Solomon Valley Economic Development Director Heather Hartman was on hand at the USD 273 Beloit Board of Education meeting to see the board unanimously vote to approve their support to renew the Neighborhood Revitalization Program for another two years. The program has been well documented in its workings and the benefits that have been reaped by the county, it’s community, schools and citizens.
In his report, Superintendent Jeff Travis said he received notice that state paid mileage will be dropping from 54 cents to 53 cents per mile. He also handed out issue one, volume two of the Trojan Pride Magazine which will be made available at sponsor locations and school games and activities. Travis also discussed the food program. He had survey responses from third through sixth graders. Seventy-five percent of the students said they were satisfied with the menu choices. Travis said the usage of OPA for food services is becoming more common across the state.
In the student council report it was said that there is not a lot going on this month, but next month is Winter Homecoming on Friday, February 12. There is also a charity event, in coordination with St. John’s to procure sponsors, which have raised about $2,300. The focus is heart disease for this year. They will have t-shirts and long sleeve shirts available for sale in conjunction with the fundraiser soon.
Katie Schroeder gave the PTO report. She said the winter movie was very well attended. She also said Bingo Night will be Thursday, January 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. They will give away two Chautauqua Pool passes as well as Chamber Bucks and other prizes. The latest box top competition started on Monday. They received about $2,800 from the last two rounds of box top collections. They have also received a $1,500 donation from Solomon Valley Bank to more than likely be used for a larger project near the end of the school year. In the past they have provided soccer goals, basketball court upgrades and teacher’s lounge improvements. Schroeder said the next big event after Bingo Night will be Teacher Appreciation before Fun Day in the spring.
Brady Dean gave the Beloit Elementary report. He said one of their major projects right now is school wide math and reading assessments through Aimsweb. Testing should finish this week, for the most part, and in total by next week. This will provide benchmarks for teachers to use to gauge and set their action plans moving forward. In discussing the Boys Town Model for handling behavior and disciplinary issues and their correction, he said there have been 76 office referrals among 42 students this year compared to 74 last year. Only 10 of those 42 students have received multiple referrals. Of those ten, there are just three who have received more than five referrals.
“There’s just a small number of kids the Boy’s Town Model is not being effective with,” Dean said.
Dean also said Mr. Woerner, the district’s technology specialist, will soon be leading an effort to better educate staff on how to detect and avoid phishing schemes and electronic viruses.
He continued with the Mitchell County Partnership for Children and said they are releasing about $15 million in the current grant. This is about three million less than last year. Those $15 million will be distributed through a competitive grant process. Dean said they are proposing several programs in their grant proposal.
1) Social and Emotional Education, Health and Safety Education and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports to all preschools in participating USD’s and Early Learning Center.
2) Provide Academic School Readiness Services to Preschool Classrooms across the participating schools.
3) Parent training and support
4) Parents as Teachers for three to five year olds.
Dean said they will be partnering with USD’s 272, 298, 299 and St. John’s as well as MCHHS, Parents as Teachers, Mitchell County Early Learning Center, Tiny Treasures Learning Center in Glen Elder and the Beloit Special Education Cooperative.
Also according to Dean, MCPC cash match fundraising has received $7,090 from 39 donors in the first six months of the year. They are currently about halfway to their goal of $39,000.
Casey Seyfert gave the Principal’s Report for the Jr./Sr. High School. He said checkbook simulation packets have been provided to the high school for 130 students by Farmway Credit Union to help educate students on handling their finances in that regard. Seyfert expressed his appreciation for that.
On the digital marquis project, he said S&S Drug, First National Bank, Guaranty State Bank, Farmway Credit Union, Solomon Valley Bank and Cunningham Telephone and Cable have each committed $5,000 toward the project. Apple One media will be removing the old marquis and prep the site for the new marquis. Seyfert said he hopes to have the marquis installed by Spring Break. He also said NCKCN put a Wi-Fi access point in the gymnasium.
The Beloit Special Education Cooperative is looking for a speech pathologists according to Director Karen Niemczyk. She said if they cannot fill the open positions, they would have to rely on tele-therapy for students with speech disabilities. The concern is that Medicaid does not currently cover tele-therapy, which is using an outside clinician via telephone, and it could become very expensive for the Coop. Niemczyk is currently working with a team in drafting a legislative proposal to sponsor a bill which would cover tele-therapy via Kansas Medicaid.
She recently attended a legislative training which teaches how to most effectively communicate in writing and verbally with legislators.
She added that her staff continues to be dedicated to the students and sees teacher spending personal funds to make purchases to increase the effectiveness of their efforts.
“I would like to ask the public to consider donating reward items to their local schools to help defray some of the personal cost to teachers. These items could be stickers, gently used toys, games, books, etc.,” Niemczyk said.
In other business Wellness Committee Rewards were discussed. In the past the district has allowed compensated days off to be given out to staff for completing wellness challenges. Mr. Travis advised the board to allow the two days as they have been used as an incentive as long as he’s been here. The board unanimously approved the recommendation.
Early Learning Center Contracts were considered, and they will be six month contracts for staff. The contracts were approved.
A Board Election Resolution was approved to extend the term of any member terming out in 2017 to be extended until the second Monday of January in 2018 in accordance with recent state law changes regarding when elections will be held.
The board then approved a general expenditure of up to $8,000 for the MCPC, as needed, to help them meet their 10 percent match requirement for potential grant funds.
Added to the agenda was a measure to approve amendments made to the Alternative Learning Center Handbook discussed at the December meeting by Cassie Kopsa.
The board then went into executive session to discuss the evaluation of Superintendent Jeff Travis before adjourning.