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By Keith Moore
The Ava R-1 School Board adopted the 2011-12 calendar at last Thursday’s regular monthly meeting and changed the dates for two April meetings to accommodate a board member’s schedule.
During the closed session following the regular meeting, the board employed Monty Valentine as maintenance supervisor to replace Lennie Johnson who is retiring.
Supt. Brian Wilson said Valentine will join the staff in April and will work with Johnson this spring to create a smooth transition.
Johnson, who has worked for the school district for 25 years, officially retires June 30.
Also during the closed session, the board voted to not renew the contract of high school science teacher Bennett (Jeff) Tabor, and accepted the resignation of middle school math teacher Erin Koenig.
Dr. Wilson said Jenny Johnson will not be rehired as a kitchen worker in the elementary cafeteria, and some other positions will be eliminated as budgetary moves.
Robert Rogers, who is working part time as an elementary counselor this year is retiring and that position will not be filled, Dr. Wilson said. Also, Paula Burton has been working as a nurse clerk, and that position will be eliminated.
Dr. Wilson explained that state funding for the clerk position ended last year, and the district absorbed the cost of the position during this school year.
In yet another budget-reduction move, the board eliminated the stipend that has been given as extra-duty pay for a public relations person. High school teacher Airin Roberts has held that position this year.
A series of policy updates were approved by the board, and the board received information on employee insurance and food services.
In the Board Spotlight, band directors Chris and Sarah Sacco were recognized for extra tasks they have taken on this year. The husband and wife team organized a Veterans Day program at the high school, assisted with a Pearl Harbor Day program and have provided much student support throughout the school year.
The Saccos were presented certificates of appreciation by the board.
Also recognized was board member Bill Philpott who was attending his last regular board meeting on Thursday. Philpott, who has served a 3-year term on the board chose to not seek re-election this year.
The board approved submitting football field lighting for bids. A pre-development study indicates this work could cost between $80,000 and $100,000.
The board also voted to advertise for bids for food services for the coming school year, with the understanding that the bids are only being received for informational purposes.
It was emphasized the board is not obligating the district to accept any bid for food services at this time, but will only receive bids to be used in the decision-making process.
In his report to the board, Dr. Wilson said he has received no information that the state will not fund summer school. For that reason, he said Ava R-1 will “move forward” in scheduling a summer school program in 2011.
Summer school will be a four-week program during the month of June, with exact dates to be set later.
The reorganizational meeting of the school board will be held on Wednesday, April 6, one day after the annual school election. And the regular April board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 20.
These meetings were rescheduled because board member Larry Silvey, a state track and field official, has conflicts with the Thursday dates on which the meetings were previously scheduled.
The 2011-12 school year will begin on Aug. 17. New teacher orientation will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11, teacher workshop and open house on Monday, Aug. 15, and the first day of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Six days are built into the calendar for make-up, with the projected date for the school year to end Wednesday, May 17, 2012.
Board member Randy Spurlock serves as chairman of the Policy Review Committee and reported on the Feb. 25 meeting. The board then approved those policies as presented by the committee.
Additional meetings are set for March 30 and April 4 to complete the review.
Principals reported February attendance of 91.51 percent in the high school, 96.84 percent in the middle school and 93.29 percent in the elementary. Tenth grade is the largest class with 124 students enrolled and third grade is the smallest with 86 enrolled.
In her report to the board, High School Principal Teresa Nash highlighted a number of special honors received by students recently.
It was noted that the Bears and Lady Bears basketball teams each won their district tournament to advance to state sectional play.
In addition, all-SCA and all-district tournament recognition was shared with the board, including the fact that junior Jorie Garrett was SCA Player of the Year and girls’ coach Clint Gazette was Coach of the Year in the SCA.
She also recognized SCA Math and Science Relay winners, Citizens of the Month and Students of the Month, and FFA contest winners.
Mrs. Nash noted that Josh Freeman, a sophomore, has been nominated to attend 2011 Missouri Scholars Academy and sophomore Austin Casey has been nominated to the Missouri Leadership Seminar, with Sarah Copeland as alternate.
