ACSD Board of Directors advised of November 13 public meeting regarding Waterville Elementary

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met Monday evening, October 16 for its regular monthly meeting. Board member Patty Nordheim was absent.

During his report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold informed the board how things are progressing regarding an insurance claim for the roof over the auditorium and stage area. He noted that all the repairs have been made and they are just waiting on new curtains. He noted that they had received a letter from Shive Hattery on the matter, and they are acting as a go-between for the school and insurance company. He also noted that they have been discussing the matter with the district's attorney.

Herold also reminded everyone that there will be a public forum on the Waterville Elementary school decision Monday, November 13 in the Waukon High School Auditorium. The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. He also noted that the school's website has a question and answer feature regarding the Waterville school.

Waterville Elementary Principal Julie Askelson told about the activities at Waterville for Fire Safety Week. She also said they will be having an assembly to highlight the first quarter successes within the school. Parent/teacher conferences have been scheduled, and she said they encourage parents to attend. November 3 will be the annual Donuts with Dad reading event.

East and West Elementary School Principal Joe Griffith also shared his school's Fire Safety Week activities. He said they have a number of activities coming up at both schools as well, including Donuts with Dad, 50s Day, Veterans Day and many more. Students also reviewed the school rules against bullying and learned what they can do if they see it happening.

Waukon Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin noted that report cards and parent/teacher conference information have been sent out. Fall sports have ended and winter sports are beginning at the middle school level.

Waukon High School Principal Dr. Mike Hardy also gave the report for Activities Director Brian Hilsabeck. He noted that the last regular season football game will be this Friday and that it will be parents' night. He also said there are a large number of students signed up for the high school bowling team.

Dr. Hardy then gave his own principal report. He said that the high school had received the grant he talked about last month. The funds will be used toward credit recovery class and to update software. Parent/teacher conferences have been scheduled. The high school musical "State Fair" will be held November 2, 4 and 5 this year.

In other departmental reports, Grounds and Maintenance head Bill Hennessy noted that they are getting the boilers ready for boiler checks, as well as winterizing the ball fields. He said that the district got a good report back on its fire system.

Technology director Shawn Gordon updated the board on the progress of the staff with the Canvass integration. Julie Magner, Food Service head, noted that October is Farm to School month and they have been serving lots of local food. She noted that last week was National School Lunch Week and they had activities to celebrate that, including having local farmers come in to serve lunch.

Barb Winters-Kelly, 21st Century, noted that this is the fifth year of the elementary grant and they are getting ready to write a new grant. She explained that Waterville Elementary and East Elementary met the criteria, while West Elementary fell just shy of the 40% participation requirement. She said that the school was at 39.9% participation and would not be eligible this time around, but hopefully attendance will be up enough that they can try again next time. She noted that there is very stiff competition for the grant and that they are always looking for input from parents, students and the community on programming.

During the Communications time in the meeting, Lisa Snitker gave the Annual Library Report. She talked about some of the activities that they have been doing, such as the Yesteryear History project, where students visited with and recorded oral histories from residents at Good Samaritan Center, Southcrest and Northgate care facilities. She said that the students and residents both really enjoyed the project and some of the students even commented that they would like to go back and visit with the people they met during the project.

Snitker also highlighted the Martha Speaks Reading Buddy Mentor program, where sixth grade students partner with kindergarten students to help them with their reading, Read and Ride and the Book Fairs. She discussed circulation at each center and inventory. Snitker said she will be ordering in more non-fiction titles.

The official enrollment report was also given by Superintendent Herold. He noted that the district enrollment is down 10 students. The total number is 1,094.04. Herold noted that with the ten less students, the district will see a loss of about $6,500 per student and noted that this is why State Supplemental Aid is so important.

A presentation was also given by Traci Byrnes and East Elementary teachers Janet Walleser, Sara Retallick and Eileen Franks. They talked about the ELI (Early Literacy Implementation) program, which is a mandated program. They discussed screenings, data, interventions and strategies for helping at-risk and persistently at-risk students and progress monitoring. They noted that the students are often very interested in their own progress and like to share with the teachers what they do at home to work on improving.

