful as possible. I’m glad we’re recognizing the change in our demographics and dealing with it.” 

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