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By Sue Curry Jones
In the Ava Board Spotlight, the R-1 board recognized technology director Jon Doane and staff for hard work and dedication in providing Ava schools, students, classrooms, staff and teachers with support and up-to-date technology. On behalf of the board, school board president Jeff Davis presented Doane with a certificate of acknowledgement and expressed appreciation for a job well done.
Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent, referenced recent inclement weather, and noted Wednesday, May 25, is the last day of school this term. He explained, as a qualifying district, Ava R-1 is required to make up the first six scheduled make-up days, and half of the additional lost days, for a total of 10 make-up days. The remainder of school hours and days lost to weather, may be forgiven.
After the six day requirement is met, the school can make-up one day and receive credit for two, up to a total of 10 days. From the calendar, required make-up days are listed: Jan. 17, Feb. 21, March 21, May 17-19; and the “one-for-two” make-up days are May 20, May 23, May 24, and May 25.
Dr. Wilson briefly discussed MoDOT bridge projects and how construction detours will have a limited effect on bus routes. Wilson noted the main concern was closure of the Cowskin Creek bridge on Hwy. 14 west of Ava. According to Wilson, three different bus routes cross Cowskin bridge.
[However, in response to school requests, MoDOT has re-evaluated and re-arranged the bridge schedule to better accommodate bus routes. MoDOT has postponed the Cowskin bridge improvements until May 26; the bridge will close after the last day of school May 25. MoDOT also changed the closing of the Red Bank Creek bridge on Route 76, to April 14. At present, it appears that only one closing will affect routes during this school year, and that is the Fox Creek bridge on Hwy. 14 east, May 24. It overlaps with two school days, and will inconvenience six students. In the fall, however, construction at Beaver Creek bridge will clash with seven days of school.]
Superintendent Wilson said he recently held an impromptu meeting at the school football field to assess the facts and details for upgrading the field lighting system. At the site, logistics were reviewed and assessed by an architect, local contractor and maintenance supervisor Lennie Johnson.
During the session, the following suggestions were provided: light poles should be placed to allow for growth; establish a plan for setting new poles near existing lines (avoid digging new lines); be cautious on the east side of the field, allow ample room for future installation of new bleachers.
Projected costs were estimated to be: removal of existing light poles and resetting new, $12,000; new equipment and lights, $90,000-$100,000 –– a total expense of $102,000 to $112,000.
Wilson was advised by the board to move forward with the project and establish bid specifications.
In closed session, administrative staff and directors were re-hired, along with building principals and assistants.
Voting unanimously, the board opted to change the school’s present student information system from Infinite Campus which is not user friendly, to a system entitled SIS. According to Supt. Wilson, the Infinite Campus system has not been an effective tool for staff, or for personnel assembling state funding reports. In addition, other problems have been encountered as well. He stated the program is difficult to use, and too much time and hourly wages are being expended trying to make it work.
Wilson presented two options for consideration, the SIS program and Lumen, both applications appeared comparable in comparison, except Lumen was slightly more expensive upfront. However, two-thirds of the start-up cost is covered by ARRA stimulus fund money. (American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009).
Several departmental evaluations and class reviews were approved by the board. Programs accepted were library and media review; vocational program review which includes vocational business, industrial arts, agriculture, and vocational family and consumer sciences; and school health services program.
In the health services review, it was noted chronic illness diabetes and asthma continue to be a concern. Overseeing school health needs, Wendy Brooke and Bonnee Stafford reported they continue to follow Department of Health and Senior Services guidelines even though funding has been lost. As a part of their focus, it is presently a goal to continue searching for funding or grant money that will economically assist students and their families with health needs. Recently, a grant was garnered to assist with dental needs for students in 2nd – 8th grades. The money will cover dental x-rays, cleaning and sealants. They have also found a program for free eye glasses. Throughout the school they are also continuing in their efforts to network students dealing with similar health problems, and educate teachers on how to handle some of the more critical health issues in the school.
Board member Johnny Burkdoll recommended putting the list of proposed school improvement tasks, and a completed project list, on the Ava R-1 website for public viewing.
Each board member also received a list of character words proposed for use in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support program, for the ensuing school year. From the list, selected words will be used in conjunction with other activities to instill in students valuable lessons in character and proper behavior. Some of the words on the list are: caring, citizenship, compassion, diligent, honesty, optimism, patience, safe, reliable, and self-discipline. There are 27 words and definitions on the list.
Bills totaling $113,142.77 were approved for payment.
Board members present were Regina Porter, Pat Henry, Randy Spurlock, Jeff Davis, Bill Phillpot, Larry Silvey and Johnny Burkdoll.
The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 6:30 p.m., in the administration building on campus.