ACSD Board of Directors holds final meeting prior to the start of the new school year

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting Monday, August 21. A reception to welcome new teachers was held prior to the beginning of the meeting.

Keystone AEA board member Dr. Bill Withers and Administrator Pat Heiderscheit were present at the meeting. Dr. Withers noted that he usually checks in with school boards to see if they have any concerns that he needs to take back to the AEA. He also noted that he will be running for re-election for his seat and asked the board members for their support. Heiderscheit stated that he appreciated the working relationship between Keystone AEA and ACSD, and also noted that Keystone is grateful to have some space available to them at East Elementary.

During the reports portion of the meeting, Board Secretary Jaime Curtin briefly discussed the budget handouts received by board members. She noted that overall expenses are under budget, and that the district is slightly over budget in the instruction area.

Superintendent Dave Herold noted that there would be a tour of the summer projects following the board meeting. He also informed the board that beginning in September, they would be seeing more teacher and student participation in board meetings. He also noted that the district will be dedicating the Dr. Richard Hermeier Sports Complex at halftime during the home football game this Friday.

Under the principals' reports, Waterville Elementary Principal Julie Askelson said that the Waterville School is "looking good" and staff was ready for Meet the Teacher night. They have also reviewed expectations and were gearing up for assessment testing. East and West Elementary Principal Joe Griffith also noted that the schools look "amazing." He said staff was also ready for Meet the Teacher night and gearing up for the FAST assessment.

Griffith also spoke briefly about his experience with online registration, from a parent's perspective. He said it took him about 15 minutes to register three children, and he expected it to take less time next year. "It was very fast and easy," he said. "A really slick process."

Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin also stated that the middle school looks great. She said that she felt the online school registration process was successful and she also noted that it made things much easier for the school secretaries. Middle School orientation was being held that same Monday night, and she said that middle school sports practices could officially begin Monday, further noting that they had an optional football practice and Scrimmage Night will be August 31.

Waukon High School Principal Dr. Mike Hardy noted that they also had an orientation night Monday. He said that he felt registration went well for the high school. Activities Director Brian Hilsabeck was not able to be in attendance at the meeting, but Dr. Hardy gave his report. He noted that a total of 158 high school students are out for the fall sports of football, volleyball and cross country.

In the Curriculum report, Gretchen DeVore noted that they have been doing in-services to get ready for back to school. Elementary staff was working on ready strategies Monday and on math strategies in the afternoon. She said sixth through 12th grade staff was working on blended and flipped strategies and how it relates to Canvas, the learning management system. She also discussed how learning is changing, with students having homework such as reading and watching videos at home so they can come to class with questions and ready to jump right into discussion.

Buildings and Grounds Department Head Bill Hennessy noted that projects are going well and the main body of the roof is complete. He noted they still have some projects to finish up as the school year begins.

In the Technology Report, Shawn Gordon said that the e-registration process went "really well, better than anticipated." This was the first year for e-registration. Prior to the walk-in registration, about 40% of students were registered via e-registration. Gordon noted that the first year of using the e-registration will be the most involved for parents and guardians because they will have to fill in all the initial information, but after that the information is stored the process will take less time in the successive years. He also noted that the process cuts back on paperwork.

Food Service Department Head Julie Magner noted that the Summer Feeding Program was successful and the appliances have all been installed in the kitchens. 21st Century Coordinator Barb Winters-Kelly noted that the afterschool program begins Wednesday, after the first day of school. She noted that they are thankful for all the collaboration between the different schools and departments. She also noted that they are looking for volunteers and ideas for programming.

Under the Old Business, the board approved the second reading of the following board policies: 302.2-Superintendent Contract and Contract Nonrenewal, 303.3-Administrator Contract and Contract Nonrenewal, 405.4- Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts, 405.9-Licensed Employee Probationary Status, 410.2-Summer School Licensed Employees, 505.2-Student Promotion-Retention-Acceleration, 603.2-Summer School Instruction. The board also approved a bid from Craig Wellman of the The Signworks for replacement of four signs outside the gym wall in the amount of $3,200. There may be an additional $200 added on for scissor lift rental fees. The signs will be made of Alumilite material with vinyl lettering.

Moving to new business, the board approved staff for the 21stCentury Afterschool Program, with board member Tim Waters abstaining from the vote. The board accepted the resignations of Rita Erickson and Julie Ash from their paraeducator positions. The agenda item to hire Jessica Phillips as a middle school paraeducator was struck from the agenda.

The board approved to hire the following elementary paraeducators: Miranda Nagel, Rosalyn Samuelson, Stephanie Mulvaney, Elizabeth Baures and Sue White. Emily Rocksvold was hired as a high school paraeducator and Kim Rathbone was hired as a special education teacher. Maria Baker was hired as the West Elementary 21st Century Coordinator and Arnie Onsager was hired as a middle school custodian. The board approved the list of TLC mentors and also approved D. J. Scholtes as a co-sponsor of the school district's student council program.

In other matters, the board approved the Treasurer's Annual Report. Bus routes for the 2017-2018 school year were approved. A Sunday facility usage request from the Youth Sports Foundation (YSF) for the football field was approved. The board approved the Teacher Quality/Professional Development Administrative Team. The board also approved using Gruhn Law Firm as the school's attorney, with Superintendent Herold noting that the district has used them for the past 12 years.

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