By Michael Boyink / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ava R-1 School Board convened for their regular monthly meeting last Thursday, February 20th.
Board member Brandi Stanifer was absent for this meeting.
During the closed session that began at 6:00 p.m., the board accepted the resignations of Jeff Martin (1/2 time counselor) and Wes Davis (Industrial Arts).
The board hired Brad Cleavenhagen as high school golf coach, Devin Donley as first grade teacher, and Stephanie Allen as elementary and middle school physical education and health teacher.
The board also renewed the contacts for all of the current principals and vice principals.
The board voted to approve last months minutes, the financial summary, substitute teacher listing, payment of bills, and the proposed agenda in one 6-0 vote.
Elementary School Principal Clint Hall commented on recent Valentines Day lunches that drew 65-75 visitors.
Middle School Principal Patty Nelson mentioned the recent STEM grant received by the school and how the classes using the grants have begun. In them, students are receiving a variety of training approaches including computer based, instructor-led, and hands-on.
High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash reported progress on master schedule, and Project Lead the Way plans to offer both Computer Science, Computer Programming and Health Science / CNA training (working in conjunction with Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare for clinicals) next year.
Special Services Director Erin Swofford reported efforts to have students job shadowing at local businesses.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial talked about the school’s continuing efforts to estimate enrollment, as Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is used in calculating finance assistance from the state.
He said school is up $506K over budget. “This gets us to a break-even category,”
Dial said. “Sometimes we don’t hit that till May, so I’m comfortable with where we are.”
Dial touched on the upcoming CNA course, pointing out that students interested in health sciences could work as a CNA while attending nursing school, etc.
Dial mentioned upcoming capital projects, saying he would be assembling a list of them for review and prioritization by the board.
Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton reported on a recent vocational meeting, where the school explored the current job market and talked about different programs the school could offer. Dalton said the school was continuing to meet with local businesses to look for ways to get high schoolers hands-on experiences before graduating.
Dalton touched on MSIP6, the currently-in-revision Missouri School Improvement Program. Factors the program looks at are college and career readiness, academic achievement, attendance and graduation rates.
MSIP6 was recently approved by the state board of education, but won’t be implemented until 2022.
The Board discussed several action items during the meeting. All items needing a vote were voted in 6-0.
Library Media Program Review
Middle School Principal Mrs Nelson gave an update on the status of the Ava school libraries. The report was based on a recent survey.
She said the libraries had replaced many books from the fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novel categories.
She said the middle school has a template for citing sources.
She said there was an increase in use of the library by elementary school teachers.
Nelson reported the middle school library now houses over 11,000 items.
Concerns across the library included the lack of a common template to cite sources, the need for updated shelving and lost/ damaged books.
Nelson made recommendations including accountability for lost & damaged items, additional shelving and seating, a handicap accessible stairway at the elementary school, and an increased budget for all libraries.
Community Involvement Program Review
Erin Swofford mentioned some highlights of the school’s efforts to engage the Ava community, including signs of suicide training, parents as teachers program, the JAG program, surveys, etc.
The board discussed how the school was using Facebook more effectively than in the past. Also discussed was the positive reception of adding the ability for parents to pay for school lunches online using credit cards.
Dr. Dial commented that the school currently had $20K of school lunch debt they are working to mitigate.
Health Services Program Review
Wendy Brooke, Ava Elementary School Nurse gave an update on the Health Services Program at Ava schools.
Based on surveys she took, the program was rated overall 4.6/5. Funding received the lowest rating at 3.5/5.
She said comments mentioned the desire for the funding was to update equipment, etc.
Brooke mentioned that having an additional (3rd) part-time nurse allowed them to coordinate services like vision screening and dental care referrals.
Brooke said the department would appreciate funding for more hours.
Other results from the nursing staff included 22 vision referrals from the vision testing done in conjunction with the Lions Club, with many of those referrals leading to glasses for the students.
The MOCH center recently came to provide dental care. The program served 97 students with a total of $43K in services.
Dr. Jason Dial added that the school’s Care To Learn program was responsible for paying for 5-7 pair of the glasses mentioned earlier.
Dial went on to mention an upcoming golf tournament to raise money for the Care To Learn program (details can be found on the school’s Facebook page).
2020-2021 School Calendar
Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton said that recent state legislation restricts the schools ability to start within 14 days of Labor Day, which puts the first day of school on August 24th.
Dalton said there will be three days off for Thanksgiving, a traditional-length break for Christmas, spring break in March, with an end date of May 19th.
Dalton said the schedule worked out by choosing to hold some of the staff professional development days before school starts.
Dr. Jason Dial reported some policy updates that the board needed to approve to stay in accordance with state law.
One example, he said, was checking references with the state before hiring to find and contact the teacher’s last employer.
View the video footage of the meeting on DouglasCountyHerald.com.
The next regular board meeting will be held March 19th at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.