Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baragary asks for board members to share goals

November 10, 2010

Tonganoxie School Board member Kathy Baragary would like to see the board revisit discussion of goals it has for the district.

Baragary brought up the suggestion during debriefing, to which Superintendent Kyle Hayden said revisiting the board’s mission statement could be a starting point for discussion.

Earlier in the meeting, Baragary reported on the Kansas Association of School Boards Listening Tour she attended Oct. 19 in Kansas City, Kan.

Those in attendance broke into groups and discussed various topics. Included in Baragary’s group were educators, a PTA president and state board member Janet Waugh, among others.

Some of the topics and opinions discussed:

• Improving the science curriculum in Kansas.

• Preparing students for whatever they choose, whether it be college or a trade career.

• All-day kindergarten is important and educators shouldn’t teach to the test. Baragary said, “Nobody in the whole room liked it, No Child Left Behind.”

• Some districts have tax credits for community involvement.

• Tenure. She said tenure after three years “was a sore spot” with many in attendance.

Baragary said Tonganoxie was one of only two districts represented at the event that didn’t offer a community event thanking local businesses and advertising what the district does, such as a breakfast or a lunch. Baragary noted individual groups, such as FFA, have an appreciation breakfast and she said Team Tongie is an “awesome thing.” But she thought there might be another opportunity for the district to show its appreciation to the community and also advertise itself.

Board members were receptive to discussing goals, as well as topics discussed at the event.

Teachers discuss literacy

Elementary school teacher Natalie Frese, reading recovery teacher Reann French and Title 1 reading specialist Terri McAlister discussed TES’ literacy program. It’s a balanced literacy program called Literacy Professional Development Framework through Emporia State University.

Teachers use benchmark assessments, as well as a running record for each student to determine areas in which they need improvement.

“We’re explaining to kids, checkmarks are good,” French said about the running record.

Youths in classes of 20-25 students break down into groups of five to help tailor to their needs in individual groups.

Principal Tammie George said TES applied for a reading award a few years ago and was a semifinalist. George said she asked judges for suggestions and she was told “consistency,” which is something the school was trying to build, George said.

Maintenance report

• A new fire door compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act has been ordered for the south entrance to the Tech Center, per a request from the state fire marshal. The cost will be $6,900 and will cover removal of existing doors, as well as purchase and installation of new frames, doors, hardware and signs.

• Lawrence-based Pur-O-Zone, one of the district’s main sources for custodial, maintenance and food service supplies, will no longer be charging the district a fuel surcharge for deliveries.

• The district is seeking bids for snow removal for the coming winter. A recommendation will be made based on the bids received by Friday’s deadline.

• The district is installing additional outdoor lighting in parking areas and near building entrances. Larry Easter reported several areas that become quite dark once the sun goes down. Board member Mildred McMillon said at Monday’s meeting she had concerns about one of the entrances to the THS west campus.

Superintendent report

Hayden discussed the recent election and what it could mean for the district.

Republicans won several state and local positions in this past week’s election.

He said state revenue continues to keep pace with the current fiscal year through June 30, but the state will have to work through a loss in federal funding.

He anticipated not hearing any updates on funding until April or May from the Legislature because education funding is always a tough issue.

Hayden noted the state having a more conservative Legislature after the recent election.

“It may not necessarily be that that would be negative,” Hayden said. “People can make conclusions before the rubber meets the road.”

Technology report

Scheduled training for Skyward, the school administration software, has come to an end. The high school has experienced a few issues, according to technology director David Milhon. PowerSchool is needed on occasion, so the district is close to the end of its use.

Planning also has started on next summer’s technology projects, including the refreshing of servers and reducing the number of servers by introducing virtualization. Two Macintosh labs will be updated at TMS with Lenovo computers, as there are Mac hardware problems, Milhon’s report said.

Hayden said there have been about 12 Mac computers in the lab during the last six months that have been unusable because of screens blacking out, some of which were not very old computers.

State assessment report

Tonya Phillips, director of educational programs and student services, told the board about previously reported standard of excellence recognition district schools received based on state assessment tests.

TES made standard of excellence for fourth grade and building wide in math, while TMS made SOE in sixth, seventh and eighth grade reading. THS made SOE building wide in reading. Phillips noted that because only one class takes assessment tests in high school, it can only receive building-wide recognition.

She also noted there would be training from the Kansas Department of Education that offers tips on making adequate yearly progress in the future.

Executive session, resignation

The board met for a total of 35 minutes to discuss personnel. Director of educational programs and student services Tonya Phillips met with the board for most of the first session, which was 20 minutes. Hayden met for the entire first session and all but a few minutes of the second session, which was 15 minutes.

The board accepted the resignation of Shelly Hunter as seventh-grade assistant girls basketball coach.

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