Time to begin an era of pure kindness: Delta County School District Agenda

The current course of DSAC, in the perspective of board members, and the actions that DCSD is taking to elevate the culture of Delta County secondary schools.


Caryn Gibson and Jim Farmer

Students from all secondary schools in Delta County have monthly meetings to discuss the details of upcoming projects. These funds are going to be allocated to Keith Hawkins, an internationally renowned motivational speaker. Pictured is Caryn Gibson and the members of DSAC that were present at the January meeting.

Travis Cantonwine, Editor-in-chief

Superintendent Caryn Gibson, two days after Halloween, began to launch the goals of the first Delta Student Advisory Council (DSAC) meeting. Sitting at a desk, with Delta County School District’s HR representative, Jim Farmer, she spoke with elected DSAC officers about the new accomplishments that can manifest with the advisory council. Using funds from PEERKindness, an organization located in Montrose dedicated to creating safe environments and reducing bullying, the council wants to begin a new era: an era of kindness. 

“The Director of PEERKindness told DSAC if we had a quality project that was in line with Kindness, their organization would give DSAC $5,000 towards a project,” said Gibson. “DSAC decided to have a motivational/guest speaker share a message about kindness that would affect middle and high school students.”

Keith Hawkins approved press picture
Keith Hawkins has spoken to over 400,000 students across the world to curate a responsible and kind environment. He was raised in poverty and translates his past to improve the future of students.

PEERKindness invited students in DSAC to take a picture with a $5,000 check (above) in the latest meeting, which was allocated to a guest speaker, Keith Hawkins. Hawkins has spoken to over 400,000 students across the world and has come from a diverse, poverty-stricken youth, giving a perspective to students they may not receive on a daily basis. 

“Several names of motivational speakers were brought forward.  It was narrowed down to two by district leadership.  We decided to go with Keith Hawkins,” said Gibson. 

Hawkins has been booked for the month of March to visit all of the secondary schools in Delta County. Details are being arranged by the advisory council, but the council indicated that the last two days of March have been scheduled to talk to all schools. The members of the council also filled out forms that help Hawkins cater to the diverse needs of the different schools. 

Climate affects how a person performs, how they learn, and how productive they will become” reads Hawkins’ website. Hawkins’ mission is to cultivate a culture, or a new era for the school climate. 

The advisory council is made up of Delta County students, Mr. Farmer and Miss Gibson, but they are not the only ones who help continue improving schools. The developments of Delta County School District are positive changes that excite the school board, who have two recently elected members, eager to begin their terms with a bang. 

“I have only been [on] the school board for about two months. So far I love working on the school board. I have a lot to learn,” said Kristina Hines, who now represents District 1 (the city of Delta) in the school board. “I like to hear [student] ideas and what is going on in the lives of our students at the meetings. I believe the DSAC is an important voice the school board needs to hear.”

Mrs. Hines and Jennifer McGavin, who represents District 4 (Paonia and “surrounding areas”), were not aware of which guest speaker was chosen. The student presidents will share this information on January 27, at Paonia’s K-8 school building, the location of the next school board meeting. Regardless, the new members have learned a lot from other board members and district staff. 

“I am learning the ropes,” said McGavin, who visited Paonia’s K-8 school on January 13 to meet teachers and students. “[The] accomplishments so far that Gibson is excited to tell us [are] about [a] motivational speaker.”

Hines and McGavin were briefed with “finance 101” and “know your responsibilities as a board member” lessons at the annual conference for school board members in December. The members are interested in the developments of programs that are related to students, like DSAC, but their terms have just begun, giving them time to create a relationship with DSAC. 

“The DSAC council is a great place for students’ voices. The council has an opportunity every month to share out with School Board members,” said the school board’s superintendent, Gibson. “This year we are creating an Instagram [account] to share information, bringing in a national motivational speaker, listening to students’ celebrations & concerns, and working on our goals” 

Gibson loves working and listening to students and has worked towards understanding student life with the student advisory council. Most importantly, some would argue, the students in the advisory council get to have a personal connection with those who make huge decisions in their education. 

“They are receiving our education and attending our schools.  It is very good to have them part of the process,” said Gibson.