by Michael Boyink/[email protected]
The Ava R-1 School Board held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, November 19th at 6:30 p.m.
After call to order and voting in the consent agenda, the board heard reports from the school principals and directors.
Ava Elementary School Principal Dr. Clint Hall mentioned working with Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare and the Anchor Club to put together Thanksgiving baskets for 30 families.
Middle school Principal Patty Nelson highlighted recent efforts by the student council, National Junior Honor Society, and National Honor Society. Nelson also mentioned that Ava Band Director Chris Sacco has been nominated to serve as the President of the Missouri Music Educators Association.
Ava High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash reported that Cox Medical recently donated medical equipment for use in the school’s new CNA program.
Special Services Director Erin Swofford reported that the program released 8 students who no longer needed special services.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial reported that the State of Missouri overall had 30,000 fewer students enrolled this year than last year – due to the coronavirus. Dial presented the school’s financial position, which he summed up by saying “We’re OK, better off than I thought we’d be.”
Dial said that the school’s efforts to refresh technology were underway, with teacher laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks arriving at the school.
School Board Filing Opens December 15th
Dial reported that the school board will have two seats opening for election this coming spring. The seats are currently held by Deana Parsick and Bart Ellison. Interested parties can file to run in the April 2021 election beginning December 15th and ending January 19th.
Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton also commented on recent technology additions to the school in the form of 45 active panels recently purchased and installed by the school. Dalton said the teachers “had a wide range of comfort levels” with the units.
Dalton went on to report that Ava had 80 students coming back to seated classes, and that statewide 65% of online students had a least one “F”. He mentioned that the A+ tutoring program was struggling in the current situation, saying shutdowns lowered the number of hours available for tutoring. He mentioned that the state had lowered the requirements from 50 hours to 25 hours.
High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash reported that the school at-risk program had 33 full-time students, 13 seats available in the alternative school, 27 students enrolled in a work experience program, summer school numbers were up, and the five seniors in the program last year all graduated.
The board approved the review 7-0.
Special Services Director Melissa Dalton reported 25 early childhood students in her program, with a total of around 200 students total. She said the graduation rate was 100% last year.
The board approved her report 7-0.
Student Advisory Position
Along with Dr. Teresa Nash, the board discussed the process for choosing a new student advisor. Board member Dan Johnson recognized students were busy, but felt that, since the board meetings were already scheduled, a successful candidate should be able to make most of the meetings. Dr. Nash said the process was back in the hands of the students.
The Board received student essays for the Belcher Scholarship. Voting will take place at the next board meeting. Board member Dan Johnson did note that a number of them mentioned a need in the schools for personal finance training. “I made a phone call and I start November 30th,” said board member Deana Parsick. Parsick had read the essays and decided to offer her services as a tax professional to the students in the classroom.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial said the school has had 42 cases of COVID-19, with 300 people quarantined at one time or another since school started. Dial mentioned being able to get quicker turnaround on tests. Dial also mentioned a recent policy change by Governor Parson. That policy now says “if both individuals at school – the person diagnosed with COVID-19 and the person exposed to the positive case – have masks on and are wearing them correctly, the individual exposed does not need to quarantine.”
As the school prepares to take meal preparation in-house, Dr. Dial mentioned visiting Kirbyville and Monett Schools to view their in-house meal preparation methods. He said he was “comfortable with where the program is and the school should be ready to go” once back in session after the holiday.
During closed session the board:
Rehired Weston Loftin as 9th Grade Basketball Coach
Accepted the retirement of 7th Grade English teacher Gina Wood
Accepted the retirement of Rex Sawyer, Athletic Director.
View the video footage of the meeting on the Douglas County Herald’s Website: douglascountyherald.com/videos.
The next regular board meeting will be held December 17th, 2020 in the Board of Education room on the school campus.
Meetings are open to the public.