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School board recognizes students, tackles heavy agenda

Farmington Press - 6/19/2017

Meeting for a regular session on Thursday night, the West County Board of Education started things off with a brief recognition ceremony for the district's Special Olympics athletes.

West County students won 73 gold medals, 38 silver medals, 11 bronze medals and three ribbons throughout three Special Olympics events this year.

Starting off the formal agenda, High School Principal Eric Moyers gave a career education report. Highlights included the fact that about 40 percent of West County students take some type of career education class. Moyers also reported that the Missouri Department of Education just approved an option for students to earn a career technical certificate along with a high school diploma if certain requirements are met, including class time and on-the-job training.

Next, in his report on his school, Moyers summarized year-end and summer school attendance figures. Additionally, he reported that custodians have been working hard to get the building ready for the upcoming school year.

Registration at the high school and middle school for all returning students is set for Aug. 10 from 9 ? 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 ? 3 p.m.

During the report for his school, Middle School Principal Kevin Coffman also summarized attendance figures and summer school. He remarked that about 53 incoming sixth grade students participated in the summer school transition program, which is about 66 percent of the expected class size this fall.

"So the vast majority of our incoming sixth graders are now very well acquainted with the building, policies and procedures," Coffman said. "They've already received their lockers, they've already received their schedules and they've already received school supplies."

Coffman also remarked that his building custodians have been working hard to get the middle school building ready for the new school year.

Elementary School Principal Todd Watson spent some time talking about summer school at his building, which ended on Thursday, remarking that about 175 students participated and were sad to see it end. Throughout the session, students were engaged in an assortment of indoor and outdoor activities, as well as Friday field trips.

In her report on special services, Director Sheri Price spoke about the efforts made to identify students eligible for her department's programs through the district's early childhood services rather than waiting until they are ready to be screened for kindergarten.

Price also reported that the Parents as Teachers coordinator was moved into a new office at the middle school and has a new telephone number, which is 573-562-2213.

In new business, the board approved various items, including grocery, milk and bread bids for the upcoming school year as recommended by Stevens and Watson; fund transfers for transportation, food services and Fund 4; a final budget amendment for the current school year; a tentative budget for the upcoming school year, which begins July 1; and salaries for certificated and classified staff for the 2017-2018 school year.

Among other specifics, the schedule includes an increase for the base salary for certificated staff of $200 per year - from $35,200 to $35,400. A 2.2 percent increase for all classified staff was also approved by the board.

In other new business, Price was appointed to be the district's Homeless/Migrant/ESL/ELL/Title IX/Home school/504 Coordinator.

Also in new business, a discussion among board members took place regarding certain provisions of the district's proposed new building attendance and discipline policies for each school, with numerous questions asked by Rocky Stevens in order to clarify some provisions that may have been unclear. Bullying behavior, disrespectful conduct or speech and the dispensing of prescription and non-prescription medications were among the provisions discussed. A vote to approve the policies was tabled until the next meeting in order to make the clarifications and modifications discussed.

Next, the board voted to approve the proposed comprehensive school improvement and building plans. Moyers summarized that the plan includes strategies to improve test scores and many of the same provisions as in last year's plans.

Coffman summarized for the board various curriculum updates based on the new federal guidelines that have replaced Common Core standards. He explained that the new standards are being implemented incrementally, beginning with math and ELA. The proposed curriculum will be placed online for board members to examine and review, with a vote scheduled for the July board meeting.

After a summary from Stevens, the board also approved the purchase of a new bus to replace a bus that caught on fire, as proposed during last month's meeting.

As discussed during previous meetings, the board revisited the issue of multi-sport participation of students during a single season and the potential for conflicts. The issue arose when the district added cross country to the options for student athletic participation.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to allow students to choose to participate in two sports during the same season provided one of the sports is an individual sport (cross country), but for the next year, which will be considered a trial period, students must place a priority on team sports versus individual sports if a conflict happens to arise, with exceptions allowed at the coaches' discretion.

Prior to ending the meeting, Stevens gave a brief update on the progress being made on numerous capital projects.

 
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