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Elementary school principal announces new intervention program for 2015-16
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Due to the Buckets for Briar Fundraiser held during the boys’ basketball game on Tuesday night, the Boscobel School Board decided to hold their regular monthly meeting on Monday night. Some of the agenda items must have caught the attention of some school faculty as almost all the seats were filled for a change.

Elementary principal Rick Walters opened up the meeting and informed the board of the new intervention program the school will be starting next year called Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS). He currently has a team working on the specific guidelines of the program.

“We are in need of training and this involves the entire staff at the elementary school,” Walters said, “which includes the kitchen help, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and custodians. We’re going to be planning some training, which are about half-hour trainings for all those people. Just to get them on board with the expectations, so when we as a staff train the students on how to use this structure, we also want our custodians and kitchen staff correcting behaviors.”

They are planning on getting started on the training process within possibly the next two weeks. Walters warned the board that this might cost a little bit of overtime here and there in order to get faculty in and trained.

After being asked by board member Roger Knoble who would be performing the training, Walters explained that elementary guidance counselor Sharyl Kay would be taking charge of the training. Walters is unsure if other people will be helping her, but knows that she will at least be starting the process.

Recess change

Another change for the 2015-16 school year that Walters mentioned was the changing of recess times for the younger kids in probably grades kindergarten through third grade.

“We just started looking at options to readjust our noon recess so that our little ones are out there without any of the larger students,” Walters said. “There are just many students out there and it is just so chaotic.”

Educator effectiveness

With educator effectiveness being implemented this year by the state, each teacher has completed a Student Learning Objective (SLO), and now the teachers are completing their mid-year reviews to see if they have completed their SLO goals. With that, high school principal Rodney Lewis shared the MAPS assessment results from Grant Reynolds and Mark Davis’ seventh and eighth grade math class.

The seventh grade in the fall of 2014 had an average of 223.7 and in the winter the average was 231.2. The national average growth is four points per year. The national average score for fall was 226 and national average score for Winter was 228. Boscobel’s seventh grade students showed a growth of 7.5 already at the mid-year.

“That is a significant increase,” board member Thomas Pelz said.

The eighth grade in the fall of 2014 had an average of 231.3 and the winter was 236.7. The national average again was four points per year. The national average for the fall was 230 and the winter was 232.

“So for our eighth graders we’re showing a growth of 5.4,” Lewis said. “So again our teachers are very pleased that their SLO’s are exceeding their expectations right now.”

21st Century Grant

The 21st Century Grant (CLC grant) is what makes the Bulldog Bash possible after school at the BMZ Church across from the elementary school. It was added to the agenda to discuss if the school district was going to cover the fuel cost to get three students home from the Bulldog Bash. The fuel cost for the remainder of the school year would be approximately $450. The transportation is provided for students who are interested in attending if transportation would be a barrier preventing them from being in attendance.

“Right now it has just been a few kids who have been going to Cozy Acres and Woodman,” board president Todd Miller said. “Everybody else has been able to make other arrangements.”

“It was my thought being that there was $7,000 or whatever it was dollars allocated toward transportation; it should be used for the fuel and the bus driver until it is gone. Then come to the board and ask us to pay for the rest,” board member Knoble said. “Their thought is that if we don’t use that, they can use that to hire another teacher, to start some other program.”

Operations Advisor Steve Wacker brought to the board’s attention that they have a school policy which prevents them from keeping a grant running if it runs out of funded money. Knoble’s plan would not be able to work, as they would not be able to come back to the board and ask for money after they run out of funds.

It was motioned by Miller that the school district would no longer contribute the fuel cost for the CLC Grant for the remainder of this school year.

Staff cell phones?

A surprising item was brought up under new business for the purchase of six cell phone devices for the following staff members: Allen Hines, Cherryl Knowles, Steve Wacker, Rick Walters, Steve Dilley, and Rodney Lewis. It was perceived, by the board’s reaction to the cost, that it was not a welcomed idea by all board members.

The price that was given to the board by Verizon representative Aaron Midthun was for six smartphones. The phones would be on a nationwide plan with unlimited calling/texting and 10 gigabytes of data for $79. Then it would cost $40 per phone line with an addition $9 per phone line for insurance coverage for a total monthly cost of $373. The phones would be eligible for upgrade every 10 months.

“I am looking at $4,476, so over 10 years were looking at $44,760,” board member Chuck Owens said. “It will go up from there. That is just a fact and people need to know that, $373 sounds like nothing, but when you take it over a 10 year it is more realistic to a taxpayer.”

There was no action taken on this matter by the board.

School calendar

The board was given two calendar options for the 2015-16 school year. The first calendar option showed school starting on Sept. 1 and ending on May 31 for the students, which equaled a total of 180 student contact days. The second calendar option showed school starting on Sept. 1 and ending on June 1, which equaled a total of 181 student contact days with one to be used for floating in-service. After reviewing the calendars, the board agreed to move forward with calendar option two.

Another new addition to the school calendar was early release times on every Wednesday at 2 p.m. for students. The students would lose one hour and 15 minutes of contact time with their teachers a week. It would equal out to a loss of 45 hours of lost contact time per year. Even with this lost time, there would still be 33 hours remaining for snow days, which equals about five days.

The reasoning for taking this time on every Wednesday is so that faculty members are able to use it for professional development. They will be able to work on items such as RTI and the PBIS program.

“With all of these things coming down from the state it will help us be able to get things implemented at our school,” Walters said.

With the first day of school falling on a Tuesday, that week students will not be receiving an early release on Wednesday. The early release days will start on Sept. 9.

Sunday events

At the regular board meeting in January, the board was asked by choir instructor Emily Blackbourn and athletic director Joey Martin, for the option of holding some events on Sunday evenings. It is not something that would happen all the time, just here and there if needed.

The board decided to make some wording changes to their policy number 203.09 that regarded Sunday/Wednesday evening events. Instead of the policy prohibiting any activities on Sundays, it now states “No events, activities, or scheduled practices can be held on Sunday’s before the noon hour.” It also states that a teacher or coach cannot punish students, who are unable to attend events, practices, or activities scheduled on Sundays.