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The Ava R-I Board of Education reviewed several programs and received one resignation at their regular meeting on Nov. 18.
In communications, the board received a note from Peggy Taylor, past president of the Missouri School Board Association, thanking Ava for hosting the Region 15 conference.
The Ava Board Spotlight highlighted teachers who had 100 percent attendance at parent-teacher conferences.
High school teachers with 100 percent attendance included: Alison Decker, Clint Gazette, Rebecca O’Dell and Laura Welker.
Elementary teachers with 100 percent attendance included: Venae Heier, Erin Lansdown, Amy Lansdown, Debbie Byers, Sarah Key, Kelly Johnson, Shanna McDonald, Debbie Boeddeker, Daniela Stark.
Superintendent Brian Wilson noted that every building had an increase in the percentage of parents attending conferences, and he thanked the teachers and staff for working hard to bring parents in.
Teresa Nash, high school principal, noted that the high school went from around 54 percent attendance to 84.6 percent at parent-teacher conferences.
The elementary teachers did an outstanding job visiting with parents during first quarter parent conferences. We saw or spoke with 95.6 percent of parents.
Both preschools had 100 percent attendance and seven of our teachers spoke with all of their parents face-to-face.
The elementary students will be doing community service projects several times this year. The money raised will be donated to the Will McFarland family to help purchase a handicap-accessible van.
Students recently had a “crazy hat day” and raised $100. The next hat day will be Nov. 23.
Ms. McAllister and Mrs. Copeland’s classes earned the high attendance celebration for the month. They each had perfect attendance 13 out of 19.5 days in October.
The classes enjoyed popcorn, Capri Sun and extra time outside.
The elementary’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) team had their first team training. The team includes: Shanna McDonald, Cheryl Miller, Sheila Rieken, Debbie Boeddeker and Cara Roberts.
The elementary students recently showed their support to the soldiers by participating in the “Shoeboxes for Soldiers” campaign. Students donated items that will be placed in boxes, along with a letter from the class, and sent to soldiers in Afghanistan.
The kids filled boxes with Ramen noodles, pop tarts, candy, books and other stuff the soldiers will enjoy receiving.
The elementary thanks Paula Maloney and Mr. Rogers for making this community service project a success.
Students really enjoyed the FFA petting zoo. They walked down to the Ag Building and saw goats, sheep, cows and horses, along with some cool farming equipment.
The FFA students did a great job being the tour guides and telling details about the animals and equipment.
Middle School Report
Parent-Teacher conferences were held on Thursday, Oct. 21. The middle school had 65 percent of all parents have a face-to-face conference with the teachers.
Several other parents came to the school to pick up student grade cards.
This is believed to be the greatest turnout the middle school has had in several years.
The middle school leadership team has been working on the PBIS initiative. They have developed an action plan and have surveyed the staff to determine perceptions of how they teach and deal with student behavior.
They have also developed the school’s PBIS purpose statement.
Middle and high school students joined together to celebrate Veterans Day.
Mr. and Mrs. Sacco put together an outstanding assembly that included wonderful music performed by the Ava High School band.
The following students placed in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest put on by the VFW: Michael Smith, second place, Koty Eggleston, third place, Misty David, fifth place.
National Junior Honor Society is sponsoring a school-wide food drive benefiting the Ozarks Food Harvest.
High School Report
November Students of the Month were Whitney McDonald and Dakota Verhage.
October Citizens of the Month were Neco Rippon and Brianna Tiff. The character trait of the month was “positive attitude.”
November Citizens of the Month are Amanda Taylor and Seth Evans.
Congratulations to Mrs. Carl for receiving another DonorsChoose grant. She will be receiving a GPS system and environmental testing supplies.
Congratulations also to Mrs. Tomlinson for receiving a $500 dairy grant.
Thank you to FCCLA for catering the Academic Awards Ceremony and Mrs. O’Dell for coordinating the activity and gathering incentives.
Parent participation in the first quarter parent/teacher conference increased from roughly 55 percent to 84.6 percent.
Trish Haltom and Jackie Carl attended the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Kansas City. They were very excited about meeting science guru Bill Nye and learning new strategies to implement within the science department.
Prom is scheduled to be at the Tower Club on April 9. A goal of the prom committee is to try to keep prom ticket costs around $35 or less this year.
Ms. Roberts will be presenting at the Building Bridges Conference in Jefferson City, while Mrs. Carl will be presenting at the eMINTS Winter Conference in Columbia in February.
Wilson reported that the Missouri Department of Transportation recently held a meeting to discuss snow clearing for this winter.
MoDOT’s primary focus in Douglas County will be west Highway 14 and north and south Highway 5.
“The coverage will also be concentrated on hills and curves,” Wilson said.
Due to funding and the need to keep overtime hours low, MoDOT will only focus on major highways when winter storms hit the area.
“We aren’t trying to point fingers at MoDOT, we are just trying to get the information out about what roads they will be focusing on,” Wilson said.
MoDOT will focus on getting roads drivable in bad weather by treating the highest-traveled major roads until they are mostly clear.
All the remaining less-traveled roads will be plowed to allow for safe travel concentrating on hills, curves and intersections.
The department has also developed a new rating system for storms, ranging from a Type 1 being the most severe with more than 12 inches of snow or more than 3⁄4 inch of ice, down to a Type 5 that includes frost, flurries, freezing fog, blowing snow and refreeze. Crews develop a specific plan based on the approaching storm type.
Wilson also reported that area supervisors for Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) will be visiting the district before Jan. 1.
