Braden Driscoll was appointed to fill the vacant Zone 5 position and issued the oath of office at the regular Aberdeen School Board meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 13. Present at the meeting were trustees Herb Bohrer, Todd Lowder, Mike Shackelford and Elaine Blik. Driscoll was sworn in by board clerk Todd Lowder.
Students Preston Fuss and Matthew Wheeler thanked the board for allowing them to attend the FFA National Convention in Louisville, KY. They reported on their trip which went through 13 states over 11 days. Students earned funds to go through work they performed during the fall potato harvest.
Wendy Mitchell, lead custodian, expressed appreciation on behalf of custodial staff to the board and the community for their support in passing the recent plant facilities levy, which has allowed them to purchase much needed cleaning equipment. Time savings and reduced frustration has been significant with the acquisition of reliable cleaning equipment made possible by the funds, she said.
Superintendent Jane Ward reported after school tutoring has begun. Teachers have recommended students to be served and parents were contacted in an effort to have parents and teachers work more effectively together to increase student achievement. She said 80 to 90 students were involved in the after school tutoring program.
Teachers are encouraged to attend a SchoolNet training presented by the State Department of Education during the month. Bohrer asked if attendance by teachers to attend professional development was mandatory. Ward said it was mandatory unless teachers were excused to attend to other activities or were absent from school.
Ward said she is currently working on the 10-year maintenance report the state requires the district to submit.
Mitchell purchased floor equipment for the school district, Ward said. She got discounts because of the time of year she purchased it.
New weight room equipment has been purchased through Aberdeen Booster Club donations. Ward said they appreciate all the support the community gives the school district.
She thanked the PTSA, Jerry Hubbs and all who helped with the Veteran’s Day program. It was very well attended, she added.
Ward welcomed Driscoll to the school board and said she appreciated him being interested. She looks forward to working with him.
Special services director David Vaughn reported schools sent home information about the Standards Base Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. That test will be replacing the ISAT in the spring. The estimated time for students to take the SBAC test is four and a half hours per student with the possibility of needing seven hours for some students. He was happy that trustee Bohrer put an article in the newspaper about these SBAC times.
He recently submitted improvement activities to the state as part of the special education monitoring system. He will be training Aberdeen’s staff on these issues to ensure the special education policies and procedures are followed at the district level to ensure that students are receiving the services they need.
The special education staff is currently evaluating students referred for special education testing at Data Days held on Nov. 1. These are students who have been given various interventions to help them in reading, math or written language but have not responded well to these interventions.
Vaughn said he meets with the Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) twice monthly at the elementary, middle and high schools. He meets the first and third Fridays at the elementary school, the first and third Tuesdays at the high school and the second and fourth Tuesdays at the middle school.
Judith Hall from an autism support group for the state was in Aberdeen Nov. 15 to observe the students with autism spectrum disorders and continues to work with teachers who have those students, Vaughn reported.
The option recently opened for tenth grade students to retake the ISAT instead of having to be put on an alternative graduation plan, so the high school will be giving the ISAT to the 10th through the 12th grade students who have not passed the ISAT. The test will be given this month and next month.
Vaughn said they will be reviewing the Excent Achieve program. This is the special education database they will be upgrading to soon. It is web based and will likely be more user friendly than the current program. The state reimburses all costs associated with this software.
Elementary school principal Robi Jo Colton reported that both Grandparents Night and parent-teacher conferences were well attended. Parent-teacher conferences were attended by 43 percent of high school parents, 66 percent of middle school
parents and 90 percent of elementary school parents.
She said teachers are encouraged to contact parents if or when any injuries occur at the school.
The fourth and fifth grades have a grant through ReflexMath. This program is designed to help students with math facts mastery. She reported they are working to get all students performing at grade level.
Colton reported they are in their third month of recognizing students for perfect attendance at the elementary school. Every Friday teachers give tickets to students who have been in class each day of the school week bell to bell. From those tickets, ten tickets are randomly picked from the school total for a token prize. Also, those students who have had 100 percent attendance for the month, quarter and year will be chosen utilizing Power School and ten tickets will be randomly picked for a token prize. In October, they recognized ten kids from the 168 who had perfect attendance for the combined months of August and September. Board members asked her to give a monthly reporting of those students recognized so hopefully the students could also get recognition in The Aberdeen Times.
Students representing the fourth and fifth grades have been chosen for participation in this years’s Gifted and Talented (GT) program. Students who maintain straight A’s, exhibit citizenship and leadership qualities and skills and meet the attendance policy of the district are invited to participate in the program. The students are scrutinized each month for continued participation. This school term, students participating in the program will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that will enable them to profit from leadership development.
Middle school principal Ann Mennear reported that teachers continue to notify parents either by phone or email if their child has any grades lower than a C. Also, positive phone calls from teachers are being made to parents informing them of good things their student has done.
