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School Board Topics Include Evaluation Standards, Professional Development

The Ava R-1 Board of Education met in regular session last Thursday night with all board members present.

Much of the meeting focused on new mandates from the State Department of Education regarding teacher evaluations and student assessment tests.

Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent, told the board much of this is still tentative, as the state has not fully implemented directives at this time.

The University of Missouri Douglas County Extension, and more specifically the Family Nutrition Education Program (FNEP) was the focus of the Board Spotlight this month.

Myrna Stark, Rebecca Smith and Terri Fossett were recognized for the role they play in teaching nutrition classes in the elementary and middle schools, and for working with the cafeteria staff in developing and promoting healthy eating habits.

Food services director Carla Aborn also introduced Sheila Valdez, elementary cafeteria director, to the board.

After certificates of appreciation were presented to the FNEP representatives, David Williams, director of the Bears Den after school program, introduced fourth grade teachers Debbie Boeddeker, Missy Lee and Annette Copeland who were recognized for the emphasis they are promoting this quarter through the 21st Century project.

The students are in the process of writing their own newspaper that will be published at the end of the quarter and inserted in the Douglas County Herald.

Students are currently conducting interviews, writing articles and taking pictures for the publication.

A presentation was made on the tobacco tax measure that will be on the November ballot as Proposition B. This measure would increase Missouri’s current cigarette tax of 17 cents – which is the lowest in the nation – to 90 cents per pack. It is projected the increase would generate an additional $140 million for education, Dr. Wilson said.

If approved, 50 percent of the additional revenue would go to k-12, 30 percent to higher education, and 20 percent to prevention and quit assistance.

On a 7-0 vote, the board voted to adopt the early retirement incentive – Policy GCPB, the school district’s assessment plan, and the Professional Development Program review as each was presented to the board.

The retirement incentive policy encourages faculty members to notify the superintendent as soon as the teacher decides not to return or not to accept another contract with the district. There are also penalties for resigning late.

Each building principal submitted a monthly report to the board which included enrollment and attendance figures. Following are those reports:

Ava Elementary

Elementary Principal Diane Premer reported September enrollment as follows: Kindergarten 99, 1st grade 101, 2nd grade 93, 3rd grade 97, 4th grade 98, for a total of 488 students. Attendance for the elementary school was 96.7 percent.

Mrs. Philpott’s second grade class had perfect attendance 11 out of 12 days in the month of August.  Her class celebrated with popcorn, Capri Sun and playing board games.

The elementary recently recognized a boy and a girl from each grade that demonstrates and displays the character word “Responsible.”

The following students were chosen by their grade level teachers. Kindergarten: Abbi Bailey and Tristan Corcoran. First Grade: Jayson Garfit and Emma Dry. Second Grade: Taigan Calhoun and Tyler Davis. Third Grade: Eve Fleetwood and Aaron Prock. Fourth Grade: Kailey Lumley and Kylan Hunn. The students traveled by bus to Kentucky Fried Chicken and enjoyed a free meal off campus.

Kindergarten, first grade and second grade teachers are in the process of administering the first benchmark test of the year. This test is a brief assessment that will be used to give the teachers an idea of where the student is working, what skills need to be worked on and an assessment comparison of where the student is compared to other students of his/her age.

There is also a benchmark test given in the winter and spring.

The elementary building had their “emergency drill” week recently.  Students, teachers, and staff members practiced evacuating for a fire, locking down for a medical situation and locking down for an intruder in the building.  They also practiced two tornado drills.

For one drill students remained in the building and took cover.  On the second drill they evacuated to the tornado shelter.

During an early-release Wednesday, the elementary teachers met as a group for demonstrations from classroom teachers who have a Promethean board.  The Promethean board is an interactive board that allows students to get involved with the lessons.  The elementary currently has 11 new boards being shipped.  The money raised by cookie sales last spring allowed them to buy 10 additional boards.

Ava Middle School

Principal Mike Henry reported August enrollment of 370, down from 406 a year ago. The breakdown by grade: 5th grade 82, 6th grade 92, 7th grade 100, 8th grade 96. Overall attendance was 97.55 percent.

AMS continues to be doing well and off to a very good start, according to Principal Mike Henry.