Waukon High School Guidance Counselor Amy Wasson gave a report on Attendance Center and Course Enrollment Data. She noted that while certain areas do seem to be male or female dominated, she also pointed out that nationwide there is always a concern whether females are taking upper level science and math courses, and at the Waukon High School statistics show they very much are. She also noted that there are 1,059.5 college credits being taken by high school students this fall.

Elizabeth Happ discussed Food and Fitness Initiative Activities. She is the resource coordinator for the program and has been visiting the ACSD schools and doing activities with students in and out of the classrooms.

There was no old business to attend to, so the board was able to move on to new business matters. Under personnel matters, the board approved staff for the 21st Century After School Program. Resignations were accepted from Brad Larkin from his part-time custodian position and Miranda Nagel from her para professional position. The board approved the hiring of Andrew Sires as eighth grade boys' basketball coach. Brett Egan was hired as the assistant FBLA advisor and Jeff Johnson was hired as a part-time custodian. The list of Teacher Leaders for 2017/2018 was approved by the board. John Papp was approved as a volunteer boys basketball coach. Ben Rausch was transferred from seventh grade girls basketball to assistant varsity girls basketball coach. Lee Stegen was approved as the seventh grade girls basketball coach. Jani Lippert was approved as a volunteer girls basketball coach.

In other matters, the board approved an out of state field trip to Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI for first grade students to attend a performance of the Nutcracker Suite. In a letter to the board, elementary school principal Griffith noted that the first grade students have taken this trip in past years and that they have applied for a grant to pay for tickets and will use either Spell-a-thon or activity money to offset transportation costs.

The board also approved an out of state trip to Chanhassen Dinner Theater for the Waukon Music Department to attend a production of "Newsies". Students will be responsible for cost of their own ticket and transportation. The board approved the cheerleaders' attendance at the Triton Cheer Challenge.
The board then moved on to and approved several change orders for the roofing project, totaling $21,919.81. Bus specifications for one 65 passenger bus were approved. The board then discussed the purchase of two Suburbans for the district from RW Pladsen, Inc. Herold explained that they would be purchasing two Suburbans and one school bus this year, and will also be trading in one Suburban. After the trade-in value, the final price tag would be $79,900.00 for the two Suburbans. The board approved the purchase.

The board then moved on to approve the Superintendent's goals. Herold discussed three goals with the board. The first goal is expansion of career and technology education opportunities through regional partners. Herold noted that HF 2392 gives specific guidance to schools on this matter and that they have been partnering with NICC, AEA, area schools and businesses already. A Regional Sector Board has been created, and they want to continue to work with partners to establish internships and apprenticeships as well as be able to educate parents and students in areas such as financial literacy, student debt, interview skills and developing soft skills. He also noted that they would like to expand the high school welding lab to be able to include NICC courses both during the school day and in the evening.

The second goal is to renegotiate a lease agreement with NICC, as the current lease expires May 31, 2018. The third goal discussed was to increase the percentage of students that are meeting goals and being proficient in math, science and reading. He noted that they want to see scores improve individually and in subgroups. Through data analysis and the Teacher Leadership Compensation (TLC), the district is working at having teachers work with other teachers to improve classroom instruction and also have fun in the classroom.

The board then moved on to approve a request to transfer funds from the Spanish club to other accounts. A total of $4,300 will be transferred to the Annual Account and $3,860.49 will transfer to Student Council. The board approved the following SBRC requests for allowable growth: LEP Allowable Cost - $13,850.77 and Special Education Deficit - $52,907.39.

The following board committees for 2017-2018 were approved: School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) - Patty Nordheim and Tim Waters; Negotiations - Patty Nordheim and Tom Baxter; County Compensation - Scott Melcher; Wellness Committee - Tim Waters; Technology Committee - Al Rissman and Patty Nordheim; Curriculum and Technical Advisory Committee - Scott Melcher. Before adjournment, the board approved the Allamakee Community School Wellness Policy.

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