Alva Review-Courier -

Climate, culture and state assessments


February 6, 2019

Marione Martin

Taylor Kline (left) and Aubrey Towns tell the Alva School Board about their class growth groups used to improve skills.

Lincoln Elementary School Principal Madison Williams brought a teacher and two students to the Alva Board of Education meeting Monday. Williams said she wanted to talk about climate and culture and how the school is preparing for state assessments.

To encourage positive behavior, teachers and staff are handing out "gotcha" tickets when they catch students doing something good. These tickets are then placed in the golden podium for a drawing. Cards are sent to parents letting them know about the positive behavior, and students earn points to spend in the Goldbug store.

Prizes in this program to enhance the climate and culture of the school have included lunch with the principal and a ride in the school resource officer police car with a tour of the police department.

Williams introduced teacher Sara Eckhardt who explained how MAPS testing is used to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of students in various subjects. Eckhardt said the testing really pinpoints what each student needs to work on. Her students are then divided into various growth groups to improve their understanding of weak areas. They may concentrate on math skills for a time, and then shuffle the groups to work on reading.

Fifth grade students Taylor Kline and Aubrey Towns described how they work in groups. As they work on topics, the groups participate in quizzes and activities such as a vocabulary game. Students might watch a lesson and then answer questions that earn them the chance to play a game.

In addition, students are learning how to use tools in computer software programs to prepare them for the state assessments which are moving to online testing.


All members of the school board were present. Superintendent Tim Argo covered consent agenda items, beginning with financials. He pointed out a few items that showed some increase from the previous year. One was professional development which was up just over $9,000. He explained the school brought in Laura Riffel to help teachers work on positive attitudes among students. Another category showing an increase was postage with schools sending more positive cards to students' homes.

Although no major fundraisers were turned in during the month, Argo expects that to change soon. Two unexpected fundraising activities occurred. The speech contest had to be moved to Alva High School due to a scheduling conflict. The AHS baseball teams stepped up to provide concessions for the event and raise some funds.

In child nutrition, Argo said year to date figures show a few more lunches and breakfasts served than last year. A state audit showed a few things the school needs to work on. As an example, Argo said one item was a serving of green beans measured one-quarter cup when it should have been three-quarters of a cup. "I can assure you Verleta (Eckels) has already taken action," Argo said of the problem areas.

In the general fund, Superintendent Argo said a payment to Timeclock Plus of $7,425 came about after the company found the school did not pay enough to cover all the employees using the time keeping software. Apparently the number was underestimated when the software was purchased.

Repairs were made to the bleachers on the south side of the gym. They were not retracting properly. Argo said they learned if bleachers were not brought all the way out before people sat on them, it could cause them not to retract properly.

Another payment of $1,840 to the University of Oregon Swift software was for computer software to be used to report on student behavior. When information is entered, Laura Riffel (who taught teachers during professional development) will be able to look at and help analyze the data to provide help to the school.

Superintendent's Report

Argo said the school has received two resignations from Britney Reynolds and Cynthia Leiter.

The superintendent provided a handout listing goals, objectives and initiatives for the Alva Public Schools. This list is the result of strategic planning meetings held over the past few months. That process is 90 percent complete with a final meeting to be held March 14. The final step is to lay out a timeline for completion of the goals.

Four goals are listed with two or three objectives for each. Initiatives describe how these objectives can be implements.

• Goal: Curriculum and Instruction

Objective 1: Master of core content. Initiative: Research-based instructional strategies

Objective 2: Increase awareness of career pathways. Initiative: Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP)

• Goal: Culture and Community

Objective 1: Improve involvement and satisfaction. Initiative: Parent and community communication.

Objective 2: Improve student behavior. Initiative: Behavior improvement plan

Objective 3: Develop quality programs. Initiative: Enrichment program, parent/student recognition program; after-school program

• Goal: Personnel

Objective 1: Recruit and retain quality staff. Initiative: recruitment plan; retention plan

Objective: 2: Develop quality staff in all areas. Initiative: Professional Learning Communities; professional development plan

• Goal: Resources

Objective 1: Improve facilities. Initiative: capital improvement plan; demographics study

Objective 2: Align school finances to strategic plan. Initiative: budget alignment

Information on the strategic plan, goals and objectives may be found on the Alva school website.

In his legislative report, Argo said the state legislature has filed over 2,000 bills. These will require study and should be followed closely. He encouraged board members to stay in touch with legislators and promised more information in the March meeting.

Other Business

During spring break, the Electric Gold Show Choir usually travels to an out of state location. This year they want to go to Branson, Missouri., from March 20 through March 24. That travel request was approved.

The board also approved out of state travel for the Longfellow second grade students and teachers to go to the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, on April 26. Argo said this is the second year for this trip.

The board voted to go into executive session to discuss the evaluation and employment of Tim Argo. After return to open session, they approved the terms of the superintendent's contract.


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