ACSD Board of Directors addresses variety of issues at regular meeting

by Brianne Eilers


The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met Monday evening, November 17. During the Superintendent’s report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold updated the Board on the house construction project in the West Side Development near the Waukon Wellness Center. He noted that bids for the street came in higher than anticipated, so the entities involved will be looking at ways to fund the project, including grants and loans. Herold also noted that the house has been shingled and construction continues to move forward.

During the Principals’ Reports, East and West Elementary Principal Ann Hart noted that the fifth graders had a New Frontiers retreat focusing on Kindness. East Elementary will be doing a food drive for Thanksgiving. Waterville Elementary/Waukon Junior High Principal Joe Griffith said that seventh graders had their New Frontiers retreat focusing on Courage. He also discussed and demonstrated how the seventh and eighth grade classes will be using robots, and that the high school students had helped with the project as well. The robots will give students a chance to try their hand at basic computer coding and can be programmed to draw squares and figure eights, and students will also be challenged to try and make the robots write names.

Waukon High School Assistant Principal and Activities Director Jennifer Garin noted that winter sports were beginning, with the girls basketball team having its first game this Friday. Students in 10th grade attended a New Frontiers retreat on Respect. Waukon High School Principal Dan Diercks noted that high school students not only attended the retreats, but were also mentors to some of the other grades at their retreats. Diercks also presented the board members with statistics from high school parent/teacher conferences, noting that at the high school level, attendance is about 44%, but that many parents do communicate via email with instructors.

On the technology front, Technology Director Shawn Gordon noted that his department has met with 176 students to help with laptop issues. He said he also met with vendors regarding new machines for the 1:1 Initiative, and had examples on hand for board members and staff to look at. Food Service Director Julie Magner noted that the school district purchased locally-raised turkey for its Thanksgiving meal, as well as locally-grown butternut squash and herbs harvested from the high school green house.

Barb Winters-Kelly gave an update to the Board on after school programming, including presenting each of the board members with a picture book. “We had a successful review,” Winters-Kelly noted. Last year, the after school programming served over 1,000 students, and this year has served over 900. Winters-Kelly noted that they have seen math and reading improvement in students. She also noted that they are currently the only high school in the state with after school programming like this, and model their study groups after college study groups. Winters-Kelly thanked the Board for its continued support.

In personnel matters, the Board approved the hiring of 21st Century After School Programming staff and also approved hiring Erin Plein as a high school secretary. The Board accepted the resignation of Dave Schoberlein from his position of assistant high school football coach, and hired Mark Schmadeke as assistant high school football coach for the 2015-2016 season. Leah Benzing was approved as a volunteer wrestling cheerleader sponsor. Ron Leas’ resignation from his position as bus driver was accepted, and Kenny Lough was hired as a bus driver. The Board accepted the resignation of Kelly Delaney from her position as junior high assistant play director, and approved to change Gail Hilleshiem from one-half to full junior high play director. Hank Sass was approved as a substitute bus driver. The Board also accepted the resignation of Kathy Wood from her eighth grade assistant volleyball coaching position.

In other matters, the Board approved the C-Plan, which includes CSIP Assurances, SINA Assurances, Annual Progress Report and DDSDP Special Education Assurances. The Board also approved a trip to Des Moines for eighth grade students to visit the State Capitol, as well as the Iowa  Historical Museum and Science Center of Iowa, scheduled for March of 2015. The Board accepted a bid from School Bus Sales for $88,876 for two 65-passenger Bluebird buses. Transportation Director Randy Nordheim noted that this wasn’t the lowest bid, but he felt that at this time, it would be beneficial to the district to go with this company, as the bus barn staff members are familiar with these buses, keep some parts on hand, and also will not be required to have to travel further than Waterloo to get parts, in necessary.

Bids were also accepted from Johnson Controls for a smoke detector smart system, in the amount of $15,220, and from Ken Kerr Electric for electrical work related to that project, in the amount of $4,220. The installation of this system upgrades what is used in the “old” high school. The Board then approved issuance of bid documents for the main kitchen air conditioning unit project and also approved the LEP Application and SBRC Open Enrollment Application.

An out-of-state trip for high school band and vocal students to see an afternoon production of “Mary Poppins” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater April 1 was approved. Sunday practice for boys basketball was approved for February 22, 2015, which is right before the team's first postseason tournament game. A recommendation to approve RACOM installation of a new antenna, not to exceed $8,430, for transportation was also approved. The meeting was then adjourned and the board members went into a work session to review revenues and expenditures of the line item budget as a working document, technology needs, allowable growth and budget guarantee projections.

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