ACSD Board discusses variety of matters as new school year is now fully underway

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Monday night, September 17. Under personnel matters, the board approved staff for the After School Program, Anne Wuebker was approved as the seventh grade girls basketball coach, Cortney Ryan was approved as a paraprofessional and Kirk Snitker was approved as a substitute bus driver.

Superintendent Jay Mathis and school nurse Karen Burke were appointed as Level I Investigators for Child Abuse Reporting. Local attorney Bill Shafer was appointed as the Level II Investigator for Child Abuse Reporting. ACSD Curriculum Director Gretchen DeVore was appointed as the Equity Coordinator, Waukon Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin was appointed as Title IX Officer and Truancy Officer, West and East Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith was appointed as the Section 504 Coordinator, Waukon High School Assistant Principal/Activities Director Brian Hilsabeck was appointed as Homeless Liaison, Amy Wasson was appointed as the Middle School and High School Guidance Counselor and Scott Iverson was appointed as the Elementary Guidance Counselor.

The following resignations were accepted by the board: Jerry Keenan from his varsity baseball head coaching position, Tharin Benson from his assistant varsity baseball coaching position and Shane Schellsmidt from his varsity softball head coaching position. Sunday gym usage requests for cheerleading, Waukon Park & Recreation fifth and sixth grade volleyball, and girls basketball were approved. Out of state field trips for the NICC Career Learning Link and for the first grade classes to attend a production of The Nutcracker at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI were also approved.

During the communications time of the meeting, Kelli Olson, Michele Pladsen and Traci Byrnes presented a video they made to help explain the TLC (Teacher Leadership Compensation) system. The short video explained how TLC supports teachers and helps them with effective learning strategies.

Superintendent Jay Mathis stated in his report that the start of the school year has been good. There are a few staff scheduling matters to work out for special needs and English language learners, but they are working on getting those taken care of. He also commented that he is impressed by the sportsmanship and behavior of the students during football and volleyball games. First day enrollment was down eight students from last year, but the certified count day is October 1.

During the principals’ reports, Waukon High School Principal Dr. Mike Hardy noted that October 5 is Homecoming, with the dance to follow the football game Friday night. The greeters at the high school have been well received. He noted that recent professional development focused on shaping a more positive culture and climate.

Hilsabeck gave an update on fall participation numbers for football, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading. The Pixellot cameras are up and running in the high school gym and at the high school football field and they had 91 viewers from the first two home football games. Profits from the viewer subscriptions will be split with the booster club.

Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin noted in her report that they are averaging 48 students per day for the before and after school program. Sixth grade students will take FAST reading assessments three times a year. There were school assemblies the first week of school to discuss expectations of the students. Some topics covered were bullying and proper technology use, among other things.

East and West Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith also reported that they had assemblies on student  expectations. Third grade students have had the bike safety course. Both East and West have transitioned from the 21st Century funded after school program to the At-Risk funded after school program. Griffith has also been in contact with Michele O’Neill and Trent Mitchell regarding a bench to be placed at East Elementary in memory of former teacher Joe O’Neill.

Curriculum Director Gretchen DeVore noted that they are working on reports and getting FAST reading assessments ready, as well as coming up with a plan and assessment for math, among other things. Her department is also working on professional development and organizing learning opportunities for teachers and the TLC team.

In the Buildings and Grounds report, department head Bill Hennessy noted that the fire sprinkler system has been repaired and is operational. Sweeney Builders will be repairing a leak in the roof near the auditorium entrance. Preventative maintenance will begin on the heating system. A representative from A&J Associates Mechanical and Electrical Consultants was contacted to give their opinion on the condition of the heating and cooling system at East Elementary and what they felt are viable options.

In the Technology report, director Shawn Gordon noted that they handed out 615 laptops to students in grades 6-12. They have entered their test window for State reporting with PowerSchool. They will begin putting together a committee to look at the next 1:1 devices.

In her Food Service report, director Julie Magner stated that numbers are comparable to other years. They are “getting the kinks” out of the new kitchen at East, but it seems more efficient. The Allamakee County Cattlemen will be grilling local beef October 5.

In his Transportation report, director Andrew Eberling noted that they had their first stop arm violation this year for school buses. That information was sent to the Iowa State Patrol.

Under old business, the board approved the Certified Annual Report, Special Education Supplement and Annual Transportation Report. The board approved the second reading of the following board policies: 406.1 - Licensed Employee Compensation, 406.2 - Licensed Employee Compensation Advancement, 406.3 - Licensed Employee Continued Education Credit, 406.4 - Licensed Employee Compensation for Extra Duty, 406.6 - Licensed Employee Tax Shelter Programs, 410.1 - Substitute Teachers, 412.4 - Classified Employee Tax Shelter Programs, 706.2 - Payroll Deductions, 604.4 - Instruction at a Post-Secondary Educational Institution, 105 - Assistance Animals, 606.3 - Animals in the Classroom, 705.1 - Purchasing-Bidding, 705.1R1 - Suspension and Debarment of Vendors and Contractors Procedure, 710.1 - School Nutrition Program, 213 - Public Participation in Board Meetings, 213R1 - General Complaints by Citizens, 213.1 - Public Complaints, 402.5 - Public Complaints about Employees.

Under new business, the board elected to keep Al Rissman as president and Patty Nordheim as vice president, after which they received their oath of office from board secretary/treasurer Jaime Curtin. The board also elected to keep the same schedule for its regular monthly meetings, the third Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the high school library. Jaime Curtin was appointed Board Secretary/Treasurer and Al Rissman administered her oath of office.

The depository banks were named as follows: Waukon State Bank, $13,000,000; Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, $5,000,000; and ISJIT/ISCAP $1,000,000. The official publication was named as The Standard newspaper.

In other matters, the board approved students for PICC and contracted classes. Board members were appointed to the following committees: Patty Nordheim and Tim Waters to School Improvement Advisory Committee; Patty Nordheim and Al Rissman to Negotiations; Scott Melcher to County Compensation; Tim Waters to Wellness Committee; Erik Helgerson and Al Rissman to Technology Committee; and Scott Melcher to Curriculum and Technical Advisory Committee. Tim Waters was appointed as the IASB Delegate.

The board then approved a bid from ULINE for plastic pallets in the amount of $7,635.35. The pallets will be used to lift up wrestling mats off the floor in the wrestling room in order to raise up the wrestling mats and alleviate moisture issues between the mats and the cement floor. Hilsabeck noted that they will also be able to use fans to circulate air under the mats as well. During practices, there will be additional padding that is put down around the raised mats.

The board then discussed an analysis for West Elementary and the Middle School similar to the analysis done at East and discussed at the board’s September 10 work session. The cost for each school assessment would be $8,000. Nordheim noted that she didn’t feel comfortable spending an additional $16,000 on more studies. After some discussion, the board members felt that they were not willing to pay for the additional analysis on West or the Middle School at this time. They also were not ready to make a commitment on an architect for the East project and asked that Mathis and Hennessy call Shive Hattery and ISG/Struxture to clarify any questions that the board comes up with and ask about some of the new options that have been recently presented.

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