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Alva School Board hears reports of programs and activities


October 3, 2018

Alva principals and teachers gave some enthusiastic reports on training, educational programs and student activities at the Alva Board of Education meeting Monday.

Washington School Principal Shane Feely talked about an all-day training session on Sept. 12 for math and science at Northwest Technology. He said they discussed strategies for engaging students and how to assess what students are actually learning, not just what they are being taught.

Stephanie Marteney, principal of the middle school, said about 20 sixth graders applied for and are involved in the Biz Kid program. Provided by local electrical cooperatives, the program helps develop teamwork, creativity, business knowledge and economics skills. The students considered several options and seem to be focusing on making soap to distribute to students.

Alva High School Principal Les Potter chose to talk about some student organizations that don’t receive a lot of publicity. He said the Key Club, a service group, sponsored by Mrs. Simon plans 30 different projects in the community for which they will earn service points. They have already taken nursing home residents to tour the county fair, served at the Arts Alliance event, assisted at Beadles Nursing Home luau, and plan to participate in the Walk to School event on Wednesday.

The academic team recently participated in a contest involving all sizes of schools. They placed sixth overall and earned first place in the small schools division. Potter said Mrs. Parsons is doing a good job with the students who are now qualified for the national tournament in the spring.

Last weekend, the speech department took their play to the one-act festival at Deer Creek. Two students were named to the all-star cast and the musicians, dubbed the Gravediggers, where cited as outstanding tech crew. The play, titled “Digging up the Boys,” is about 1930s coal miners trapped below ground and the women trying to rescue them. The play will be presented for the public on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at Alva High School with a performance for students at 11 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Four teachers from Longfellow Elementary told about a new reading enrichment program for third grade students. Every school day at 9:15 a.m. the students are divided into six different group levels focusing on their abilities. Those with the most reading difficulties focus on basic skills while the upper levels are reading chapter books and making posters about them. The groups also work on spelling words geared to their levels. The teachers said it gives children at all reading levels the chance to succeed, and the students really look forward to these sessions.

Dawn Hill, Title I teacher from Lincoln, said she is using the MAPS results to set goals for each individual child. She said being able to track student growth really helps the teachers take ownership. “It’s a great tool for us,” she told the board. She said students were introduced to actual dictionaries in book form instead of looking everything up on the internet. Students have also been learning that a thesaurus is not related to dinosaurs.

Board members present for the meeting were Jane McDermott, Larry Parker, Shane Hansen and Karen Koehn. Superintendent Tim Argo went over the financial information saying the gross production revenue is $29,000 above what it was last year at this time.

Argo announced two resignations, a paraprofessional at Lincoln is moving to Texas, and head custodian Clint Harzman has taken other employment.

The board approved using hours rather than days for this year’s school calendar. Argo said there was some question about counting half days so they will change to dismissing at 2 p.m. for in-service training.

A revised extra duty assignment list was approved adding a coach and assistant for slow pitch softball. Clint Harzman was removed as the asbestos coordinator due to his resignation.

Marteney reported the gifted and talented committee met and agreed to work throughout the year to make some changes. They want to work on enrichment, not just for those considered gifted. They also want to make some changes in the referral system to help more students qualify. Instead of relying so much on test scores, they will consider teacher referrals and do individual testing of students.

Board members approved renewing the lease of a 13 passenger bus for the school year. Argo said this is the last year for that lease, and it has worked out well. He said for next year they should consider leasing a bus with more capacity but smaller than a full size school bus.

The Estimate of Needs for the 2018-2019 school year was approved. Carroll and Associates prepared the report. Argo said it is based on 90 percent of last year’s revenue. He said, “All our funds are in very good shape.”

Several board policies were approved. One change was wording on reporting possible child abuse, changing “prompt” to “immediate” reporting. Another involved the sunscreen policy. The new policy will allow school employees to administer sunscreen as long as it is in spray form.

The board agreed to set up activity funds for the academic team and the high school science club. They also approved expenditures from those funds.

Abbie Williams was hired as a paraprofessional at Lincoln School to fill that vacancy.

A trip to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis Oct. 23-27 for six students and four adults was approved. Alva grad Ridge Hughbanks is running for national president so local students will be able to offer their support. Two students have qualified for nationals, and the other officers will be attending also.

After examining school finances, Supt. Argo determined the district could offer a professional development stipend to faculty and staff who have completed mandated professional development by Nov. 16. Argo said, “The board has been very generous, and I know it is appreciated.” The board approved a $2,000 stipend for those who qualify.

With no new business, the board adjourned and worked at signing documents approved.


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