Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 2008

District scores well with state tests

September 10, 2008

Students in the Tonganoxie School District are passing state assessment standards with flying colors, according to recent statistics.

Tonganoxie Elementary School principal Tammie George told the school board at Monday's meeting that students exceeded nearly all state standards for 2008 in math and reading.

George also compared scores for classes in fourth through eighth grade in 2007 and 2008.

In all categories but one, the assessment performances improved in 2008 from 2007. In seventh grade, the percentage dropped from 72 in 2007 to 70 in 2008. That means students scored at 72 percent as sixth-graders and 70.5 as seventh-graders.

"It's still a little bit low," George said.

Overall, though, there was noticeable improvement in the district as, across the board, the percentage of students on academic warning went down and the percentage of students approaching the standard went up.

George expects the school to have standard of excellence recognition in many categories for math and reading. She also is looking forward to results from social studies and science testing. Numbers for those subjects have not been released yet.

Some day, artificial turf could be installed at Beatty Field.

That was one energy saving possibility discussed at Monday's school board meeting.

Joe Hurla, who works for TAC, spoke to the board, at the request of Superintendent Richard Erickson.

Hurla's company looks at ways to conserve energy within schools and then use the money saved through efficiency toward building improvement projects.

For instance, if heating and cooling issues at Tonganoxie Middle School - where malfunctions are keeping the school warm or cold at times when it is not needed - are rectified, that would be one area of savings.

Although Hurla works for TAC, the district would put the contract up for bid .

"I want everyone to have a fair and equal opportunity to help 464 in energy-saving strategies and also improve our energy equipment," Erickson said.

Monday's discussion was for approval of the state Facility Conservation Improvement Program for securing an energy services company, which the board approved, 6-1. Mildred McMillon cast the dissenting vote.

Hurla told the board lease-purchase agreements normally are used for energy services. For example, he said a possible cost would be $95,000 a year for 10 years. McMillon voiced concern about whether the expected savings in energy services wouldn't match what is actually realized. Hurla said, in his company's case, a check is written back to the school for the balance.

New laptops coming

The district will be purchasing up to $30,000 worth of laptop computers for the high school, the board approved.

Originally, technology director David Milhon was requesting new laptops for a mobile lab at the middle school. However, it was determined the high school was in more dire need for the computers, and that older laptops in the district could be moved to the middle school and be sufficient for the time being.

The switch raised questions for board member Darlyn Hansen.

"If these are dogs now and we're bringing the dog over here, how long can you expect it to last if it's a dog?" Hansen asked.

Assistant superintendent Kyle Hayden said the district is in a 5-year rotation of computers, but needs a more frequent rotation.

"Right now, it's a drop in the bucket of what really needs to happen," Hayden.

And, TES principal Tammie George noted laptops were originally earmarked to address high school needs, but laptops instead were purchased for teachers.

"Before the proposal to get new laptops for teachers, they were in line at the high school," she explained. "This need at the high school has been there for some time. That's not saying anything about he middle school.

"They have needs. We have needs. But this need has been there. But it was delayed."

Part-time teaching position, credit cards approved

A part-time teacher to cover physical education, music and art at Tonganoxie Elementary School unanimously was approved.

The inception of all-day kindergarten has brought additional workload for teachers in those areas.

Also, the board approved obtaining credit cards for the school district through First State Bank and Trust. The credit cards were approved primarily because, when trying to reserve rooms in motels for student activities and other events, employees needed to use their own credit cards to reserve rooms.

Hires, resignations approved after executive session

The board met for a total of 90 minutes to discuss personnel. After coming out of executive session the board accepted the resignations of: Charliene Stauch, TES cook; Werner Anderson, TMS eighth-grade language instructor and TMS student council sponsor; and R.J. Dake, eighth-grad technology instructor. Dake's resignation is pending a suitable replacement.

Hirings approved were: David Clayton, transportation director; Darla Parker and Phyllis Wright, custodians; and Sherry Miller, and Donna Wilson, food service, contingent upon meeting employment guidelines.

Supplemental contracts were provided for Brad Kempf and Heidi Menssen, freshman class sponsors; Ann Contor, prom sponsor; and Amy Johnson, art club, supplemental contract.

Meeting scheduled same night as TES space-needs meeting

The board approved a special meeting from 5-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29 to discuss three items:

¢ Board goals for 2008-11.

¢ Board policy review process for 2008-09.

¢ Capital outlay resolution.

The items originally were on Monday's agenda, but the board moved to postpone them because of how late the meeting was running Monday.

At 7 p.m. the same day, a meeting will be held to identify facility and space needs for the elementary school. An open-ended committee will be formed.

"We encourage as many patrons who want to be involved in that particular committee process to attend," Erickson said Tuesday.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be at the TMS library.

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