ACSD Board of Directors holds annual re-organizational meeting at Waterville Elementary School

Board briefly outlines path of consideration for future plans for Waterville Elementary

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met Monday, September 18 for its re-organizational and regular monthly meeting at Waterville Elementary School, as the Board does traditionally in September. Board member Patty Nordheim was absent from the meeting.

In addition to the items of more regular business at the meeting, board president Al Rissman also outlined the board’s consideration of future plans for the Waterville Elementary School based on enrollment projections and recent issues with the school’s well. The board had previously discussed the matter in a September 7 work session. Rissman explained that, in the short term, the board will continue to monitor the well water situation at Waterville. Earlier in the meeting, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold noted that the well at Waterville had passed its most recent test conducted a week ago.

Rissman then went on to say that the board is in the process of gathering cost and other information in regard to operating Waterville Elementary. He explained that information will be compiled and shared in a mailing to all residents of the Allamakee Community School District sometime during the month of October. The board will then be scheduling a meeting in November separate from its regular monthly meeting in order to field questions and share additional information in regard to future plans for Waterville Elementary. Discussion from that November meeting will then be taken into consideration, with the board ultimately planning to reveal its plans for the future of Waterville Elementary at its regular meeting scheduled for the third Monday in December.

With the caveat that the board would not be discussing or answering questions about plans for Waterville Elementary anymore at this particular meeting, Rissman opened the meeting to public comment. No comments were heard or read from the public in attendance or those unable to attend.

During the Superintendent’s Report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold said the SEAL program through the University of Iowa School of Dentistry is being offered again this school year, with some changes noted by the University of Iowa. Herold said only three students have signed up so far for the program and figured that was a product of the new online school registration process this year, as parents may not have been as aware, but information is being sent home to parents.

Herold also noted that the district is still waiting to hear back from insurance on the water damage to the high school auditorium, and will continue to keep the board updated. He also advised that the official enrollment count date will be October 2 this year.

During the Principal’s Reports, Waterville Elementary Principal Julie Askelson advised that activities with grandparents were held at the school last week and that the school’s kindergarten class will be joining West Elementary’s class in a trip to Peake’s Apple Orchard. She also thanked R.W. Pladsen in Waukon for allowing Waterville Elementary students to watch this year’s Homecoming Parade from its car lot on Rossville Road.

Joe Griffith, principal of East Elementary and West Elementary schools, advised that the mid-term for this school year's first quarter was reached last Wednesday. He also said East Elementary third graders will be participating in a bike safety activity this week and that fifth graders will also be traveling to Fort Atkinson.

Jen Garin, Waukon Middle School Principal, reported that sixth grade assessment testing has been completed and that Homecoming is being celebrated this week, with the middle school Homecoming dance being held this Friday afternoon between the parade and the start of the evening’s football games. She also advised that the school will be involved with Get Moving Day scheduled for October 4 through the Live Healthy Iowa program. Garin advised that middle school participation in athletics this fall includes 11 seventh and eighth graders participating in girls cross country, seven taking part in boys cross country, 20 and 26 seventh graders out for volleyball and football, respectively, 19 and 20 eighth grade students out for volleyball and football, respectively, and just three young ladies participating in cheerleading. She also said the vocal concert for seventh through 12th grades will be October 12.

Waukon High School Activities Director Brian Hilsabeck said the Waukon volleyball team hosted its home tournament this past Saturday and that the cross country team will be hosting 13 teams for its home invitational Tuesday, September 19, in addition to Friday’s Homecoming football game. He also said Waukon High School won the Northeast Iowa Conference Sportsmanship Award for the first time in school history for the 2016-2017 school year, and that award will be celebrated during this Thursday’s traditional “Burning of the ‘W’” Homecoming pep rally at the high school.

Dr. Mike Hardy, Waukon High School Principal, noted that the school is also celebrating a variety of Homecoming activities this week. He also provided an update on the Success Coordinator position designed to work with students, parents and the community in helping students improve achievement in school work and other life matters. Dr. Hardy feels the program has been a great success, serving 55 kids so far this school year, with plans to pursue grant funding to further support the program.

ACSD Curriculum Director Gretchen DeVore echoed that assessment testing has been completed, and said that the Allamakee Community School District is one of the first school districts to complete the testing and be able to view its testing data, noting that testing has gone very smoothly with good results. DeVore noted that the district is working on its CASA State Reports for its goals for the next school year, saying that those goals are centered around improving reading achievements for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. She also said the ACSD is one of the first districts in the state to train its secondary teachers in flip and enhanced classrooms to allow those teachers to receive license credit, noting that there are other methods being looked at for the district’s teachers to be able to secure licensing credit from training right within the district.

