Pierce City reviews special ed program
Coordinator outlines new projects planned
Members of the Pierce City School Board met recently and reviewed the special education program, overseen by Jennifer Graves.
Currently, the district has 133 students in the program, 52 at the elementary campus, 31 at in middle school and 33 at the high school. A total of 22 students with individualized education plans have transferred into the district since the start of classes in August.
Graves noted the district has memberships in several consortiums, including Joplin Regional, the Autism Center in Carthage, and the new Monett Consortium, which begins with the 2019-2020 school year. One student has already enrolled into the Monett program.
Graves said she had several new projects in the works, including a sidewalk project on the kindergarten through second grade playground to increase accessibility, which she said is a proposed Eagle Scout project; the addition of sensory and motor paths on the playgrounds; the addition of sensory and motor activities in the elementary courtyard; and an upgrade to the middle school/high school snack shop, which would include a small display case and storage.
Graves also described an increasing variety of program offerings, such as co-teaching at the middle school and high school; the on site work experience program, which has expanded to businesses in Pierce City; functional math and social skills through the snack shop project; and daily social skills and personal hygiene education at the middle school level.
Faculty and staff improvements include hiring Kaleigh Havens as a half-day psych examiner to complete IQ and achievement testing in-house; skilled therapy providers occupational, physical and speech language therapies; ongoing training in effective co-teaching at middle and high school levels, and implementation of a multi-tiered system of support at both the elementary and middle schools.
“That is a big commitment for the district to move ahead with that,” Graves said. “That will take the next three to five years to accomplish.”
Superintendent Dr. Kelli Alumbaugh reported that she had visited with Randy Staponski about the Pierce City Foundation account and a newly formed Hamilton Foundation PCHS Scholarship account, established by Maxine Hamilton and her husband, who reside in Stark City, Miss. Staponski proposed combining the accounts. After speaking with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Alumbaugh advised board members that the accounts had been consolidated, providing a larger fund that can be utilized in 2022.
Architect Richard Werner gave a construction update to board members, stating that there have only been three change orders to date, and crews had been somewhat delayed by inclement weather.
The heating and air conditioning unit at the third and fourth grade side of the elementary school quit working and, as yet, have not been slated for replacement. Alumbaugh and Werner are working with Branco Enterprises Inc. to see how a new unit can be installed ahead of the planned roof work on that section of the building.
The next meeting of the Pierce City School Board will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, in the art room at the high school.