Enrollment, project updates among variety of items addressed at ACSD regular board session

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) board of directors met for a special meeting Monday, October 5. The Board approved the hiring of Andrew Eberling as a 40 hour per week mechanic at the bus barn. The Board also approved the Annual Progress Report, Comprehensive School Improvement Plan and District Developed Service Delivery Plan, as well as the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Plan. Specifications for the digital phone system were approved and bids will be submitted by noon October 20, 2015. A consortium contract with Decorah Community School District was also approved for special education services.

The regular meeting of the ACSD Board of Directors was held Monday, October 19. Board members Scott Melcher and Patty Nordheim were absent. During the Superintendent’s report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold discussed the recent power outage that happened Monday, October 12. He commended staff members on how they handled the issue.
Herold also explained a handout given to board members regarding a change in how out-of-state tax credits will be handled, noting that this will affect the district beginning FY 2017. It could lead to a difference of $50,000 for the district, depending on how much tax is collected.
Herold also noted that the southern section of the roof on the new school addition is currently being held in place by boards, due to the roof not being fully adhered. “We paid for a fully adhered roof, and we’re getting a fully adhered roof,” Herold said. The district has contacted its attorneys regarding the matter, and the attorneys have sent letters to the contractor and others involved in the matter.
During the Principals' reports, all principals noted that parent/teacher conferences are coming up October 26-27. Waterville Elementary School Principal Julie Askelson noted that Waterville staff and students recently dealt with “two unexpected fire drills” as well as the recent power outage, and all handled the situations very well.
East and West Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith noted that Donuts for Dad is coming up November 6, and third grade classes recently walked to the Allamakee County Courthouse Museum in Waukon and took a tour. Middle School Principal Jennifer Garin stated that seventh graders will be heading to the Courage event for Youth Frontiers and eighth graders will be attending a performance of "Letters Home" at Luther College in Decorah in November. Girls basketball and wrestling seasons have also begun at the middle school level.
Waukon High School Activities Director and Assistant Principal Brian Hilsabeck stated that the ACSD has been awarded a 100-year plaque from the Iowa High School Association for participating in Iowa high school athletics for 100 years. He said this year 46 Iowa schools observed 100 years or more of participation. Postseason play will soon be underway for cross country, volleyball and football.
Waukon High School Principal Dr. Mike Hardy said the district will be looking into online classes for a graduation requirement. High school staff will be doing some research and then coming to the Board with a proposal.
During the buildings and grounds report, department head Bill Hennessy noted that due to the power outage their have been some problems with some of the equipment, and that there are things that are going to need repairs or to be replaced. The insurance company has been notified and board member Thomas Baxter asked if the insurance company or Alliant Energy is responsible for fixing those issues. The insurance company will contact Alliant and it will be worked out.
During the communications time, Superintendent Herold gave the official enrollment, noting that the district is down 3.28 students, but he said that number is better than it has been in past years. He also noted that last year, 56 students were enrolled out, and that number is down to 40 this year. He also noted that last year, 35 students were open-enrolled into ACSD, and this year that number is up to 37. “More students are coming in, and less are going out, that’s a good sign,” he said, adding that he felt the numbers are coming up due to the district’s special education program, the fact that they offer college classes and that ACSD is a 1:1 school district.
Andrew Blair addressed the Board in regard to the Food and Fitness Initiative. He is the district’s contact. Some of the activities have included the walking school bus, growing lettuce, spinach and tomatoes in the middle school garden for consumption by the students and staff, as well as an after school garden club. They are also doing a cross-age teaching activity, which involves students from the high school going to the elementary classes and teaching them about food, like locally grown vegetables.
Waukon High School junior Hunter Jensen gave a presentation to the board on the Construction class house. He gave a presentation showing various stages of the program and talked about what they are learning in the class.
Under old business, the Board approved the second reading of the following board policies: 102-Equal Educational Opportunity, 102.E1-Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination, 102.E2-Continuious Notice of Nondiscrimination, 102.E3-Notice of Section 504 Student and Parental Rights, 102.E4-Complaint Form, 102.E5-Witness Disclosure Form, 102.E6-Disposition of Complaint Form, 102.R1-Grievance Procedure, 104-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Policy, 104.E1-Complaint Form, 104.E2-Witness Disclosure Form, 104.E3-Disposition of Complaint Form, 104.R1-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Investigation Procedures, 410.2-Summer School Licensed Employees, 503.1-Student Conduct, 505.2-Student Promotion-Retention-Acceleration, 603.2-Summer School Instruction, 601.1-School Calendar, 604.1-Private Instruction and 604.7-Dual Enrollment.
In personnel matters, the Board approved staff for the 21st Century Afterschool Program. The resignations of Jody Regan from her associate position and Dolly Boland from her special needs associate position were accepted. Levi Tinderholt was approved as a special needs associate. John Papp was also approved as a volunteer boys basketball coach.
In other new business matters, the Board approved specifications for two new 65-passenger buses, with two of the older buses to be used for trade-in value. A quote from Daktronics for $15,561.00 was approved for a new sound system for the high school gym. The current sound system does not work well in that gym, and will then be used in the junior high gym. Herold noted that the ceiling in the junior high gym is lower and that they are in need of a sound system as the one that was there stopped working last year.
The Board approved the Superintendent’s Goals for 2015-2016. The first goal is to collaborate with the City of Waukon, Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and strategic partners on the sale of the construction house number 2 project in the West Side Development. The hope is to be able to get the house on the market earlier, possibly even before it is finished, to get it sold faster.
The second goal is to get a staff committee for an initiative involving Teacher Learning and Compensation (TLC) and Early Literacy. The TLC grant has been applied for and the district will need to develop roles, and if the grant is received then fill those roles. In dealing with the Early Literacy, the district needs to inform parents, students and the community that if guidelines for reading are not met by third grade, those students will have to attend summer school. In the event that they do not attend summer school or do not show improvement after attending summer school, the students will be retained. The third goal involves continuing to improve upon students meeting goals in math, science and reading.
The board committees were approved for the 2015-2016 years, as well as the School Wellness Policy members. Sunday football practices were approved as needed, for postseason play. The first reading of the following board policies were approved: 100-Legal Status of the School District, 101-Education Philosophy of the School District, 102.1-School District Instructional Organization, and 103-Long-Range Needs Assessment. The following board policies were deleted, as they are currently being addressed in other areas of the board policies: 103.1-Equal Education Opportunity, 104.1-The People and Their School District, 105.1-Education and Operational Planning and Needs Assessment.

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