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The Ava R-I Board of Education met in regular session on Oct. 19 with all members present.
Ava FFA 75th Anniversary
During the communications portion of the meeting, board members Randy Spurlock and Johnny Burkdoll presented some information on the FFA group’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Seventy-five years ago, 33 young men united to form the first Ava FFA chapter. Spurlock mentioned that two of those founding members are still living and plan on attending the celebration.
The celebration will be held on Nov. 5. The event will start with activities for the elementary school children during the day, then from 5:30 to 7 p.m. food will be served for all those interested cafeteria-style in the middle school cafeteria. The meal will be served “come as you please.” The menu includes roast pork and sides.
At 7 p.m. there will be a special program in honor of the anniversary in the performing arts center. Several speakers will share fond memories of their FFA and agricultural experiences.
Agricultural humorist Jerry Crownover will entertain.
The group is printing a special newspaper section with pictures of former FFA members and quotes from letters from past FFA members. Letters, e-mails and pictures are requested to be placed in the newspaper. E-mails are requested by Oct. 26, and letters sent via mail will be displayed for viewing on Nov. 5.
The agriculture building will be open for tours and visitations during the day on Friday.
There will also be a contest for the oldest FFA jacket worn or carried, so please bring your FFA jacket.
The Ava board spotlight was on 13 staff members who presented at the SCA conference in Willow Springs.
Over 1,000 educators were in attendance at the event, Assistant Superintendent Nancy Lawler said.
Presenters and subjects included:
Shila Currier and Trish Hall: “Brain and Music” – strategies to use music in the classroom.
Vicki Dudley and Mindy Pinckney: “P.A.L.S and Decoding Strategies” – peer assisted learning strategies focused on reading interventions.
Carrie Stewart and Jocelyn Downs: “Connecting RTI and AIMSweb” – how to use AIMSweb system of assessing to identify students that need target interventions and monitor their progress.
Lisa McAllister and Patty Nelson: “Engaging Students” – strategies to keep students engaged and interested in their learning.
Cara Roberts and BJ Sterling: “Mandated Reporting” – detailed who is mandated to report and what to report as well as what happens with a hotline.
Airin Roberts: “Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships” – Ideas on relevant project based learning units.
Kelly Johnson’s kindergarten class had perfect attendance 12 out of 13 days in the month of August.
Her class celebrated with popcorn, Capri Sun and dancing!
On Sept. 28 the elementary had 98.36 percent attendance. Only eight students were absent in the entire building.
The school celebrated by playing music over the intercom and giving each student an attendance pencil.
On Sept. 29 the building had 98.07 percent attendance. Only nine students were absent in the building. The building celebrated by playing Simon Says to music over the intercom.
On early-out Wednesday on Sept. 15 the elementary staff had training from nurse Wendy Brooke on the administration of an epi-pen.
Sarah Key’s full-day preschool recently received a letter stating they were being recognized for the “Builders of the Year” award. Our full-day preschool is one of the top seven preschools in the state of Missouri.
We are very proud of Miss Sarah and Miss Jo and the great service they provide to our kids.
The elementary offers an after-school program from 2:50 to 5:30 p.m. each evening, serving children 3 to 12 years of age.
Principal Diane Premer added that the elementary now has a walking trail around their kindergarten-second grade playground. She thanks the Parent-Teacher Association for funding the project and the maintenance crew for constructing it, with help from the City of Ava.
Middle School Report
The National Junior Honor Society leadership positions for this year are: president, Josie Kjar, vice-president, Julianna Baker, secretary, Amber Miller, treasurers, Megan Barnes and Gabe Page, historian, Shelagh Orcutt.
Thanks to Trish Moran, Erin Koenig, Gina Clinkingbeard, Melanie Gray and Paula Rowe for sponsoring this committee.
Middle school students participated in homecoming activities throughout spirit week. The spirit week activities culminated in the annual spirit assembly on Friday, Sept. 17. The seventh grade took the class competition championship by dominating the eighth graders in the tug-of-war competition.
The middle school is currently in the process of developing the building’s mission statement. Teams have met and discussed in length what they feel is the purpose of what we do each day with kids. A finalized mission statement will be voted on by the staff in the upcoming few weeks.
High School Report
Congratulations to Sarah Sacco for receiving a DonorsChoose grant for a trombone and other equipment for band.
Congratulations also to Michelle Wolfskill for receiving a DonorsChoose grant for a CD player for vocal music.
The Ava High School Echo is now online. You may view archived issues of the Echo at www.avaecho.com. A new issue will be coming out soon.
AHS had 13 students who attended the ACT workshop conference at Willow Springs. The ACT will be given at AHS on Oct. 23. There are 58 students registered, 32 of which are AHS students.
The adult literacy program and book fair was a success. The purpose of the book fair was to educate the community on the Adult Literacy Program offered to the Ava community. Since that time, there have been a few people who have expressed an interest in enrolling in the program.
The academic banquet will be held on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria. The banquet was scheduled in between fall and winter sports so all students would have an opportunity to attend.
Principal Teresa Nash added that the band competed at Reeds Spring and received first and second place in all preliminary competitions and sixth place overall.
