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Narcan, a common brand of device that delivers naloxone. The elementary district plans to carry the opioid-overdose reversal medication.

The Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) plans to stock an opioid-overdose reversal medicine as a safeguard for both students and staff, the board of trustees heard at its Oct. 19 meeting. The board also heard updates on student test scores and pest control, and authorized contracts for classroom buildings at two schools.

District to stock naloxone

Donna Mayo-Whitlock, director of educational services, said fentanyl, a potent opioid, is of growing concern, and continued that county and state health officials recommend that school districts carry naloxone, which can immediately reverse an opioid overdose.

The medication would be administered nasally and is “easy to use,” Mayo-Whitlock said. She explained that fentanyl is deadly in small amounts and can also cause harm through physical contact or inhalation.

She noted that it will be three to four months before the district can get naloxone. The district has applied to receive a prescription from the state. In future, the board will need to approve a naloxone policy, and the district needs to develop and implement training for staff.

Trustee Casey Raboy said that, while volunteering at the annual Recovery Happens event, she provided naloxone to homeless center workers who work with youth.

The workers were administering naloxone, Raboy said, “and they were saving lives with it regularly, so it’s really important that it’s available.”

Student test results

GJUESD students are testing ahead of goals, according to testing results. Students took Measures of Academic Progress tests this fall, assessing their progress in reading and math.

In most grades, the percentage of students with scores at or above district goals increased compared to scores from winter 2022.

The district compares its students’ scores to a national sample, checking how many Galt students score at or above the 60th percentile, higher than 60% of sampled students. The goal is to increase the proportion reaching that threshold by five percentage points annually.

The rise in 60th-percentile scores sometimes exceeded the five-percentage point goal.

Trustee Grace Malson asked about a drop in the proportion of seventh graders at or above the 60th percentile, from 41% to 38%. Curriculum Director Claudia Del Toro-Anguiano said staff believes the decrease may have been caused by the transition from elementary school to middle school.

Trustee Tom Silva commended increasing scores among third graders, given the many changes in instruction they’re experienced.

“So it’s kind of impressive that as a group they were still able to improve this much, so I think that obviously says a lot about that age group,” Silva said. “But obviously it says a lot about what we’re doing to get them there.”

Valley Oaks pest control

Superintendent Lois Yount gave an update on pest-control efforts at Valley Oaks Elementary. She said the district regularly sprays there for fleas, particularly during spring and summer; the cooler temperatures in fall and winter make the problem more manageable.

The fleas have been at the site for about five years. The main way to eliminate the problem, according to experts the district has contacted, is finding the fleas’ host, which might be cats, squirrels or other wildlife.

Nicole Lorenz, the district’s chief business official, said the California Department of Public Health was coming that Monday to investigate the site and collect flea samples.

School building contracts

In other Valley Oaks news, the board unanimously approved a design contract for a planned six-classroom wing at the site. Derivi Castellanos Architects (DCA) will carry out the design at a cost of nearly $560,000. The full project, including construction, is estimated to cost about $5 million; the classrooms will be on the east side of the campus and replace four portables.

The board also agreed to have the district enter contracts for three new portable classrooms at Lake Canyon Elementary School. The full project will cost nearly $440,000, and the buildings will be on the south side of the campus.

The district will “piggyback” on a contract between a school district near Fresno and contractor Class Leasing; Yount said this move saves GJUESD time and money by letting it skip the bidding process. DCA will provide design services.