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The Mount Ayr board of education held a quick meeting on Monday, January 8 as a winter storm moved into the area, canceling school on Tuesday, January 9.
New lockers for sixth grade
Three bids for new lockers were presented to the board in preparation of sixth graders moving to the middle school/high school building next school year.
The low bid of $9,992.16 from School Lockers to supply 54 lockers was unanimously approved. Two other bids for 50 lockers were also reviewed. A bid of $10,300 came from Solution Specialist, and another bid of $18,400 was submitted by Storage and Design.
Secondary principal Josh Vanderflught reported that variety show performer, Laura Ernst, will be at the high school on the afternoon of January 10 to perform for the middle school students that earned their second quarter incentive. Approximately 73% of all middle school students qualified by having greater than 85% attendance, no D or F grades, and less than three discipline referrals.
Due to several students absent with sickness at the end of the semester, finalizing grades were delayed until all finals were made up. Grades were due on January 8 at 3:30 p.m. and honor roll lists will be released next week.
The first semester of the flexible education program was a success, although they plan to have two morning sessions second semester to reduce the number of students in the room at the same time.
Principal Vanderflught also reported the MS/HS will continue to have tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday after school. Mrs. Victor, Mrs. Fox, and a few National Honor Society (NHS) students will be providing support for students who struggle.
They are going to add a couple preventative measures this semester and offer Breakfast Club for middle school students. Middle school teachers are assigned a day a week (Tuesday or Thursday) to help cover with NHS tutors and Mrs. Elliott/Mrs. Rinehart.
Any MS student with more than one missing assignment will assigned Breakfast Club instead of going to the gym in the morning. Wednesday tutoring/academic detention will also be assigned on early out days for students with a failing grade. This should help keep students caught up.
Administration is continuing to look at the middle school schedule for next year to make sure it meets all of our needs. As staffing is confirmed, the schedule will be finalized.
Additionally, the middle school raised $700 in pure profit with a penny war fundraiser.
Elementary principal Chris Elwood reported they welcomed Anna Neathery as the new elementary guidance counselor. She will be providing classroom, small group, and individual counseling for elementary students.
Elementary teachers started off the new year with an all day professional development, completing two sessions related to the Science of Reading. There are a total of five sessions to complete, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Principal Elwood also reported Mabel Trujillo has completed her student teaching and Kindergarten students are now split into three sections.
Andrew Nicholl and Tracy Giles will be coordinating the Junior Raider program for the 3rd quarter. Jodi Lawrence and Jody Greene will be the coordinators for the 4th quarter.
The School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) will be meeting on Wednesday, January 17, to discuss the Iowa School Performance Profile designations.
In other business, the board approved:
A special education agreement with Des Moines Independent Schools for one student who utilizes services there.
Fundraisers as presented.
Hiring Mabel Trujillo as a Kindergarten teacher, with a 97 day contract in the amount of $17,088 plus $3,692.49 in teacher quality funding.
One resignation from second year Kindergarten teacher MacKenzie Slykhuis was also discussed, leaving another open teaching position.
A first grade out of state trip to Shatto Milk Company in Osborn, Missouri.
Superintendent Jason Shaffer reported they will need to start thinking about round table dates and planning as well as drafting the 2024-2025 school year calendar.
A budget workshop meeting is planned for January 26, and there will be two public meetings related to the budget.
Superintendent Shaffer also reported he met with Devon Wood and Tom Shipley in Bedford over winter break. They discussed transportation related concerns and whether school lunches are meeting students needs.
Congressman Zach Nunn also made a trip to Mount Ayr High School, visiting with superintendent Shaffer, and a couple classrooms briefly.
The meeting ended with administration sharing they had addressed the recent tragedy in Perry, and talked with students about the incident, as well as tightening up building security and procedures to keep everyone safe.
“I’m not sure there’s a perfect solution to what we’re facing,” stated superintendent Shaffer.