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Monett R-1 board reviews campus improvements

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Monett R-1 Board of Education reviewed improvements at different campuses during the October meeting.

Architect Pam Haldiman with Sapp Design Associates said the work at Monett Elementary School had been substantially completed. Crews for R.E. Smith Construction were now proceeding with a long punch list of finishing items.

The second grade classes all moved into their new rooms on Oct. 24, the first time all the students at the campus have been under one roof.

An open house and ribbon cutting has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, followed by a Family Fun Fest from 4 to 7 p.m., sponsored by the Monett Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.

Looking ahead, the board named J.D. Roberts and Ken Gaspar to a committee to review the district's energy consumption. They planned to meet with a vendor on an energy study that looks at the lights, heating and air conditioning, and potential savings that could come from central management using sensors, rather than a vast array of manual switches and thermostats. Jungmann said the hope is that new savings can be found.

Board members agreed to hold their fall retreat at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Roberts' home. Student performance from the previous year, goals and long-range plans for the district will be discussed.

Administrative action

In personnel action, the board accepted resignations from fourth grade teacher Shelby Linahan, for health reasons, and from first grade teacher Melissa Faucett, both effective at the end of October. Jungmann said administrators planned to make the transition to other teachers as smooth as possible.

The food service contract with Opaa was approved for the year. One change called for Opaa to also conduct physical exams and drug screenings for all employees in addition to background checks. The school district requires all three for its employees. Jungmann said the change will establish the same standard for all staff on district property.

A policy change recommended by district accountants was adopted, clarifying a schedule for how reserve funds would be used. Funds without specific plans would be identified, rather than simply remaining in operating reserves when needed.

Board meetings for the end of the year were rescheduled to avoid conflicts with the holidays. New dates were set for Nov. 21 and Dec. 19.

The professional development plan was approved. Teachers and administrators working on the professional development committee detailed how faculty would train through the school year.

The main shift in the professional development plan began with the school year in dropping half days off for students in favor of full days. Jungmann said the teachers felt instruction time was lost on half days. Under the revised plan, the district is paying teachers for professional development for 30 hours outside of the school day to work on teamwork, collaboration with other teachers on student performance and multiple instruction strategies.

Jungmann said feedback has been positive from teachers on the change. The switch resulted in a bit more strain on faculty to work beyond the normal school schedule, but he said teachers understood the benefit for students and having more time in the classroom.

Legislative agenda

Movement was beginning in Washington, D.C., over amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, from which the No Child Left Behind law had emerged. House and Senate hearings havebegun, Jungmann said, meaning changes could advance rapidly.

After Education Secretary Arnie Duncan offered waivers to states from the No Child Left Behind requirements, 40 of 50 states applied. Missouri is considering applying for a waiver this spring. If granted, the Monett District would see a way out of the "needing improvement" classification imposed on it.

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