ACSD Board hires new Building and Grounds Director, approves administrative assistant personnel changes

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee  Community School   District (ACSD) Board of Directors met Monday evening, October 20 for its regular monthly meeting. During the secretary’s report, Board Secretary Janice Rea noted that the district has completed its audit, and the auditors suggested a few changes in procedure. She also stated that the final results of the audit would be available sometime in February.
During the Superintendent’s report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold talked to the Board a little bit about Northeast Iowa Community College and the educational opportunities that high school students have when taking college credit courses through the Waukon  High School. Herold estimated that students and their parents have been able to save $412,000 in college tuition, due to the fact that students can take college credit courses, and the district pays for them. An average of 51% of students in grades 9-12 at the Waukon High   School are taking college credit courses, and 26% of last year’s senior class is currently attending NICC.
During the principals’ reports, East and West Elementary Principal Ann Hart noted that the end of the quarter was last Friday, and that attendance at each of the three elementary schools is 97.5% or higher. “That’s an important number, because NCLB (No Child Left Behind) requires an attendance rate of 96% or better,” Hart said.
Waukon Junior High and Waterville Elementary Principal Joe Griffith presented the Board with information on the income brought in by charging for junior high events, compared to the expenses. Currently, income from events was $1,600, with the expenses ending up at $1,900. Griffith noted that the difference is made up with concession stand sales, as well as various fundraisers the students do throughout the year.
Jennifer Garin, Waukon High School Assistant Principal and Activities Director, noted that the fall sports seasons are winding down. The football team will have its last home game this Friday. The cross country runners are going to be participating in a meet Thursday for the opportunity to make it to the State meet. Volleyball will be hosting its first regional post-season game in Waukon Monday, October 27. The fall musical, “Anything Goes,” will be held November 6-8 at 7:30 p.m.
Waukon High School Principal Dan Diercks updated the Board on activities going on at the high school as well. The vocational/career technology advisory group had its first meeting of many this school year. The FFA farm plot is ready for harvesting, and FFA students will be getting ready for their trip to the National FFA Convention as well. The construction class house project in the West Side Development is progressing along, with the interior and exterior framing done, and work will begin on the garage soon. Diercks also touched on the NICC classes as well, noting “there is a lot in progress, and next year there will be some changes.” The FBLA will be hosting a haunted house event October 31 and November 1 at the Waukon  Reception Center. Parent/teacher conferences will be Monday and Tuesday next week.
Gretchen DeVore, curriculum director, informed the Board that the district will be presenting its SINA (School in Need of Assistance) report to Keystone AEA, as well as sharing with other districts there. She noted that the report will be a very positive one, as the staff’s work to correct the SINA designation has been fruitful, with the district receiving a delayed status. There will also be some professional development training coming up for staff.
Guidance counselor Amy Wasson presented a report of building program, course enrollment data and NICC credits to the Board covering enrollment in the high school. Her information also compared the number of male students and female students in the classes. Her findings showed that there are certain areas that might have more males students than female students, or vice versa, but in general, the findings show that female students in the ACSD do participate in good numbers in math and science classes and that there are 201 female students enrolled in grades 9-12 and 180 males students. Also, this fall, there are 1,224 college credits being taken by high school students, which is the most in the past five years.
Board Secretary Rea then gave a report on the final enrollment. Ultimately, enrollment is down 38.44 students in the entire district, and Rea noted that the district was projecting that when it compared the number in the senior class that graduated with the number of students in the incoming kindergarten class.
Under new business, the board approved 21stCentury After School Program personnel. Bill Hennessy was hired as Building and Grounds Director, and was also appointed as the Designated Asbestos Contact for ACSD. Brooke Hudson Welch was approved as a volunteer girls’ basketball coach. Resignations were accepted from Bernice Fischels and Rachel Burrichter from their Waterville Elementary paraprofessional positions, and Pam Kruger from her food service secretary position. Herold noted that Kruger has been working for the district for the past 16 years, in various positions. “We wish her well,” Herold said.
The Board also approved transferring Jessica Keenan from her high school secretary position to the position of food service secretary. Herold said that Keenan already has some experience with some of the programs a food secretary would need to know. “It should be a seamless move, and we are lucky to have someone like Jess to take that position,” Herold said.
In other new business matters, the Board approved four students for early graduation, pending meeting all requirements. The Board also approved a student to take a contracted CNA class. The Board approved the purchase of risers for the music department, to be funded by the Music Boosters. Sunday vocal performances for the music department, both vocal and band, for the 2014-2015 school year were also approved.
The Board approved the Professional Services Agreement with Shive Hattery for the kitchen air conditioning project. A bid from Waukon Feed Ranch for LP gas tanks and the fuel in the tanks was approved. The fuel will be measured as it is removed, but Herold noted that the district has an idea of the amount in the tanks. Specifications for two 65 passenger buses were approved.
Herold gave a presentation, which was later approved, on the Superintendent Goals for 2014-2015. The goals included developing a long-term partnership with the City of Waukon, Waukon Economic Development Corporation and strategic partners on the West Side Development project, in which construction classes will be building five homes over the next five years. Herold said the district would be looking for grants or loans to be able to pay the City in advance for the lots and then the City can get the infrastructure in place right away. Currently, most of the parties involved in the projects, including lot owners, have waited until the project is completed and sold before being paid for their services, materials and the lot. Herold said they also would like to develop and expanding programming on the project and possibly work out some classes with NICC as well.
The second Superintendent goal is to foster student growth in the district. Herold cited the Olweus anti-bullying program, Iowa Youth Survey, after school programming and Youth Frontiers retreats as tools the district is using to work towards this goal.
The final goal is to increase the percentage of students meeting target goals in math, science and reading proficiency, as well as improving individual test scores. Staff monitors this through data analysis, and a grant for Teacher and Leadership Compensation is  being written for next year, in which the district  could potentially get anywhere from $300,000 to $350,000. Herold also noted that sustainability would be an issue that would have to be addressed for funding future programs and staff.
Board committees for 2014-2015 were approved, as were members for the School Wellness Policy. The Board also approved the purchase of a new vehicle for snow plowing at Waterville. Transportation Director Randy Nordheim noted that the vehicle would also be used to transport food or other items at the school, and to haul brush or waste from outdoor projects.
Prior to adjournment, Board President Al Rissman noted that in November the Board will begin its winter meeting schedule, with meetings beginning at 5:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.