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Elementary construction project moving ahead

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(Photo)
The structural steel is in place for the new addition to Monett Elementary School. The connection between the old north wing of classrooms, shown at right, and the steel superstructure shows how the new wing extends out toward the new gym. The staircase at center leads up from the new commons area and will be inside the new building. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Monett R-1 Board of Education adopted the 2011-12 school year calendar at its December meeting. The major change will eliminate the half-days when students go home early.

Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said the seven half-days, letting students go home at 12:30 p.m., have had limited success. Teachers will instead shift to more frequent collaboration times with their colleagues, either before or after school. Much of the time will continue being used analyzing student test scores and talking with other teachers about how to help students who are lagging behind.

"Another big factor is to get more instructional time for kids," Jungmann said. "This is another attempt to make things better for students and teachers."

Jungmann said the strategy will cost the district more money. Teachers will receive pay for 30 hours of professional development and collaboration in their contracts.

Otherwise the calendar will not change much from the current school year. Classes will start on Aug. 17, 2011, on a Wednesday, just like last fall. The last day will be May 23, 2012. Snow days are slated to fall in May for the first two, extending school to May 25. The other four snow days will alternate taking days out of the February break and the spring break in March.

Construction update

Dry weather has enabled construction crews with R.E. Smith to make steady progress on the additions at Monett Elementary School. Jungmann reported the structural steel for the upper classrooms of the north wing has been erected. The asphalt has also been laid for the bus loop connecting the north and east sides of the campus.

Crews have begun to putting in the floor for the new commons area by the new main entrance, as well as working on the pad for the new second grade wing on the west side of the project.

Pam Haldeman from Sapp Design Associates told board members work continues on schedule. The final paperwork has been completed on funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the new storm shelter/gymnasium.

The shelter was designed as an alternate, since it must be a free-standing structure. Haldeman said materials can now be ordered so construction can start in the spring.

Clubhouse plan scrapped

Jungmann reported plans had fallen through to work with the city on building a new clubhouse for the golf course. The cost of moving the building from the Southwest Area Career Campus to the golf course made the project too expensive for the city.

The point of having a pad for building houses was to keep students next to their classroom to enhance instruction, Jungmann said. Building the clubhouse on site did not fit into the strategy, so the construction technology class would pass on the project altogether.

Approval to move the last house built by the class to the southwest corner of Seventh and Scott has been granted. Once the house was moved, which will probably be done late at night to avoid traffic problems, Jungmann said a new construction project would begin in the spring.

Legislative update

With the Missouri General Assembly about the convene for the 2011 session, Jungmann briefed board members on pre-filed bills. Open enrollment is expected to receive extensive discussion this year, as well as modifying the Foundation Formula due to budget constraints.

Lawmakers will likely study teacher pay in an effort to establish a differentiated pay structure based on how well students perform on tests. Currently, teachers' pay is based on years of service and education. Colorado, Florida and Washington, D.C., have models for a different system and one is being applied in St. Louis. Jungmann expected the topic would prompt considerable discussion.

The federal school lunch program has been reauthorized, the superintendent said, with changes. The free and reduced cost meals will still be available for students from economically stressed families. Changes include new standards for food quality and wellness policies. Both could drive up the cost of meals. More details will come out in the coming months, he added.

Administrative action

Board members discussed who would represent the district's interests on the city's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission. Both Rod Anderson and Scott Beckwith, serving presently on the TIF panel, have said they do not plan to run for re-election. Doug Childress and David Beckett said they would be willing to take on the extra duties.

At the present time, three people have filed to run for the open board seats in the April 5, 2011, election. Two-term incumbent Beckett has been joined by Darren Bass and Ken Gaspar.

Jungmann said the district would face a review under the newly formulated fifth phase of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). He expected to hear details in January.

New student handbooks for the adult education program and the faculty at the Career Center were adopted. The handbooks incorporated changes detailed under the North Central Accreditation process. The handbooks were prepared by Kim McCracken and former Career Center director Ty Laney, who are co-coordinating the adult program this year. Both are retired and neither could do the whole job part-time. Jungmann said the arrangement enables the district to draw on their expertise. McCracken and Laney each work two nights a week.

Personnel action

In closed session the board accepted a resignation letter from Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann, who announced her intention to retire. Germann is in her third year with the district.

"She definitely has a great background in instruction. She will be sorely missed," Jungmann said.

At a special meeting earlier in December, board members accepted resignations from Diana Johnson, who taught high school science, Kay Bromwell, who taught at Monett Elementary, and Karla Terrell-Wright, a speech teacher at Monett Elementary.

The next board meeting will be Jan. 20, 2011.



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