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At an otherwise uneventful meeting of the Mount Ayr Community School Board Monday, October 9, a lengthy discussion about transitioning sixth grade to the middle school came at the end of the meeting. During his Superintendent report, Jason Shaffer stated they are looking at sixth grade students moving to the middle school.
Elementary Principal Chris Elwood noted the Elementary is maxed out on space, with the addition of another special education (SPED) classroom and a needed behavior seclusion room where students can calm down.
Secondary Principal Josh Vanderflught noted they have classroom space in the MS/HS that could be utilized for a “L shape” middle school area, separate from the high school students.
Board discussion also included alleviating crowded fifth grade classrooms as part of the transition, as they could then be split into three sections, rather than the two current sections.
According to Chris Elwood, “Three fourths of sixth graders across the nation are in a middle school building.”
All three school administrators, Shaffer, Vanderflught, and Elwood have experience working in districts where sixth grade was included in the middle school. Although no action was taken, board member P.J. West stated “I think it’s time. I think we are ready.”
At the conclusion of the superintendent’s report and meeting adjournment, board members then toured the building to look at potential classroom space with school administration.
Elementary Principal Report
FAST Assessment Results from the Fall FAST Assessments were shared along with a graph (see below) showing the results from the CBM-r and the aReading assessments.
Curriculum-Based Measurement for Reading (CBM-r) 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, 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. Adaptive Reading (aReading) 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.
Preschool preschool students will be taking a field trip to Howell’s Pumpkin Patch on Thursday, October 12th.
Both Kindergarten classrooms will observe Grandparent Days in October.
– Ms. Slykhuis – Friday, October 13th
– Mrs. Coulson – Friday, October 20th
The Mount Ayr FFA put on a Farm Safety Day during the AM on Monday, September 25th.
Students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade were able to attend. We appreciate Ms. Quick and her students for their time and effort.
The School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) held a meeting on Wednesday, September 20th with 20 people in attendance. Mr. Shaffer created a survey and we gave building tours, producing great feedback from those in attendance.
Iowa Wild – Wild About Education School Day Game will be held on Thursday, November 2nd. Both 5th and 6th grade students will be attending an Iowa Wild hockey game.
Elementary students will have their fall classroom parties during the afternoon of Wednesday, October 25th, between school conference days.
Secondary Principal Report
The HS/MS staff received four Raider Education Foundation grants totaling over $6,000.
Items to be purchased include a new coffee machine for Raider Cafe, books for Mrs. Ruggles, streaming devices for multiple uses in the district, funds to support our cultural celebration team, and $1,000 to support our Leader in Me activities and incentives for student goals.
On October 13 and every second Wednesday, the Community Connections team will be hosting a community coffee in the HS library from 8:15-9:00 a.m. Raider Cafe will have coffee and breakfast food available for sale that morning.
Community Connections will be a time where business owners in the county can come in and see what our school is doing to prep students for working life, as well as offer their input on possibilities to partner with theschool to provide authentic learning opportunities for our students.
On Wednesday, October 4, we hosted the second annual Women in Ag career fair for area juniors and seniors. Approximately 130 students from area students along with multiple businesses and colleges attended. Students learned about career options and had the opportunity to participate in mock interviews.
College prep events included a parent night for FAFSA info for junior and senior parents, college visits through TRIO and the counseling office.
Our ELL consultant from Green Hills AEA presented to all secondary staff during an inservice on the experience of being an ELL student and accommodations that can be made to support the success of ELL students. She also had a workshop with the Middle School teachers who work directly with our ELL students to support their success.
The ACT Preparation course we offer to Juniors and Seniors, known as On To College has begun meeting twice a week test prep lessons.
The school board approved the following items:
- A resolution for authority to transfer funds for protection and safety gear to the activity fund.
- Spending authority to provide staff members Language English Purchase (LEP) allowable growth funds.
- A new policy, 503.08 Discipline of Student Who make Threats of Violence or Cause Incidents of Violence, as created by the DEA and provided by IASB. The second reading of this policy was waived.
- Certified Annual Report/Special Ed Supplement
- Human Resources Sharing Agreement with Diagonal
- Two fund raisers including a middle school penny war, and a pie auction.
- Two special education associates, Holly Hinz and Kenneth Weinert, who will both receive a 147 day contract at $17,724 each.
- Girls MS basketball coaches Macy Jarred and Josh Vanderflught and Boys MS basketball coaches Derek Lambert and Michael Moran.
Parent/teacher conferences will take place on October 24th and 26th, and school will not be in session on Friday, October 27.