Delta Dental held a sealant clinic for the seventh and eighth grade students at the middle school on Oct. 16. During that time, 52 percent of the students were seen and received oral hygiene instruction. The average is 35 percent.
Carlos Ojeda, Jr presented to the high school and middle school students on Nov. 6. During his presentation he talked with the students about the importance of letting their voices be heard and staying in school. Later in the evening he did a presentation for parents. He also was able to have lunch with 14 middle and high school students. He was a very powerful speaker and students report that he was “awesome”, Mennear reported.
Jason Libberton from the ISU Math Center will be coming to Aberdeen Middle School on Dec. 6 to work with the secondary math teachers on designing math instruction using common core standards.
High school principal Travis Pincock reported that Carlos Ojeda Jr. spoke to the high school students for over an hour. He ate lunch with seven ninth grade students and engaged the students for more than an hour before the students were forced to return to class so he could speak to the middle school. That evening he spoke in American Falls to the parents and students. This was a wonderful event, Pincock said. He thanked Ojeda for coming and speaking and he thanked the students and parents for being a wonderful audience.
Pincock reported that Wayne Millett and the band and choir hosted a full music clinic in the district on Nov. 5. There were students from multiple schools in both the middle school and high school receiving musical instruction.
He congratulated students Cade Park, Tony Lemos and Scott Shipley for their selection to attend the Western International Band Clinic to perform with the Sunbird Honor Band. These three students will have the opportunity to travel to Seattle to participate in the prestigious clinic.
He thanked Jeff Duffin and the other football coaches for such a wonderful season. The team had some fun and exciting games, he added. He also thanked Melanie Beck and the other volleyball coaches on their great season.
Pincock thanked all those who donated to the Aberdeen High School athletic programs. The weight room has all new equipment and the other teams have received so much support from so many.
“It is wonderful to be a part of a community that supports its school and programs so well. I cannot thank you enough,” he said.
College Application Week was Nov. 11 through 15. Aberdeen students participated in the statewide activity on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Pincock said that all seniors except one completed college applications for secondary education during the College Application Week.
The following consent items were presented: minutes of the Oct. 16 meeting, the October 2013 claims, the October 2013 financial report, Building Budget Reports, and an Overnight Trip Request for three students to attend the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, WA, Nov. 21 through Nov. 26. The consent items were approved.
The policy titled Restraint and Seclusion was approved. Policies given for review were Substitute Teacher/Coach; Executive Sessions; Superintendent Authority; Administrative Personnel Evaluation; Administrative Leave: Delegation of Authority; Grievance Procedure for Non-Certificated Employees; High School Graduation Requirements; 8 in 6 Program; Dual Credit for Early Completers Program; Mastery Advancement Program; Out-of-State Students in Residential Facilities; and Service Animals in Schools.
A proposal was presented by the superintendent to change bus driver hourly pay rate for new hire bus drivers to $14 per hour without the insurance benefits package. Current eligible bus drivers would be grandfathered under the current non-certified pay schedule for bus drivers (including the insurance package) for those bus drivers working eligible hours of 20 hours or more per week. This change is being proposed due to anticipated changes in requirements for insurance coverage to 30 hours per week under The Federal Affordable Care Act. This will be placed on the December board meeting agenda for approval or further discussion.
Lowder reviewed items he learned while attending the ISBA annual convention in Coeur d’Alene. He passed out a PowerPoint presentation given by ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria at the convention. Other topics discussed were Common Core, Mission Statements, adding a student non-voting member to the board, and keeping a strong music program in the school. He suggested putting the school’s Mission Statement on the agenda each board meeting. He voiced his appreciation to trustee Driscoll for joining the board. He expressed appreciation to all the staff for all the things they do.
Blik echoed Lowder in thanking Driscoll for coming on the board. She said she is encouraged to hear that attendance is not being abused on Friday early out days. She said trips students take, such as the FFA trip, give students a great lifetime experience and she is glad they have the opportunity to take them. She added she is happy things are going well in the district.
Shackelford welcomed Driscoll to the board. He expressed appreciation to Jeff Duffin for all his efforts regarding the weight room, saying Duffin has gone above and beyond what was expected of him.
Driscoll thanked all for welcoming him to the board. He said he has a lot to learn and is excited to learn it. He thanked the superintendent and administration for what they do.
Bohrer welcomed Driscoll and told him to speak freely on any issues. He said the board works together, but it is good to have different opinions. He said the more input received, the better the decisions will be. He said the football and volleyball programs went well and he appreciated the coaches and athletes efforts, and he is looking forward to basketball.
Bohrer asked Ward the status of the Truancy Court and asked the topic of truancy be put on the December agenda.
He said he sees Common Core as a common basis of knowledge and not a think this or feel this basis. He feels some items of Common Core will need vigilance and that the school’s job is to make sure it does what it is supposed to do. He expressed appreciation to administrators and teachers for taking on the Common Core program.
The meeting was adjourned until Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.