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Votes were unanimous to re-hire the administrative staff at Ava R-1 last Thursday evening during the closed session segment of the board meeting. School principals and administrators gaining approval for the ensuing year are high school principal Teresa Nash, assistant principal David Williams, special education director Connie Lee, elementary principal Diane Premer, middle school principal Cody Hirschi, and assistant superintendent Nancy Lawler.
The retirement of middle school teacher Donna Sherman who will leave at the conclusion of this term was also acknowledged.
There was a bit of apprehension in the room last Thursday evening when board members discussed the renewal of the Opaa! food service contract for the coming year.
Without discussion, the motion to renew the cafeteria agreement for the 2012-13 term was offered by board member Pat Henry and upheld by Marsha Aborn. However, before moving forward with a vote, Ron Wallace and Larry Silvey asked for clarification on issues of concern previously noted and discussed with the cafeteria staff.
Silvey and Wallace said they had recently met with the cafeteria supervisor and some workers, and during the meeting several concerns were voiced by staff. Before voting to renew the contract, both Silvey and Wallace wanted to know if the problems had been resolved, and if employees would have the necessary manpower to handle the cafeteria demands for the year.
Superintendent Brian Wilson stated most of the issues, such as hours worked, recipe changes, meal sizes and quality of service issues had been resolved, and he assured board members the needs of the cafeteria workers would continue to be addressed, and if necessary, adjustments could be implemented during the year.
In a 6-1 vote, the Opaa! contract for 2012-13 was renewed. Board members accepting the agreement were: Wallace, Johnny Burkdoll, Randy Spurlock, Marsha Aborn, Henry, and Silvey. Regina Porter voted in opposition.
Revisiting the topic of hiring a school resource officer, Wilson once again advocated the use of research and data from surrounding schools as the best approach for reaching a decision. Wilson cited the following as important points for the board to consider: assess other local school programs; re-evaluate Ava’s student incident reports; survey middle / high school parents and students for input; study proven programs on bullying and bullying prevention; learn more about the Watch-Dog concept and fathers.com; appraise professional development standards for administrators. Wilson said once this data is collected and reviewed, the board can make a decision. He noted the information is presently being assembled.
The 2012-13 calendar committee held their first meeting Wednesday, Feb. 15, Wilson said. Those present for the session were Brooke Melton, Leigh Heriford, David Williams, Jeff Martin, Patty Nelson, Nancy Lawler, and Wilson. The group discussed changing the school year from 174 days to 171, with 85 days in the first semester, and 86 in the second. Wilson explained the school day would be lengthened to compensate for the loss of three school days. He also noted there is a push to start the 2012-13 school term after Labor Day; however, the calendar presented to the board last Thursday designated Aug. 16 as the first day of school for students.
Wilson said Missouri education officials are moving closer to submitting a voluntary waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education, which if approved, would provide state and local education leaders with flexibility in meeting the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). A waiver would allow states to exchange certain federal NCLB requirements for a comprehensive state developed plan designed to improve the educational guidelines for all students. Waivers approved in the first and second rounds could go into effect as early as the 2012-13 school.
Wilson conceded Missouri schools are still waiting for direction on funding issues. He commented, “with a $500 million shortfall in funding this year there is one pot of money available and people are jockeying for position.” But at this time, no decisions are forthcoming.
Wilson mentioned HB 1526 is an action to eliminate teacher tenure that is presently in committee, and if passed, HB 1228 will expand charter schools within the state. Both bills deserve watchful attention.
High school Principal Teresa Nash recognized Carmen Potts and Ed Roffman as academic students for the month of February. She also noted the drama performance of “Sleepy Hollow” will be held March 8-12 in the Ava Performing Arts Center with shows starting at 7 p.m. nightly, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Spring Renaissance Assembly is slated for Tuesday, Mar. 6.
Elementary Principal Diane Premer cited Mrs. Ewing’s fourth grade class for winning the high attendance party for January. The class had perfect attendance 12 days out of 19 for the month.
