The Monett R-1 Board of Education approved an expanded use of on-line resources that link different school districts during its September meeting.
Board members approved a cooperative agreement between Monett, Marionville, Miller and Wheaton school districts. Using Internet capacities through the Southwest Area Career Center, a teacher at one school district can be linked to students in other districts at the same time, providing simultaneous classroom instruction and interaction.
"We are a third party administrator to connect a Spanish teacher in Marionville with students in Wheaton and Miller on-line," said Dr. John Jungmann, Monett superintendent, said. "A lot of districts have a few students who want this or that class. If they can partner using technology, they can offer more opportunities. This is the start of that."
Broadcasting services available through SWACC are now being used for fall semester classes. A high school teacher is also providing training for teachers in other districts using the on-line content delivery system Moodle.
"Undoubtedly, this is the future of how our schools will look, getting instruction from the best teachers," Jungmann said. "There is great financial potential. We can combine five to 10 students from different districts where they can't afford to hire a teacher into a larger class where everyone can learn."
The district has partnered with the City of Monett for a traffic study of Ninth Street between Monett Middle School and Monett Intermediate School. The volume of traffic has long raised safety concerns with school officials. Jungmann raised the matter with City Administrator Dennis Pyle, leading to the city asking the engineering firm of Olsson and Associates to do a study and make recommendations concerning traffic flow.
"Ninth Street is our biggest bottleneck," said Jungmann. "There are so many cars making pick-ups and drop-offs and kids crossing the street each hour. There's a potential for a one-way during a specific hour, or shutting down the street during a certain time period or maybe widening the street. There is no easy fix. Safety is our number one priority. We aren't experts in traffic flow. We want to be proactive in this matter."
Jungmann asked to have two board members sit on a team with him to conduct an energy audit of buildings in the district. Snyder Electric, which conducts similar reviews for major companies, has been approached to help with the study. Jungmann hoped Snyder could identify needed improvements that the board could put up for bid.
Looking at facilities improvements, demolition work has started on the old awning at Central Park Elementary. Erecting a new awning on the southwest corner of the building will be done by the end of November. The student traffic area will be fenced in. Jungmann said major work would shut down during drop-off and pick-up times.
Most of the Monett Elementary School that remains under construction will be turned over to the district during the first week of October. The next step will be to wax the second grade classroom floors and install furniture. Jungmann said the preliminary move date has been scheduled for Oct. 21, a Friday when students will be dismissed.
"The teachers are excited," Jungmann said. "They want to move into their permanent new home. Once they're moved, students will not have to go outside all the time, especially between classes."
A community ribbon cutting has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5. The Parent Teacher Organization will have its Fall Festival Fair that afternoon, serving as the occasion to unveil the completed facility to the public.
Jungmann said the district is down to the last two years on its five-year projects list. Board members agreed to move forward with the next four projects on the list. These include: relighting Burl Fowler Stadium; making further improvements on the interior of Central Park Elementary; renovating the kitchen at Monett Elementary; and laying new flooring in the Central Park gym.
All four items are in the annual improvement budget for the 2012-13 school year, Jungmann said.
Also under consideration is an addition at the high school to expand the wrestling room. Jungmann said the room at the northwest end of the main gymnasium is undersized and cannot hold a full-sized gym mat. Remodeling the weight and fitness area will also be done at the same time.
Jungmann anticipated Sapp Design Associates, an architectural firm that worked with the district on the intermediate and elementary building projects, would bring drawings for review at the board's January, 2012 meeting. At that time, board members would determine if the price was within reach to add it to next year's projects. Jungmann expected two new walls will be added outside the building for the expansion.
Jungmann reviewed lawmakers' discussion of the Facebook law and the possible fixes that may be added.
Nancy Noll-Meyer reviewed progress on the Big Brother Big Sister program during its first year with Josh Chapman, the coordinator for the second year. Additional volunteers are sought to help mentor teens.
High School Principal David Steward and Assistant Superintendent Brad Hanson reviewed work by the 21st Century Learning Task Force. Visits to other districts in Missouri and Kansas are planned in the coming weeks. A formal presentation of findings will be made at the Oct. 20 board meeting.
A video, prepared for faculty members by technology instructors Melody Paige and Loralee Powell, was viewed. The video showed ways to integrate the use of technology into daily lessons.
SWACC director Russ Moreland reported enrollment had increased over last year's student count by 29 students, one of the larger jumps in recent years.
Rod Anderson, who left the board in April, was presented with a plaque for his 15 years of service by Board President J.D. Roberts.
Plans were made for holding the board's annual retreat, tenatively set for Nov. 14. The session is usually held off school property to offer a more relaxed setting for brainstorming and discussion, Jungmann said.