During the Technology Report, Technology Director Shawn Gordon said it has been a busy start to the school year with issuing laptops, but noted that the new online school registration process “went well.” He noted a “bug” in a core switch slowed the school’s wireless network last week, but help from Hewlett Packard engineers helped remedy the situation. Gordon also acknowledged the donation of two charging carts for electronic devices to the school district, one of those to be used at East Elementary and the other to be used in the high school/middle school library.

Julie Magner, Food Service Director, noted that the Allamakee County Cattlemen are scheduled to grill hamburgers at the high school this Friday. Transportation Director Randy Nordheim said that the bus fleet continues to be busy with daily routes and an abundance of school activities, also noting that the school district’s annual transportation report revealed that its cost per mile decreased this past school year. Barb Winters-Kelly, 21st Century Coordinator for ACSD, reported that the school year is off to a good start and also noted the success of the district’s summer school program.

During the Communications time of the meeting, Principal Askelson showed a pair of videos focusing on Waterville Elementary School. One of those was compiled by student after school helper Michaela Dehli on summer programming at Waterville Elementary School that also involved students from the Postville Community School District due to construction within Postville’s school facilities this past summer. The other video was compiled by teacher Michele Pladsen showing the grandparent activities that took place at Waterville Elementary last week.

After the Waterville Elementary presentation and update, the Board approved the Certified Annual Report for 2016-2017, Special Education Supplement for 2016-2017 and the Transportation Report for 2016-2017. The Board then adjourned, and then re-convened for its annual Re-Organizational Meeting.

At the start of the Re-Organizational Meeting, Board Secretary/Treasurer Jaime Curtin acted as temporary board president, calling the meeting to order. Curtin presented a letter from the Allamakee County Commissioner of Elections confirming the election of board members Al Rissman and Scott Melcher back to their respective board seats in the September 12 School Elections; both were then administered the oath of office. Al Rissman was then selected as the board president once again, with Patty Nordheim being selected again as vice president and Rissman having the oath of office administered to him.

The time and place for the regular board meetings will be as follows: regular meetings will be held the third Monday of each month, at the high school in Waukon, with the exception of the September meeting, which will be held at Waterville Elementary. Regular meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. Jaime Curtin was appointed Board Secretary/Board Treasurer and administered the oath of office. The named depositories for General, Management, Physical Plant and Equipment, Activity, Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), Debt Service and Lunch funds will be as follows: Waukon State Bank, $13,000,000; Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, $5,000,000; and ISJIT/ISCAP $1,000,000.

In personnel matters, the board approved staff for the 21st Century after school program. Ken West was hired as a driver education instructor ($185 per student). The board approved a change in paraprofessional Rosalyn Samuelson’s hours from 28.75 hours per week to 29 hours per week and hired Patricia Roach as a paraprofessional ($11.61/hour). Approval was also given to have Dave Hansmeier, Mitchell Berns and David Burrett serve as volunteer coaches for the Waukon High School wrestling program. The board accepted the resignation of Amanda Eggerichs from her softball coaching position, pending finding suitable replacement.

The board approved students for PICC and contracted classes, with Superintendent Herold pointing out that this year’s classes involve 1,060 credits saving families hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition costs. The board also approved required out-of-state field trips for NICC’s Career Learning Link program. Approval was also given to Sunday usage of the middle school gym for fifth and sixth grade volleyball through the Waukon Park, Recreation and Wellness Department, as was Sunday gym usage for open gym sessions for girls basketball.

The board approved FFA student attendance at the Greenhand Fire-Up October 4 at Wapsie Valley High School, the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN October 24-27 and the 2018 State FFA Convention in Ames April 22-24 of next year. Approval was also given to Sunday events for the cheerleading squad and for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter.

Board President Al Rissman was appointed as the board’s Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) delegate, and Dave Herold and Karen Burke were re-appointed as Level 1 Child Abuse Reporting Investigators. Attorney Bill Shafer was re-appointed as a Level 2 Child Abuse Reporting Investigator, and Gretchen DeVore was re-appointed as the MCGF (Multicultural Gender-Fair)/Equity Coordinator. Jen Garin was appointed as both Title IX Officer and Truancy Officer, Joe Griffith was appointed as Section 504 Coordinator, and Amy Wasson was appointed as Waukon Middle School and Waukon High School Guidance Counselor, with Scott Iverson being appointed as Guidance Counselor at East, West and Waterville Elementary Schools.

Prior to adjournment, the board cast its ballot for the District 3 Director seat on the Keystone Area Education Agency Board of Directors. That ballot was cast once again for long-time director Dr. Bill Withers.
 

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