Reports on several programs run in the Monett R-1 School District were reviewed at the October meeting of the Board of Education.
One of the priorities set by Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann when he joined the district was to make more extensive use of the district's website. Statistics from this fall show gains in that area.
Visits to the web page have increased this fall from 7,048 in a week in early September to 13,541 in early November. The number of total visits in a 30-day period increased by 75 percent since school started.
At Monett Elementary School and the Southwest Area Career Center, website visits more than doubled from the beginning of the present school year. At Central Park Elementary and Monett Intermediate schools, visits more than tripled, and nearly tripled at the high school.
The school nurses and Assistant Superintendent Brad Hanson provided an update on health services. Main goals include: maintaining records to state standards; responding to injuries and sudden illness as well as chronic health concerns requiring student supervision; and assisting staff with wellness initiatives.
The district presently has two registered nurses, a licensed practical nurse and a health clerk. They address daily needs and conduct screenings for skills like vision and problems, such as head lice. They also coordinate programs, such as administering flu shots.
Nurse Linda Lauderdale holds quarterly meetings with the School Health Advisory Council, which looks for ways to enhance programs. This year a major goal is to update the district's five-year-old wellness policy.
In the past year, the health services staff had 14,298 visits with students, seeing 91 percent of the student body. Programs for students include: the Cardiac Kids project for fifth graders through Cox Monett Hospital; the "Land of Smiles" Delta dental program; the Monett Community Asthma Program for fifth and sixth graders through Cox Monett; and the Lions Club vision van screening for Monett Elementary School students.
A significant loss in state funding has put a greater burden on the local district to maintain health services, the report said. The disbursement of staff between multiple campuses stretches resources and limits time for education and programming.
The report identified the top needs for health services as an additional funding source and more staff.
Special Services Director Elaine O'Neal detailed programs for students needing different approaches to education. The district's program for students with disabilities has 16 participants this year, down from 19 last year. The district provides accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for these students to provide access to programs where special instruction is not needed.
Dolly Johnson, the coordinator of plans under Section 504 of the ADA, worked with O'Neal to develop the district's approach. New procedures were selected from work done by attorney Teri Goldman, the leading expert in the field for Missouri and Kansas.
O'Neal also addressed the individual education program (IEP) component of the special education program, where specialized instruction is needed to enable students to learn. The district currently has 265 students with IEPs from pre-kindergarten through high school.
The program continues to use the general education curriculum, using co-teachers to help students having difficulty whenever feasible. Students are "pulled out" for individual instruction or small groups for additional assistance from special education teachers, speech pathologists, speech implementers, physical therapists and occupational therapists as needed.
Gains in learning
O'Neal indicated this is the second year the district has used the READ 180 and System 44 programs for fifth through 12th grades to boost reading and writing instruction. Earlier grades use Reading Street and Sidewalks on Main Street to help select students.
All IEP students participated in state standardized tests last spring, including the alternative test for the 11 students with more severe disabilities. O'Neal said the proficiency level for the alternative test was 88 percent, exceeding state averages.
Proficiency rates for IEP students in general did not meet state targets, nor did the state in general. Monett students showed a 7 percent improvement in communication arts and a 1 percent gain in math scores. Monett ranked third in communication arts and fourth in math among IEP students in the Big 8 Conference.
O'Neal said 10 percent fewer students were referred for special education consideration in the past year. Effective intervention and teachers collaborating about students performance may have aided in the reduction.
"Only two students with IEPs ages 14 to 21 dropped out last year, which is the best rate in the past five years," O'Neal said.
Raising reading and math achievement remains O'Neal's top concern. Graduation rates have fallen just below the state standard in the past, though O'Neal reported 13 or 14 seniors graduated last year for a 93 percent success rate. Students who do not graduate with their age group and stay until they reach the maximum age are counted as dropouts.
The district does not have regular education classes for 3-year-olds, and having one early childhood special education teacher limits the amount of help offered to young pupils showing problems. O'Neal said an additional early childhood special education teacher may have to be added very soon, as the current class is nearing capacity.