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Elementary test results and an unexpected resignation were among discussion items at the Monday, October 11 meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors.
In his report to the board, elementary principal Chris Elwood shared the results of the fall FAST assessments in grades 2-6. (See graph at right.)
FAST assessments are conducted in the fall, winter, and spring.
Elwood explained the percentages associated with the test results represent attainment of the benchmark for that grade level, and benchmarks increase from grade to grade.
A 100 percent score would mean all students at a grade level would reach that grade’s benchmark.
Elwood admitted there’s room for improvement on both the CBM-r and aReading assessments at all grade levels, but he added each grade level showed significant improvement over last year’s scores.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” he said.
CBM-r (Curriculm-Based Measurement for Reading) is an evidence-based, one-minute assessment used for universal screening in English or Spanish (Grades 1-8), and for frequent progress monitoring. CBM-r is an index of word reading efficiency, also known as fluency, which is an important ability that facilitates reading comprehension. Students who read a grade-level passage with efficiency are better able to use their cognitive resources to comprehend while reading.
aReading (Adaptive Reading is a computer-administered adaptive measure of broad reading that is individualized for each student, but may be individually or group administered in about 15-30 minutes.
Items tap a variety of skills including concepts of print, phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, and vocabulary.
The board accepted the resignation of Richard Speas, high school social teacher and baseball coach.
In announcing the resignation, superintendent Jason Shaffer stated Speas “had some things come up that he has to attend to.”
Newly hired to begin the 2021-2022 school year, Speas’ last day with be October 20.
Shaffer added the district is currently in “scramble mode” to find a replacement, but he said 7-12 principal Bill Huntington was well into the process of finding a replacement for the classroom.
In other personnel matters, Kelly Shaffer was hired as head golf coach, and Abby Schafer was hired as the golf assistant.
Melissa Friedrich was hired as middle school girls basketball coach.
The board approved two purchases at Monday’s meeting.
The first was a new projector from So Bright Productions of Prole for the auditorium. The $9,598 cost of the projector would be covered under funding from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program.
The board also approved the $5,400 quote from Bob Rowland of Lamoni to complete tuckpoint work and waterproofing on the west side of the 7-12 instructional building.
Superintendent Shaffer presented his District Financial Health report based upon data from the 2020-2021 school year.
The report showed the Mount Ayr district is in “Good” financial health, but Shaffer noted the district’s Unspent Balance Authority and Solvency Ratio are nearing their maximum 25 percent budget capacity mainly due to income from the federal government via the ESSER program.
He predicted capacities in both areas would return to normal ranges once ESSER funds are expended.
In other business the board:
• learned two new classes dealing with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will be added to the middle school curriculum.
Two sections of physical education for all middle school students will be scheduled at the end of the school day. These sections will be taught by Derek Lambert and Ryan Victor.
Previously, only those students not out for a sport were required to take physical education.
• learned National Honor Society members are heading up a homework assistance program for 7-12 students under the direction of Victoria Victor.
• briefly discussed a plan to provide in-town bus pickup points for students living on the west side of town. Those plans are in the preliminary stages and details were available.