Recognized for displaying the character trait trustworthy for the month of January, the following students were chosen by teachers: kindergarten, Susie Bell and Hunter Day; first grade: Julia McAfee and Grady Goss; second grade: Leigh Allie Sallee and Brody Tidwell; third grade: Kaylee Downs and Ethan Johnson; fourth grade: Claire Fossett and Kayden Myers.
Premer noted Wendy Thompson, elementary librarian, had recently provided training on the new mobile laptop computers to teachers. The program called Computers on Wheels provides a computer for every student, without leaving the classroom.
Principal Cody Hirschi recognized the middle school Chess Club for taking 2nd place in the Seymour Chess Tournament held Saturday, Feb. 4.
Hirschi also reported the 8th grade graduation celebration is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 7–10 p.m. in the middle school, and the regional tournament Destination Imagination is March 3 on the campus of Carl Junction.
Maintenance supervisor Monty Valentine noted preparations have started for spring/summer projects. Bid requests to seal campus parking lots and to purchase new winches for the basketball goals are being submitted. Custodial supplies for the remainder of the year are also being ordered.
Asst. Principal David Williams reported the Daddy/Daughter Dinner had 304 individuals Rsvp for the event, and 419 students had attended “The Bears Den” in January.
In elementary, the scrapbooking classes given by Mrs. Boedekker and Ms. Lee are very popular with the fourth-grade students. Middle school students have volunteered at the Food Harvest, and Heart of the Ozarks. Ozark’s Haven Rescue visited students with rescued puppies and taught students about the responsibilities of pet ownership.
In the high school, several are taking advantage of the second ACT prep classes.
Asst. superintendent Dr. Nancy Lawler, continues to meet with teachers to review and plan the Common Core reading and writing program. Lawler has also spent time with curriculum directors from Springfield in an effort to glean ideas and resources associated with the Common Core implementation.
Lawler noted the middle school improvement plan budget had been finalized.
Special Ed Director Connie Lee said her department is presently testing 18 students in the MAP-A, a process that will continue through March 2.
Under new business, the board approved health services and several
program evaluations, as follows:
• library / media overview was given by Dr. Nancy Lawler and approved as presented in a 7-0 vote. The motions to accept were made by Johnny Burkdoll and Pat Henry;
• Missouri Preschool Project (MPP), a program started at Ava about ten years ago through grant funding, now receiving less money and the grant is being phased out. Approving the MPP program for the 2012-13 school year, the board also opted to continue charging fees as adopted last year. The pre-school program is directed by Sarah Key. The program was approved in a 6-0 vote, with board member Pat Henry abstaining.
• vocational business program for students in grades 9-12, under the teaching leadership of Chelsey Gilmore and Janell Stewart, was approved 7-0. On a five-point scale, the program rated a 4.6. Motions to accept were made by Pat Henry and Johnny Burkdoll.
• vocational family and consumer sciences for grades 7-12, taught by LeeAnn Tomlinson and Retha Weathers, received a 4.56 rating on a 5-pt. scale. The board approved 7-0.
• agriculture education, taught by Tiffany Kauffman and Brent Lakey, is a program that offers agricultural knowledge and FFA opportunities for students in grades 7-12. On a five-point scale, the program earned a 4.604 rating, and was approved in a 7-0 vote.
• industrial arts as taught by Ray Davidson was rated 4.39 on a five-point scale, and approved 7-0 by a vote of the board.
Board member Larry Silvey complimented the vocational staff for providing a host of quality programs for students and preparing youths for the work force and a vocation.
The board spotlight recognized Kentucky Fried Chicken for their contribution to school programs and supporting the character education program. Board recognition also applauded teachers involved in the Emints program for their high level of dedication and the extra-time they devote to the students and program.
Payment of monthly bills totaling $137,579.55 was approved.
Board members attending were Pat Henry, Ron Wallace, Johnny Burkdoll, Regina Porter, Randy Spurlock, Marsha Aborn and Larry Silvey.
The school board will reconvene on Thursday, March 15, 6:30 p.m. in the administrative board room on campus.