ACSD Board of Directors hears updates as school year gets into full swing; No discussion of masks

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD)Board of Education met for its regular monthly meeting Monday night, September 20. Under the consent agenda, the following personnel matters were approved: After School Program staff; Carrie Etten as East Elementary paraprofessional; Heather Lange as Kindergarten PLC Leader; Laurel Keenan as high school business teacher and FBLA co-advisor; Jack Regan as volunteer wrestling coach; Jackie Johnson as West Elementary paraprofessional and Kerry Wacker as Elementary Student Support Services PLC Leader. Jasmine Snitker’s resignation as assistant varsity softball coach was accepted.

The following Sunday requests and field trips were approved: sixth grade boys’ basketball; National FFA Convention; All-State Music Honor Choir; Middle School After School Program trip to the Minnesota Zoo; and Cheer competitions. Three open enrollments into the district were approved. The Morningside University Student Teacher Agreement and NICC Work Based Learning Agreement were both approved. The board also approved Edgenuity renewal.

During the Communications time of the meeting, Cassie Williams gave a presentation to the board regarding what she does with the TAG/AALP programs. She explained how she divides her time between the schools and the grades and some of the projects that they work on at each level.

ACSD Curriculum Director Eliza Philpott gave a presentation on the district’s ISASP scores. The testing is done from grades 3-11 and Philpott went through the information on each grade. In most areas of each grade students in ACSD are proficient, but there were some areas that were below the state average. Philpott also noted how the data is passed on to teachers and how they can use it to find ways to help students achieve proficiency and to keep making improvements.

ACSD Superintendent Jay Mathis reported that the Iowa Department of Education has announced ESSER III Funds which ACSD will be using for staff training and implementation. Mathis also noted they will be looking into facility upgrades. He also thanked Board Secretary Jaime Curtin for her work on the Certified Annual Report. While the official “count day” is October 1, Mathis reported that enrollment is up four students from last year. He also noted that Homecoming week was successful with a lot of activities for students and staff. The Allamakee County Cattlemen grilled hamburgers for staff and students Friday. Mathis also thanked the custodial staff for their work on getting the field ready for the game.

Waukon High School Principal Jennifer Garin reported on the most recent professional development day. Garin noted that they have had a good start to the school year. She also thanked the Student Council for its hard work during Homecoming week and she thanked Toni Pearson for the extra help as well.

Garin noted that with the new homeroom schedule that has been implemented, there is more time for PLC and student interventions. They had their first grade check, and it seems that the interventions are helping to improve grades.

Waukon High School Activities Director/Assistant Principal Brian Hilsabeck noted that the Waukon cross country home meet will be Tuesday, September 21. He also said that Homecoming week went well, and it was nice to see the number of alumni who were present for the pep rally. The varsity volleyball team placed second out of 12 teams at its home tournament Saturday.

Waukon Middle School Principal Luke Steege noted that they held their first dance of the year Friday for Homecoming. There were over 160 students in attendance. He thanked Ben Rausch for the music and dancing, as well as the custodial staff for getting the gym cleaned up and ready for the volleyball tournament Saturday.

Elementary Principal Samantha Thornton thanked everyone who helped with and visited the schools for the open house night. She also thanked the PSST parent group for the motivational sayings they put up in the school. Thornton also noted that they are working on academics and social and emotional lessons.

Curriculum Director Eliza Philpott noted that Social Emotional Learning is a focus of the professional development this year. The new math curriculum is in “full swing.” FAST testing is complete at the elementary schools.

Buildings and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy noted that they are getting the boilers ready for the winter months, as well as gearing up for snow removal. They also have asbestos training coming up.

Technology Director Andy Reichard noted that there has been a snag in the ERATE Category 2 funded project, and the mounting hardware for the access points is incorrect. Reichard said he would be contacting the company to find out what the turnaround time is to get this corrected. Distribution of students laptops went smoothly this year.

Foodservice Director Jessica Keenan noted that they have had a great start to the year, and she thanked her staff for helping her learn her new position. A new stove and dishwasher were installed just prior to the school year at the high school, and they are hoping the new stove at the middle school would be sometime in September. She thanked the Cattlemen for grilling burgers and thanked Teresa Weimerslage and the Iowa Food Hub for coordinating so the district could purchase local beef to serve. There have been some issues with supply chains and some items are out of stock, but Keenan noted ACSD is fortunate to have a large freezer and storage space so she can stock up on items as they return.

Transportation Director Andrew Eberling reported that bus inspections will be September 21. All buses have completed evacuation drills. At the end of September, they visit East, West and St. Patrick School and go through the drills with all students.

Under old business, the board approved the Certified Annual Report, Special Education Supplement and Annual Transportation Report. Under new business, the board approved students in PICC and Contracted Classes. This year, again, many students took advantage of the many class offerings available to them.

The board also approved an SBRC request to address the Special Education Deficit of $141,811.02. The board approved a bid from Doors Inc. to replace locksets in the amount of $17,680. The new locksets will allow for better security of classrooms if there would ever be an intruder in the school.

The board also approved an LP filling station at the bus barn at a cost of $38,050. Eberling noted that by having their own filling station, the district could have the flexibility to purchase LP from wherever it wants and would be eligible for tax credits. It would also make things easier to be able to fill at the bus barn whenever they want as opposed to depending on having a truck come to fill the LP buses.