During the month of August the middle school had a district-wide focus on the character trait, Responsibility.

Ava Middle School Students of the Month are: 5th Grade:  McKenzie Clark, Devon Griffith; 6th Grade: Calista Giorgianni, Iveck Chittenden; 7th Grade:  Madison Freeman, A.J. Vonvalkenburg; 8th Grade:  Shelby Bushong, Dakota Hathcock. September’s focus is Citizenship.

The Positive Behavior Support (PBS) program is really going well.  Students are working hard to earn stamps and spend them in The Cave. Henry says, “Good things are coming from this.”

Our middle school sports are well under way.  Volleyball is going well and the girls have been working hard in practice and have enjoyed playing other schools.  At the time this report was made, 7th grade was 0-2, 8th grade was 1-1.

In football, the 7th grade boys are 0-2 and 8th grade is 2-1.  On Sept. 27 the volleyball girls will be at home versus Mountain Grove.  Football faces Willow Springs at home tonight (Thursday).

• eMINTs teachers are continuing training with their technology and implementing lots of those things into the classrooms.

• IDMS testing Pre-test is complete.  This test gives students/teachers an opportunity to see what students know and focus areas for the year.  This is a tremendous tool for educators.

• Classrooms are student-focused. Teachers are really working on being actively-engaged at all times in their classrooms in order to keep students on task.  It has been really great to be a part of thus far.

Ava High School

High School had 462 students enrolled in September, with the breakdown by classes as follows: 9th grade 117, 10th grade 129, 11th grade 110, 12th grade 106. The attendance rate overall was 95.44 percent.

Principal Teresa Nash reported ACT scores are in from the 2011-2012 school year.

The six-year trend for ACT testing reveals that math and science scores increased and English and reading decreased slightly. However, the overall composite score remained steady, Mrs. Nash said.

The fall drama performance “Grease” will be presented Nov. 8-10 under the direction of Mrs. Michelle Wolfskill.

It was announced that Jimmy Roffmann has qualified for the Army All-American Band, which is a huge honor.

As a bonus to the community, the Army All-American Band will be at AHS for a special assembly to honor Jimmy on Friday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. The public will be invited to this concert.

Ama Adams has qualified for the Bands of America Marching Band.  She will be performing at the Rose Bowl Parade.

Also, Eliza Higley has qualified for the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.  She will be performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

The first round of EDmin testing has been completed and teachers are analyzing the data.  This data will assist teachers in English and math to have student specific/skill-specific interventions during Bears Time.

Herman Blau worked with math and communication arts teachers on Aug. 21 and 28 to identify the Essential Learning Outcomes.  Also, both departments came up with a plan on how to make their intervention time more productive and focus on student-specific/skill-specific interventions.

The Ava High School Echo newspaper invites everyone to check out the latest happenings and topics of student interest as reported by the staff of the Echo.  Readers are asked to post comments on stories that you read.

Mr. Ron Orcutt has used the newspaper to teach students about reading non-fiction.

To view the Ava High School Echo, go to:  avaecho.com.

Ava High School reports School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS) has been going well.  AHS teachers have taught all eight lesson plans with videos, and will teach these skills again at the beginning of 2nd semester.

FCA will be hosting “Fields of Faith” on Oct. 10. This event is open to the entire community and surrounding communities.

Student Council, along with National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America, participated in the Donna Cox Memorial Walk on Friday, Sept. 14.  This event helps raise money for scholarships for AHS students.

Kacy Longino will be the AHS student representative on the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for the 2012-2013 school year.

AHS has received three MSHSAA Special Reports this past month, two from football and one from softball, commending the positive sportsmanship and hospitality of Ava’s athletes, coaches, and administration during games.

AHS Student Council officers for 2012-2013 are: Hannah Johnson, president; Kymber Koop, vice president; Kacy Longino, secretary; Hailey Johnson, parliamentarian; Sydney Dry, public relations; and Ariana Phillips, historian.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Lawler presented information on instruction, assessment and curriculum; professional development; federal programs and grants.

Information was also presented to the board on special services, maintenance, technology, and by the school nurses.

The next regular meeting of the board will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. This date was selected at the recommendation of Board President Randy Spurlock because the regular Oct. 18 date conflicts with the meeting of the Missouri School Boards Association.

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