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|11/17/2012 ||Email this article Print this article |
|Discipline referrals drop at Central High School|
By Jeremy Huss
Discipline referrals that result in students being removed from class have dropped more than three-fold in the last four years, high school principal George Pickup told the Central Community School Board Nov. 7.
According to Pickup, there were 250 discipline referrals at the high school in the 2009/10 school year, but the number of referrals decreased to 192 for the 2010/11 school year and dramatically fell again last year to just 80 referrals. There have been 10 discipline referrals so far this year.
Pickup said administrators are happy about the trend because they want to keep students in class as much as possible in order to improve academics.
He said teachers are using tools other than referrals to handle discipline issues and also credited Central's one-to-one computer program.
"I think it's a proven fact one-to-one has helped in that particular situation," Pickup said.
Pickup also reported on foreign language classes at the high school.
Twenty-two high school students are enrolled in six different foreign language courses using the computer-based Rosetta Stone program, Pickup said.
Students are learning German, Italian, French, Chinese, Russian and Latin, he said.
Director of innovation and instruction Amy Wichman reported on the strategic planning process and said a draft strategic plan will be presented to the School Improvement Advisory Committee in December or January.
After it has been reviewed by the committee and school staff, it will be presented to the school board in March, Wichman said.
Professional development update
Wichman also reported on professional development activities and implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum.
"We are continuing to work to meet the expectations of the Iowa Core Curriculum," Wichman said.
She reviewed five "non-negotiable" components of professional development.
They include Iowa Code requirements for use of theory, demonstration, practice, observation, reflection, collaboration, mentoring and peer coaching; implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum by 2014; student assessments; preparing students for the future and research on effective teachers.
Iowa Core implementation currently is focused on math and literacy, and a five-year implementation plan is on the school website, Wichman said.
"We are well ahead of the curve there," she said.
Wichman said the next big reform in Iowa's education system may be a new test called the "Smarter Balanced Assessment" that has been developed by a consortium of educational groups.
The assessment currently is being pilot tested in the Clinton and North Scott school districts, she said.
Wichman said the Smarter Balanced Assessment is more rigorous than the Iowa Assessment and is designed to test 21st Century skills. The Iowa Assessment last year replaced the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Iowa Test of Education Development (ITED) as the state's official measure of academic progress.
"They're more like story problems on steroids," Wichman said.
"When you look at those, it can raise your anxiety a little," superintendent Dan Peterson said.
When asked about implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Wichman said it could become a legislative issue because of opposing views on its usefulness and the fact it is an expensive, computer-based test.
Under the construction update, director of building and grounds Keith Walker reported Jansen Electric is finishing electrical work related to the facility addition, such as repairing items not installed to specifications.
General contractor Kraemer Brothers Inc. will work out its issues with subcontractor Russell Electric in court after the company failed to complete the electrical work, Walker said.
Walker said a walk-through by the state fire marshal resulted in the installation of new exit signs at the band/chorus room and monthly instead of annual testing of emergency exit signs.
"Three years ago we spent $110,000 getting up to date. It went much better this time," Walker said.
Endowments support STEM education
Under the good news reports, teacher Troy Hansen presented information on Central Educational Foundation endowments for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), which is a focus of the governor's education initiative.
Central's STEM endowments are the First Central State Bank endowment for school-to-work, DeWitt Bank & Trust endowment for technology skills for the future and Henry Pellham math and science endowment.
Other endowments from the Central Educational Foundation are the Helen Jeanne Helble endowment, Ann Volkmann endowment, Bill Turnis endowment, Carolyn Ruggeberg endowment, Lyndsey Hanas endowment and Max and Barbara Dull endowment.
The board approved the following personnel changes:
Resignation of Rick Barnhill as head varsity boys soccer coach.
Appointment of Eduardo Garza III as head varsity boys soccer coach with stipend of $2,506.61. Garza currently is assistant men's soccer coach at Ashford University and served as head soccer coach at Prince of Peace Catholic School as well as directing youth soccer programs.
Appointment of Kari Bossom as high school cheerleading head coach effective immediately for winter sports programs, with a stipend of $1,485.38 for the remainder of the school year.
Amendment to the contract of Madonna Schlotfeldt, from general food service worker at St. Joseph School for three hours per day at an hourly rate of $11.93, to cook for four hours per day at an hourly rate of $13.05.
Resignation of Ryan Jones as transportation mechanic.
Amendment to the contract of Tammy Cousins, associate at Ekstrand, to increase hours from 5 to 5.25 per day with no change in salary. The additional time will be used for early morning supervision of bus stop areas at the elementary.
Vacancies currently posted are for assistant varsity girls basketball coach, assistant varsity football coach and assistant varsity boys soccer coach.
In other business, the school board:
Approved the sale by sealed bid of obsolete equipment that includes a 2001 Ford Taurus with 274,948 miles, a 1993 Chevy Astro Van and a Gravely 34-inch, zero-turn mower.
Approved appointments to the 2012/13 career and technical education advisory committee.
Approved a request to the school budget review committee for modified allowable growth in the amount of $111,777 due to 19 students who open enroll out of the district and are counted on the 2012 certified enrollment but not on the 2011 certified enrollment that determined state funding for the current school year.
Approved the special education count report showing a special education enrollment of 141 students, a decrease of 21, and a weighted enrollment of 158.28 based on students' level of disability.
Approved open enrollment out of the district for Hayden Burke, fourth grade and Bailee Shepherd, ninth grade, to attend Camanche Community Schools.
Approved cancellation of the school district's contract with the Iowa Department of Human Services for the Children At Home program.