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The Ava R-I Board of Education approved several program reviews and discussed capital improvement projects for the coming year at their regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 16.
In communications, the board announced that they attended the Missouri School Board Association conference at Tan-Tar-A on Oct. 22-24.
Superintendent Brian Wilson said that the board attended a total of 94 training sessions while at the conference.
Board President Jeff Davis said “everyone seemed to find it very informational.”
Wilson also gave each member of the board a log detailing how many hours of training they have received in total.
Member Randy Spurlock announced that the website for the Missouri Public Education Vision Project is now available through the MSBA website.
Ava Board Spotlight
The Ava Board Spotlight was on the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support teams.
Principals reported on the progress their buildings have made in forming a plan for this initiative, then recognized members of the SWPBS Implementation Teams in each school.
The high school team includes: Liz Kyger, Brandy Harvill, Jason Snelson, Calen
VanNess, Trish Haltom, Janell Stewart.
The middle school team includes: Buffy Strong, Becky Klineline, Leigh Heriford, Tori Webster, Trish Moran, Kelly Eggleston, Brooke Melton.
The elementary team includes: Shanna McDonald, Cathy Lawler, Sheila Rieken, Lisa McAllister, Debbie Boeddeker, Missy Lee, Cara Roberts, Cheryl Miller.
Wilson said the district will be implementing “Character Words” this spring as part of the program.
Ms. Hollrah’s class earned the high attendance celebration for the month. They had perfect attendance 12 out of 19 days in November. The class enjoyed popcorn, Capri Sun and dancing the limbo!
During the November Hat Day, students brought in $54. This money will be donated to the school’s community service project for the year.
The elementary had over 400 students who went to the attendance movie in November. The movie was an incentive for students who keep their attendance above 95 percent. Students who did not attend stayed in the classrooms and did other activities with the teachers.
Parents as Teachers and the preschools had Christmas Craft Night earlier this month. Ladies from the Kiwanis club and the University of Missouri Extension Office provided extra help and furnished goodies to eat. The kids enjoyed making and taking home lots of crafts for the holidays.
Each craft was designed to build upon developmental skills like counting, color identification and fine motor skills.
Recently, elementary teachers used their team meeting time on Wednesday to meet with teachers one grade level next to them. Teachers shared essential skills being taught at each grade level and discussed what skills should be reinforced and what skills should be mastered before the student moves up.
Middle School Report
The National Junior Honor Society will participate in the Angel Tree gift donation sponsored by Wal-mart. The society will draw four names from the tree and will provide up to $200 in gifts for the holidays.
The school newspaper, Bear Talk, is going strong. Students have been working diligently each month to provide current news on what is taking place in the middle school.
The Student Council has been spending time at the nursing home with some of the residents. In November, they decorated cookies with the residents and this month they made Christmas ornaments together.
The student council will also adopt five residents to purchase gifts for and will buy token gifts for others.
The district has purchased 30 notebook laptops to be shared among teachers in the building.
Three digital clocks have been purchased for the hallways to assist students in managing their time between classes. Plans are in place to add new clocks in the classrooms that are synced together to the bell system.
High School Report
Teachers who received “Operation Round-Up” scholarships worth $500 include Laura Walker, Becky O’Dell, Trish Haltom and Ron Orcutt.
Jimmy Roffman made alternate for State Band on the baritone saxophone. There were only two students selected for state band, so Jimmy is the third best high school baritone saxophone player in Missouri.
Yearbooks will be on sale through Jan. 7. The cost from Christmas break through Jan. 7 is $40.
Airin Roberts took 19 advanced mass media students to view the technology and studio facilities of Missouri State University and KY3 in Springfield on Dec. 8.
FFA hosted a blood drive for the community. There were 98 people registered and 85 units collected.
Assistant Superintendent Report
Nancy Lawler, assistant superintendent, announced that the district has been accepted as part of the eMINTS program.
The program will provide technology such as laptops and smartboards to the district, along with professional development to help teachers integrate the technology into their classroom.
Wilson shared some communication from the Missouri Association of School Administrators about their priorities for the coming state legislative session.
The group will be discussing funding, primarily summer school and transportation, teacher tenure and merit-based pay.
“Nothing is decided at this point, but those topics will be up for discussion,” Wilson said.
The group will also be discussing open enrollment, tax credits and transfers for students in unaccredited districts.
Wilson also said the district is exploring other student information systems. The district currently uses the Infinity Campus system.
“We’re not making a move right now, but we are looking at the options,” Wilson said.
The board approved four curriculums this month, part of a process that they started a few months ago.
