Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Lot of Action

On Monday night the Board of Education met in regular session to discuss a fairly lengthy agenda and take action on several matters of business.  Thankfully, we wrapped up business just before the storm.  

Mr. Munsinger presented an update on the 2018 Iowa Assessment results for the Board.  There was some good discussion about areas of progress and also some areas for improvement.  This chart includes the proficiency levels of our students for 2017-2018.

Third and Fourth Grade
Reading ProficiencyMath Proficiency
2017201820172018
85.2%85.8%87.3%85.1%
Fifth through Eighth Grade
Reading ProficiencyMath Proficiency
2016201720162017
72.6%78.1%76.2%78.5%
Eleventh Grade
Reading ProficiencyMath Proficiency
2017201820172018
78.1%79.5%78.5%80.2%

There are some solid gains in proficiency noted. The Iowa Assessment is a required assessment. It is a snapshot of student performance, but it is not the only indicator of student success.  Other assessments such as iReady, ACT, and FASTT are also used to help complete the picture of how students perform.  This information will be presented at a different time.

Mrs. Furst shared about the expansion of the summer meal program to serve in locations off campus such as Sportsman's Park, the Shenandoah Library, and in Farragut.  There was later discussion about the need to slightly modify our meal charge policy to comply with new requirements from the State.  We are looking at revisions to the policy that would include language that ensures students are not publicly embarrassed or shamed due to low balances or negative accounts.

We also discussed the need to review the district's safety plan and emergency response protocols.  While the District does use the A.L.I.C.E. model, it is important to review our safety practices and consider how we can work in collaboration with law enforcement, emergency responders, and other community agencies to improve the plans. We have scheduled a date in July to start this discussion.

It was great to see four of our staff members promoted to leadership positions. Jon Weinrich was accepted as the Dean of Students/ Transportation Supervisor and Holly Scherff was approved for the Lead Driver position. Sarah F. Martin and Traci Toms were appointed as mentor teachers. They will serve our staff and students well.

I am pleased the Board agreed to purchase two new buses, a new truck, and tractor. These purchases will upgrade our bus fleet and allow us to retire some buses that have been well used. The new truck and tractor will help the maintenance department do their work more efficiently.

Additional bids were approved for the Food Service Department and repairs for the Tennis Courts.  The Tennis Court repair will seal the existing cracks and coat the court.  Some consideration was given to replacing the courts, but it is not realistic to complete this project at this time.  Replacing the courts is something we will need to consider in the future. We need to do some planning to identify how to pay for the project as the replacement is an expensive project to complete.

The Board did agree to enter into an agreement with the City of Shenandoah to use the Bricker Botanical Center. Being able to use the greenhouse will be an excellent opportunity for our agriculture and FFA students.  It will also allow our students to participate in growing food that can be used in the District's food service program. I am pleased the greenhouse will remain at the current location. It will allow our students to participate in work-based learning experiences and be visible in the community.

The On the Job Training contract with Iowa Western Community College was also approved. This contract will allow the District to be reimbursed for part of our new Information Technology Assistant's salary.  This is a great opportunity for the District, Iowa Western Community College, and Mr. Scanlan our new Information Technology Assistant.

The Board discussed possible updates to the meal charge policy, IASB Legislative Priorities, Flex Funding options, and visiting career technical education centers in Nebraska.  After some discussion, the Board decided to replace the lighting in the High School gym with LED lights. The cost of the project is estimated to be under $11,000 with the rebates that are available.

The Board had some good discussion and was able to come to consensus quickly to make these decisions.  I appreciate their effort to participate as volunteers to come together and do good work for the District.

Conversations with Leaders Making the Transition

Earlier, I posted a blog titled Trading Spaces. The blog was about the restructuring of our administrative team and the people behind the ch...