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Career Ladder was the hot topic of conversation when the Ava R-1 Board of Education met for their regular meeting on July 22.
Alison Decker, who is a member of the district’s Career Ladder committee, spoke to the board about concerns that the committee had over the new Career Ladder policies.
The board had voted that 75 percent of Career Ladder hours that a teacher worked must be in student tutoring.
Decker said that the committee would like “tutoring” further defined, as some positions (such as counselors and librarians) do not have much of an opportunity to tutor in the traditional way.
The board discussed the issue and changed “tutoring” to be “student contact hours with a focus on student achievement” by a 7-0 vote.
The committee also asked that the board reconsider the 75 percent requirement, and asked that the requirement be lowered to either 30 or 50 percent.
A motion to change the requirement to 50 percent of Career Ladder hours being required to be in student involvement leading to student achievement or parent involvement was defeated by a 3-4 margin.
Board members Pat Henry, Regina Porter and Larry Silvey voted for the measure, while Jeff Davis, Randy Spurlock, Bill Philpott and Johnny Burkdoll were opposed.
A second vote to require 75 percent of Career Ladder hours to be in student involvement leading to student achievement or parent involvement was also defeated by a 3-4 margin, which the same members (Henry, Silvey, Porter) voting for the measure and the same members (Philpott, Davis, Burkdoll, Spurlock) voted against it.
A measure that would require 25 percent of Career Ladder hours to be in parent involvement and 50 percent to be in student contact leading to student achievement passed by a 4-3 count.
Spurlock, Davis, Burkdoll and Philpott voted for the measure, while Silvey, Porter and Henry voted against it.
The board recognized Don Scrivner for his service on the board and as a school board president.
Scrivner was also presented with a plaque.
Daily numbers enrollment numbers for summer school last year consisted of five days with 192 students or higher.
This year we had two days with 192 students or higher.
Last year we paid twelve positions for four weeks of school. This year we paid 10 positions with other teachers working career ladder hours instead of salary.
The custodians are working hard and the building is coming along each day.
All bathrooms, steps and ramps now have the epoxy flooring. New partitions and new door frames are being installed in several of the bathrooms.
The old steel door frames are being replaced with wooden ones. The last of the carpet was removed from two kindergarten rooms.
Preschool acceptance letters have been mailed to the four-year olds. The rest of the letters will be mailed after the August 4 preschool screening.
Middle School Report
There was no middle school report this month, as the new principal has just recently began his duties.
High School Report
Ava High School was named as one of the “High Schools That Work Top 80 Most Improved Schools” for 2008-2010.
This is a national recognition award from the Southern Regional Education Board.
Most of the classrooms and hallways have been waxed and are ready for the upcoming school year.
The school has just been notified that they will be receiving a $10,000 grant from Missouri State University to assist with the adult literacy program in the community.
The school is still looking for community volunteers who would like to be trained on the Laubach Reading Program so they can volunteer in the classroom and/or teacher community members to read or increase their reading ability.
Policy Review Committee
Board member Randy Spurlock said that he hopes all board members will participate in the policy review that the board decided to do last month.
He has asked each of the principals to recommend teachers that might be interested in being on the committee, and has also contacted a community member.
Superintendent Brian Wilson said that even though the board voted to have an extra two weeks of summer school that would be 80 percent-funded by the Department of Health and Social Services, that grant money has not yet came through so the school has not gone ahead with the program.
“There’s still no word on that, so it’s a good thing that we didn’t go ahead and begin,” Wilson said.
Wilson announced that the district did not receive another grant from the Department of Health and Social Services.
That grant, in an amount of $38,864, would have supplemented the wages of the nursing staff at the school.
Wilson said that some concerns had been voiced about the age of the light poles at the football field.
The district is having the poles cored, which will tell them the approximate life left in them.
Wilson also announced that Springfield Web TV would like to broadcast some of the district’s sports games on their website this coming school year.
The company would like to broadcast all of the football games, seven of the high school basketball games (between boys and girls), seven baseball or softball games and three to five volleyball games.
“That way, if people can’t be at the game they can pull that up on the web and look at it,” Wilson said. “It’s just another way for people to see our kids, even people across the country.”
The program will not cost the district any money.
Each board member selected a few committees that they would like to serve on for the coming year.
Milk and Bread Bids
The board accepted the bids of Sara Lee and Hiland Dairy for bread and milk, respectively, by a 7-0 vote on recommendation of the local school consortium.
There were no other bids for the milk, but Hostess Brands of Springfield submitted a bid for the bread.
The school district currently has several legal descriptions for their property, including each of the school buildings and the athletic fields.
The board voted by a 7-0 count to consolidate the descriptions into one.
Frequent Student Assessments
Last year the district assessed students every four weeks. Wilson has recommended that the school now assesses students every six weeks.
He said the assessments will cost the school $29,520 for the next year.
He asked the assessment company, Edmin, if the school could extend the agreement to three years.
The total cost to the district for three years of assessments will be $79,704.
“That is a savings of about $8,856,” Wilson said.
The money for the assessments will be paid out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, otherwise known as federal stimulus money.
Board president Jeff Davis asked the principals if they were in favor of this type of assessment, and they indicated that they were.
The measure passed by a 7-0 vote.
Tax Rate Hearing
The board set the annual tax rate hearing for Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.
The next regular board meeting will be that same night, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative office.