She also said that every member of the cross-country team made one of the all-conference teams.
Policy Review Committee
Spurlock reported that the committee had an excellent meeting Monday night. The committee is done reviewing sections A-C.
They are now going to jump to section J. That section deals with student discipline, and the administrators asked the committee to review that section before they began reviewing the handbooks for next year.
Their next meeting will be Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in the administrative office.
Lawler announced that she and technology director, Jon Doane, attended a meeting on eMints earlier this week.
The state of Missouri will be getting $10 million for public schools, some of which will be coming to Ava.
The money is to implement an eMints program.
Seven or eight teachers will receive two years of professional development training.
Their classrooms will also receive a teacher laptop and docking station, laptops for each student to be used in the classroom, SMART boards, projectors and other equipment.
The focus of the program is on the new Common Core Standards.
The district will find out sometime this winter whether they will receive the equipment and training soon. If they are chosen as a control group for the project, they will not receive the equipment until the study is over.
Superintendent Brian Wilson gave the board an update on “The Event.”
In celebration of the community they serve, the Ava R-1 School District will be hosting an event to promote community and school collaboration.
On Friday, October 29, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Ava Schools will be providing a carnival-like atmosphere of games, food, and activities at the Ava R-1 Stadium Complex.
This event is designed to provide patrons of the district an opportunity to visit with school leadership about questions or concerns they have about their children’s education.
He also said the school will be conducting several surveys over the next several months.
All parents will be asked to complete a survey when they come in for parent-teacher conferences.
Staff members and students will also be surveyed.
“This gives us an idea of where to go in the future,” Wilson said.
He also gave the board some information on transportation issues facing the district.
In a list of public school districts and their transportation information, Ava has 3.9 students per square mile.
That shows that the district covers a tremendous number of miles for transportation services.
Wilson said the goal is to go to legislators and let them know that funding cuts in transportation will severely harm rural school districts.
Policy Review: Sections A, B
The board approved the changes to sections A and B of the policy manual by a 7-0 vote.
Parts of Section A that had changes included: prohibition against illegal discrimination and harassment, the school district mission, tobacco-free district, the district wellness program, appointed board officials, new board member orientation and release of information.
The board complimented the nurses on their hard work in creating a new wellness program policy that is in line with state and federal mandates.
“There were very few changes in Section B,” Spurlock said. “It was mostly wording changes.”
Special Education Program
Special Services Director Connie Lee presented the district’s special education program review.
Positives of the program were that teachers, paraprofessionals and parents worked well together and everyone was prepared for meetings.
Concerns of the program were that staff is decreasing and class sizes are rising, along with special education students’ MAP scores being low.
Recommendations were to look at all teachers in the district for those whoa re special-education certified to have them teach an hour or two each day and to hire a paraprofessional in the middle school.
Facilities Program Review
Maintenance Director Lennie Johnson presented the facilities program review.
Notable improvements for 2009-2010 were: new HVAC units in the middle school cafeteria and family and consumer sciences classrooms, remodeling of restrooms in the elementary building, a new wheelchair lift in the elementary, new insulated panels and windows in the middle school, new lighting in the middle school gymnasium, a new sidewalk connecting the high school parking lot with the middle school gymnasium and landscaping projects.
“As you can see, we completed several of the projects that were on our consideration list from last year,” Johnson said. “A lot of that was due to stimulus funds making other funds available for maintenance projects.”
Projects for future consideration include middle school roof renovations, a hot mix cap for the paved area between the high school buildings, continuing landscaping projects, removal of the underground storage tanks, major renovations to the football and track facilities and a new facility to house the preschools and special services offices.
Lawler presented the board with six curriculums to review.
They included: kindergarten and first grade art, fourth grade music, fifth and sixth grade physical education, high school band and high school choir.
The board will discuss those curriculums at the next meeting, then will receive a new set to review.
Lawler announced that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is doing away with the long, essay-style questions on the MAP and EOC tests.
The change is due to budget cuts, as those questions take more time to be graded.
The change will affect third and seventh grade communication arts, fourth and eighth grade math, fifth and eighth grade science and all end-of-course tests.
Wilson added that a new state test will be developed in the next few years, so educators will be having to learn a different test very soon.
Positive Behavior Support
Middle School Principal Cody Hirschi presented on a district-wide initiative to implement a positive behavior support system known as School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS).
Buildings and groups will be working together to develop a common language and set of expectations for all settings within the school.
As most students can tell you, each teacher has their own set of rules and consequences. This program will make all expectations the same across all classrooms and other parts of the school.
This is a research-based, proactive approach to dealing with behavior.
The project will take 3 to 5 years to implement, and Hirschi said that members of the school and community will see school staff’s approach to teaching appropriate behavior will dramatically change.
During the closed session of the meeting, the board accepted three resignations: Gina Clinkingbeard, Suzette Litwiller and Darlene Davis.
All three will be retiring at the end of the year, Wilson said.
Board members present were: Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry, Regina Porter, Jeff Davis, Larry Silvey, Bill Philpott and Johnny Burkdoll.
Silvey arrived approximately five minutes after the meeting started. Philpott arrived approximately 30 minutes after the meeting started.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative office.