During closed session of the Sept. 20 Ava R-I school board meeting, the board hired Douglas County Deputy Brandon Reed to serve as school resource officer. Under the agreement, Reed is employed by the school district, but is commissioned under the Douglas County Sheriffs Office. In addition to hiring Reed, the district also purchased a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse for use by the resource officer. Reed is responsible for monitoring student safety at all three campus locations, as well as participating in home visitations with school counselors.
The board also accepted a retirement resignation from Terri Graham, middle school custodian. Graham’s retirement is effective this month with her last day on the job Friday, Sept. 28.
Superintendent Jason Dial reported the school recently added two new parking lots and both areas are scheduled to be finished this week. One lot is located behind the administration building and will be convenient parking for middle school staff and maintenance workers, while the other lot was created behind the school bus lot and will be made available to sophomore students.
Dial acknowledged the first in-house bus inspection program was successful. The August event was held two weeks before school started and the session gave veteran drivers an opportunity to share knowledge with newer drivers. The next in-house inspection is scheduled for spring, two weeks before the required state inspection date.
Student attendance numbers have increased since last year, according to attendance records cited by the superintendent. Dial said pre-K has increased with five new students; the elementary, 3; and middle school, 10. The high school on the other hand, has decreased with the loss of three students.
In a unanimous vote, board members set the 2019 senior graduation date for Friday, May 10, 2010. The day was based on survey information filled out by parents and students.
Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton reported the professional development committee met and identified goals for the upcoming school year. Dalton said survey feedback from teachers and building representatives continues to be used as a source of information as professional development is ongoing throughout the year. This year’s plan outlines areas of focus which align with district goals. The plan also explains how professional development funds will be spent. The plan was adopted in a 7-0 vote.
Dalton said federal funding is being utilized to supplement instruction, reduce class size and purchase special materials for students. However, he also noted federal guidelines are being reviewed and changes may be forthcoming.
Dalton reported the counseling staff has chosen a suicide prevention program that offers many uses and will provide multiple benefits to students.
The District Assessment Plan for 2018-19 was accepted in a 7-0 vote. Plan guidelines were updated this year and a new program called Aimsweb Plus Screening was added to assist in dyslexia screening. The state timeline for receiving MAP and End Of Course scores has changed as results will now be received in October. In previous school years, test results were received during summer months. The district assessment plan was adopted 7-0,
Two new safety gates which are used during school hours are now installed. During school hours, the gates block traffic from using certain streets that run through campus.
The board voted to renew the standing policy that delineates retirement notice incentives and penalties. The program stipulates early retirement notices will be rewarded as follows: when notice is given to the board prior to Dec. 1, $400; prior to Jan. 1, $300; and Feb 1, $200. Penalties for late notification of resignation are May 1 – 31 (non-tenure) $250; June 1 – 30 (non-tenure) $500; June 2 – 30 (tenure) $500; July 1 – 31 $1,000; and August 1, $2,000.
The board spotlight recognized Julie Taylor, high school librarian, for her hard work and efforts in creating the new school website.
Missouri Ozarks Community Health was also commended for supporting students and school programs.
Meeting video may be viewed on the Douglas County Herald website.
The next board meeting is set for Thursday, Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m. at the school. Meetings are open to the public.