ACSD Board of Directors approves agreement with NICC for welding equipment

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District’s (ACSD) board of directors met Monday evening, December 17 for its regular monthly meeting. Under the consent agenda in personnel matters, staff for after school programming was approved, as was Gary Egan for a substitute/activity bus driver. The board also approved the Mediacom Contract Renewal and the annual eighth grade trip to Des Moines, where students will be able to visit the State Capitol, John Deere Des Moines Works and either the Iowa Hall of Pride or Terrace Hill.

Teacher Tess Hawes gave a presentation on the use of Google Interactive Stories in the Middle School curriculum. She explained that the students work in groups of two or three on stories known as “if-then” stories. Students are given options as to how they want the story to go, and they incorporate problem solving and literacy in the activity. She said that the students seem to really enjoy them, and that the stories are free. There are several different subject areas for all ages.

In his Superintendent’s Report, ACSD Superintendent Jay Mathis noted that there are lots of music concerts going on at the schools this time of year. He also noted that he has begun moving items out of the Master Contract and into the Employee Handbook in preparation for teacher negotiations. The heating systems have been working well so far this fall at all the centers. Mathis said a design team is working on East Elementary and Alliant will be working on rebates for the East and West Elementary upgrades.

Mathis advised that a sound system expert will be presenting an evaluation and recommendations for upgrades in the auditorium, and Dr. Richard Hermeier wants to help with funding for that. This expert has worked on Kinnick Stadium and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, as well as the auditorium in the South Hardin School District. ACSD continues to research solar energy and is working with Perry Novak Electric on the project.

In his principal’s report, Waukon High School Principal Dr. Mike Hardy noted that semester tests are scheduled for the 19, 20 and 21 of December. The student-built house is progressing, and is temporarily enclosed.

Waukon High School Activities Director/Assistant Principal Brian Hilsabeck noted in his report that they are getting quotes for the exploration of resurfacing the high school track. He also noted winter activity participation numbers. Hilsabeck stated that he felt the gym dedication December 7 went “very well and the family was very appreciative of all the work” put into the project by those involved.

Waukon Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin noted that they averaged about 70 students for the middle school before/after school program in November. She also noted that the Iowa Assessments are now called the Iowa State Assessment of Student Progress and will be offered online March 4 to May 31. Winter FAST reading assessments will be given to sixth graders at the end of January and the FAST math assessments sometime in January or February. Garin noted that six seventh and eighth grade students attended a Leadership Conference at Upper Iowa University and middle school students assisted the TLC and West Elementary teachers during the Hour of Code Day. First semester rewards will be celebrated January 4.

East and West Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith noted that they had good turn-out for their concerts. Students in second grade will be caroling at Good Samaritan Society later this week, and Griffith noted that he hopes to expand on that. He also mentioned the Iowa State Assessment of Student Progress and noted that West Elementary students will not use this test but will continue to be assessed with the FAST Assessments. Students in third, fourth and fifth grades will be going to Jewels in Decorah to skate later this week.

In other departments, Curriculum Director Gretchen DeVore noted they continue to work on reports, assessments and professional development. She also noted that the district recently received its results from the benchmark report and said that ACSD met all benchmarks.

In the Buildings and Grounds Report, Director Bill Hennessy noted that he is working with engineers on the upcoming projects at East. He also noted some issues with pumps on the heating system. The high school gym floor will be waxed over Christmas break. Hennessy also noted that he is still waiting to hear what all the companies will agree to regarding the damage in the kitchen at East. The insurance adjuster is still working on scheduling a time and date to visit the kitchen. Hennessy also noted that the district’s skid loader has close to 600 hours on it, and the district may want to start thinking about having a plan in place should it need replacement.

In the Technology Report, Director Shawn Gordon noted that the 1:1 refresh timeline is established, with the first meeting in January. There has also been a tech committee established, and he has been working on a software list for the next school year. Gordon also reminds district patrons that the school alerts notification system is available through GovDelivery. Anyone can sign up on the school district website for alerts under the “SCHOOL ALERTS SIGNUP” option.

Food Service Director Julie Magner noted that there have been a few extra duties with sack lunches for field trips and cookies, but they are winding down and getting ready for the Christmas break. Transportation Director Andrew Eberling mentioned Gary Egan applying as a substitute driver and also noted that there is a new family being picked up and the driver’s salary will need to be adjusted for that route.

Under New Business, the board heard a request to hire another full-time employee to be half-time special education and half-time Title I teacher. Principal Griffith noted that they are seeing more students identified as special education at West, due to the FAST assessments. He noted that this is a trend happening throughout the state of Iowa. The proposal is a reactionary action with the special education part and a preventative action by increasing Title I services. Griffith noted that a concern would be the quality of applicants at this time of the school year, but noted that there was a student teacher who just left the district that would have one of the two required endorsements and could also obtain a conditional license. These types of candidates would be able to fill the requirement. The board approved the district posting and advertising for this position.

The board then approved an SBRC request for modified supplemental amount for At-Risk/Dropout prevention in the amount of $263,806. The board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding between ACSD and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) for welding equipment. NICC students and WHS students will use the welding lab and equipment located at the high school. NICC will also be providing $50,000 towards the purchase of welding equipment. The lab would also offer classes in the evenings to adults and students. ACSD received a STEM grant to pay for some of the welding equipment, and Superintendent Mathis noted that they will be applying for an Allamakee County Community Endowment Grant as well.

The board also approved the Edgenuity Agreement. This is an online curriculum that can be used for credit recovery, alternative school and in the case of any home-bound student. This would be paid for through the At-Risk funding.

The final item before adjournment was to review the first reading of the following board policies: 401.7-Employee Travel, 712-Technology and Data Security, 712R1-Security Requirements of Third-Party Vendors Regulation, 804.2-District Emergency Operations Plan, 804.3-Bomb Threats, 502.3-Student Expression, 505.1-Student Progress Reports and Conferences, 505.2-Student Promotion-Retention-Acceleration, 505.5-Graduation Requirements, 602.1-Curriculum Development, 604.6-Instruction at a Post-Secondary Educational Institution, 604.10-Online Courses, 704.3-Investments, 705.1-Purchasing-Bidding, 710.2-Free or Reduced Price Meals Eligibility, 710.4-Meal Charges, 302.2-Superintendent Contract and Contract Nonrenewal, 400-Role of Guiding Principles for Employees, 401.4-Employee Complaints, 403.1-Employee Physical Examinations, 405.2-Licensed Employee Qualifications, Recruitment, Selection, 405.5-Licensed Employee Work Day, 405.6-Licensed Employee Assignment, 405.7-Licensed Employee Transfers, 405.8-Licensed Employee Evaluation, 406.5-Licensed Employee Group Benefits, 407.5-Licensed Employee Reduction in Force, 408.1-Licensed Employee Professional Development, 409.1-Licensed Employee Vacation, Holidays, Personal Leave, 409.2-Licensed Employee Personal Illness Leave, 409.3-Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave, 409.4-Licensed Employee Bereavement Leave, 409.8-Licensed Employee Unpaid Leave, 411.1-Classified Employee Denied, 411.4-Classified Employee Licensing/Certification, 414.1-Classified Employee Vacations, Holidays, Personal Leave, 706.1-Payroll Periods.

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