Mrs. Jackie Carl presented at the 22nd annual Southwest Education and Technology Conference and has been invited back to present again next year.
The Ava High School chapter of National Honor Society was elected Historian School for the 2011-12 state convention and will be creating a scrapbook of the convention activities next year.
It was also noted that the counselors’ office is assisting students with scholarship and financial aid information.
Ava High School will be offering dual credit courses through Drury University and Missouri State University-West Plains in an attempt to increase students’ opportunities to earn college credit while in high school.
Drury University has purchased a refrigerator for the AHS science lab. They are also looking at providing financial assistance to upgrade our science lab which will be several thousands of dollars.
She also noted that a few years ago, they purchased big screen TVs that were placed in the classrooms that they used.
Prom has been scheduled for April 9 at the Tower Club in Springfield. The Athletic Banquet was held on Monday, March 14 in the MS/HS cafeteria.
FFA is working hard on their Technical Skills Assessments (TSAs) which is similar to the End-of-Course exams. The other vocational classes will begin their testing soon.
Mr. Charley McDonald has accepted the opportunity to become an eMINTS instructor through the 8th grade Algebra I class. This program brings about $33,000 to the high school for McDonald’s professional development in eMINTS training and technology (mobile lab with laptops for each student in that classroom and a SmartBoard).
FCCLA will be hosting a Glow Dance for AHS students. The proceeds for this dance will go to the charity, “To Write Love on Her Arms” which deals with suicide prevention.
Mrs. Nash’s report also gave a schedule of activities come up through the end of the school year.
Some of the end-of-school activities include the Alumni Banquet on May 7, baccalaureate on May 8, Senior Assembly May 13, and graduation on Saturday, May 14, at l7 p.m.
The last day of school is Wednesday, May 25.
Middle School Principal Cody Herschi reported on a parents meeting held on March 16 to explain a technology grant and study involving 7th and 8th grade students.
National Junior Honor Society will be sponsoring a food drive before Easter. They recently finished a Valentine’s Day fundraiser and will use the money raised to purchase books for the preschool. They also plan to help move and plant flower beds at the preschool.
Middle School Student Council will be discussing changes for next year’s election process, to involve teacher input. Middle School STUCO will also make Easter baskets for the preschool students, and are planning to have a quilt made with all the 8th graders’ names on it, to be used in a fundraising effort.
Ava Middle School MAP testing will be administered April 18-29.
Track and field practice has begun and the first track meet will be March 29 at Liberty.
Beginning next year, 5th grade students will not rotate from room to room for each class, but will remain with a core teacher more like elementary school for most of the school day.
Teachers from the middle school will be attending a professional development conference in St. Louis on March 28 and 29 in working toward a school-wide intervention next year.
Both the elementary and high school Destination Imagination teams earned second place at regional competition in Carl Junction recently. Both now advance to state competition in Joplin on April 9.
Animal Welfare League Junior is sponsoring a Best Choice Label contest to raise funds.
Elementary Principal Diana Premer reported that two fourth grade classes tied for high attendance in February. Mrs. Danielle Stark’s class and Mrs. Connie Dean’s class were rewarded for perfect attendance on eight of 11 days.
The first grade students performed their music concert for their parents and the community earlier this month, performing before a packed house.
Peer observations were completed and turned into administrators by the first of March. These observations are designed to give teachers the opportunity to observe other teachers in the district and different teaching strategies used in the classroom.
Teachers recently took advantage of their district collaboration time and met as a vertical math curriculum team.
Math teachers from every grade level shared a list of expectations needed prior to students entering their class and a list of end-of-course expectations.
Positive Behavior Support was the topic when all teachers and staff members in the district attended an informational meeting with Anna Stigall, the PBS coach from Mtn. Grove middle school. Her information will help students, teachers and staff build behavior expectations and develop lesson plans.
Some of the ongoing projects of the school maintenance department include replacing thermostats that contain mercury, wiring updates, new lettering on the school buildings, and putting up batting cage nets for baseball and softball.
The high school stage has been painted, televisions have been installed in the high school and middle school for student and patron announcements, and emergency flipcharts and evacuation posters have been updated.
The annual bus inspection was also conducted this spring.