Lawler said the board has 12 more curriculums to approve.
MSIP Performance Report
The Missouri School Improvement Plan has been taken to the state and approved. The state made a list of strengths and concerns for the district.
“There were 10 strengths to one concern,” Wilson said.
The CSIP plan was revised, with a few typographical errors fixed.
Athletic Program Review
Athletic Director Rex Sawyer presented the athletic programs for review.
“We’ve had a very successful year at this point,” he said. “We’ve had several kids make all-conference and all-district.”
He said that basketball numbers have dropped slightly, but said the freshman basketball program is still a priority, even as other schools have had to drop their freshmen programs due to numbers.
Sawyer mentioned that he would be contacting the K-8 schools in the area and inquiring if any students were interested in playing middle school sports for Ava next year.
He noted that one concern with that plan would be the need to have a separate insurance plan for those athletes.
He said that the athletic department tries to encourage student athletes to play whatever sports they are interested in, and not make the schedules where students feel forced to “specialize” in one sport.
In high school football, the varsity team ended the season with a record of 6-5 and were the District 10 runner-up. The team also went to the first round of the state playoffs.
The high school softball team was the South-Central Conference champions with a season record of 14-9, while the high school cross-country teams were district champions (boys) and district runners-up (girls).
Federal Programs Review
Lawler presented the board with information about the federal programs at the district, including Title I and Title IV.
Concerning Title I, the elementary has building-wide intervention time, reading coaches for first and second grade, monitoring of mastery of the GLEs and uses assessment data to drive instruction, along with other features.
The middle school’s level 2 school improvement has been delayed, which means if they make gains for one more year they will be out of school improvement.
Title IV is a program that encourages students to have healthy, drug-free habits.
Events this year included monthly TREND trips, the “Frilly and Miller Show” for the elementary and a Link Crew trip.
Purchases through Title IV included a smoker lung simulator kit, Current Health II, a monthly magazine for middle school students, over $790 of educational books and DVDs for the high school library and monthly character education posters for the elementary.
The district also did a survey of students about their health habits, which will be covered in a future issue of the Herald.
A+ Program Review
Lawler also presented the A+ program review.
There were 58 eligible graduating seniors in 2010.
Spin-off benefits of the A+ program include: attendance rates that exceed 95 percent for over half of the AHS student body, rigorous coursework, at-risk interventions before, during and after school, a four-year plan in place leading to post-secondary study or employment, parent involvement in four-year plan, tutoring and mentoring program for elementary and middle school students and increasing the number of students attending college.
A change coming to the A+ program is that one-fourth of a student’s mentoring or tutoring hours will be able to come from career shadowing.
Gifted Program Review
Cody Hirschi, middle school principal, presented the gifted program review.
The program received an overall rating of 3.48, with a 5 being the highest score possible.
The lowest scores were in “the program is well-organized,” “the program is important and beneficial to our mission of educating our students to their fullest potential,” and “students benefit by being in this program at it is worthwhile.”
The highest scores were in “board policies exist to govern the program” and “the program complies with all district policies as well as state and federal regulations.”
Concerns of the program were scheduling and that students miss regular classroom time and assignments while in gifted classes.
Other concerns were that there was insufficient time for the gifted education teacher to conference with classroom teachers and identify students.
Recommendations included that the gifted program be continued as a pull-out program, as research shows that is the most effective medium for helping gifted students, more local funding, and differentiating in the regular classroom to challenge and support the gifted child.
“One of the negative effects of No Child Left Behind is that most of our attention is focused on helping the struggling learners and little attention is placed on challenging our brightest children,” was a concern that Hirschi voiced.
Wilson gave board members a list of potential capital improvement projects and asked that they rank them in order of importance before the next meeting.
Wilson said that he spoke with the maintenance director, food services director and athletic director to compile the list of projects.
He anticipated a budget of $100,000-$125,000 for capital improvement projects, not including regular maintenance such as painting and repairs.
Wilson presented brief information about the 2009-2010 audit.
Recommendations from the auditors were that the district monitor their spending, request W9 forms from vendors, and make sure accounting staff are familiar with new governmental standards.
Wilson complimented the administrative staff on their attention to detail and longevity at the district.
The board re-organization was set for April 7 at 6:30 p.m.
The board accepted the resignations of David Davidson and Mary Kay Davidson, effective at the end of the school year.
The pair will be retiring, Wilson said.
David is the food services director, while Mary Kay is employed in the middle school.
Board members present were Johnny Burkdoll, Larry Silvey, Bill Philpott, Jeff Davis, Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry and Regina Porter.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative office.