Changes to the program will include adding science and social studies to the Annual Performance Report (APR) and adding ways to measure how districts are preparing pre-kindergarten students and those leaving high school.
Wilson then gave a report on the current legislative priorities.
He said Career Ladder and summer school are anticipated to be the first programs to be cut from state funding.
The legislature is also brainstorming new avenues of funding.
Distinction in Performance
A school district has to meet 13 out of 14 areas to receive this award from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Ava met all 14 areas, Wilson said. He also noted that the entire South Central Conference received Distinction in Performance.
The policy review committee had few changes on the current round of policies.
One change was to make sure there is a distinction in the wording between public and private schools and the other was a typing error.
MSBA is still reviewing the changes, so the board will vote on this set at next month’s meeting.
The district received five to six bids for new copiers. Every company with copiers currently in the district was invited to submit a bid.
The administration recommended that the school contract with Ikon Office Solutions of Springfield.
Ikon’s bid was at the same rate that they bid for the government, which is a significant discount.
With their bid, the district will receive all new copiers.
The board accepted Ikon’s bid by a vote of 6-0.
Assistant Superintendent Nancy Lawler had presented the board with six curriculums to review at the October board meeting.
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 approved the curriculums by a 6-0 vote.
Bus Route Transfer
The board received a request to transfer Route 10 to Pablo Zamora, who had been driving the route for his mother for several years.
The board approved the transfer by a 6-0 vote.
Alternative School Program Review
The alternative school has served several students over the past few years.
Out of the students it served in the past three years, 83 percent has gone on to continue their education at a college, trade school or the military. 52 percent are currently employed, and 10 percent are unknown or unemployed.
Of that 10 percent (four students), there were three that administrators could not find any information on, Director Don Yarger said.
The program received an average score of 4.56 out of a 5.0 scale.
The program evaluation committee included a school board member, a principal, four teachers, three parents, a high school counselor and the alternative school director.
Alternative school students were also surveyed, Yarger said.
According to the surveys, strengths of the program were its off-campus location, the A+ curriculum that is used, the ability of the school to increase graduation and decrease dropout rates and the summer school program.
There were no current concerns of the program.
New this year is a synchronized program to monitor students’ computer usage.
Also new is a stereo system, cameras for the school with audio and the A+nywhere Learning System, which allows completion of credit and tutoring to be accomplished district-wide.
Recommendations were to look for ways to make time at the alternative school more interesting, design and maintain a webpage (in progress), look for additions to present curriculum (mainly electives), consider having teachers travel to the alternative school to teach elective classes, possibly checking out magazines from the library for break times and possibly purchasing new chairs.
Parents as Teachers Program Review
The Parents as Teachers (PAT) program received an average score of 4.5 from its evaluation committee.
The lowest score was in the categories of “board policies exist to govern the program” and “adequate funding is made available.”
Highest scores were “this program is important and beneficial to our mission of educating students to their fullest potential” and “students benefit by being in this program and it is worthwhile.”
Strengths of the program were: helps children and parents that are unfamiliar to the expectations of public school, gives support and guidance to parents who may have special needs children, with new guidelines, families with children birth to age 3 can receive more than 5 visits per year.
Concerns were: state funding is questionable, the district has cut back to one educator, limited visits to ages 3-5 if not considered high needs and no lunch provided during teen mom meetings.
New this year will be a book given to each child during Christmas Craft Night.
Recommendations were: look for new and creative ways to continue this service, only offer visits on campus to eliminate the mileage costs of the educator, eliminate group meetings (four per year) and pay the educator stipends per visit made instead of salary wage.
Preschool Program Review
The preschool program received an average score or 4.8 from its evaluation committee, which included both preschool teachers, a principal, a kindergarten teacher and three parents.
The lowest score was a 4 for “adequate funding is made available.” All other scores were 5.
Strengths of the program included: helps get students ready for kindergarten and in “school routines,” both parents have great parental involvement, excellent pre-reading development skills and monthly family activities are planned and hosted by full-day staff.
Concerns are: loss of Missouri Preschool Project due to funding, age-appropriate tables in the lunchroom, inadequate playground space, equipment and shade, needing better communication with local Head Start so children are not removed from our program to move to Head Start and not enough classrooms (there are children on waiting lists for both preschools).
New this year is: MPP teacher trained to become trainer for MELS, MPP received honorable mention at MSBA FutureBuilders conference, MPP added more parent educational activities and a new safety barrier was installed between the parking lot and the playground.
Recommendations were: MPP would like to expand their playground into unused space beside their building, Title 1 would like a pavilion over the cement slab along with additional room and play equipment, consider adding another Title 1 preschool and allow 5 year olds who are not yet ready for kindergarten to attend, institute a small fee per child to help off-set costs.
Emergency Planning Handbook
The board approved some minor changes to the emergency planning handbook.
The changes included the use of the storm shelter as the first location for evacuations and general changes of names on contacts, Wilson said.
Board members evaluated Ava seniors who had applied for the MSBA scholarship.
The board members were not given names on the applications, and chose “Candidate #6” as their choice.
That candidate will then compete against other students in Region 15, with the winner than advancing on to be considered for the state-wide scholarship.
Applications were judged on academic performance, extracurricular activities and essay quality.
During the closed portion of the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of
Mark Wendler, who currently teaches high school physical education and health.
Wendler will be retiring, Wilson said.
Board members present were Regina Porter, Pat Henry, Randy Spurlock, Jeff Davis, Bill Philpott and Larry Silvey.
Johnny Burkdoll was absent due to a recent surgery.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Administrative Office.