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Van-Far R-I School Board renews principals’ contracts

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

The Van-Far R-I School Board unanimously voted to bring back  the district’s principals for the 2012-2013 school year.
In the Executive Session after the board meeting on Thursday, February 16,  the board voted 7-0 to rehire both Elementary Principal Amber Crane and Junior/Senior High Principal Cindy Pirch. The two were rehired at the same rate of their current contracts with raises to be considered before the start of their new contracts.
Jody Horner was also rehired as Federal Programs and Special Education Process Coordinator by a 7-0 vote at her same rate with a raise to be considered at the start of her new contract.
Also in Executive Session, Garry Pirch was hired as Junior High track coach.
“Facebook Law”
The board passed the revised MSBA Policy “GHB-Staff/Student Relations” by a 5-2 vote.
The vote was needed to help the district meet the March 1, 2012 deadline to adopt the policy known as the “Facebook Law.”
One amendment on page 7 of the policy changed a sentence to read: “Staff members are required to send the communications simultaneously to the supervisor.”
A sentence on page 6 was revise to state: “Providing a student (other than the staff member’s children, stepchildren or other children living in the staff member’s home) transportation in the staff member’s personal vehicle.
Board member Jim Hopke gave an example of his daughter being driven home in a car by a teacher and it was noted that the new policy means it is no longer permissible.
It was also noted that all text message correspondence between students and staff must be “cc:’d” to administrators. Bus driving texts would also need the “cc:.”
Board member Christy Nelson  asked how administrators plan to archive everything and it was noted that process is ongoing.
Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Felmlee reported a district wide enrollment of 611 students with a daily average attendance of 565.62.
The board voted 6-0-1 to move the March meeting to March 22 due to the regularly scheduled date falling on Spring Break. The board also set a public hearing to talk about the 2012-2013 calendar. Board member Pete Nasir started discussions regarding three ways DESE allows districts to set their calendars.
Superintendent Felmlee told the board he would like to gather bids for “stock” busses. He added that he would like to compare prices and gather cost data. Before any purchase is to be made, the superintendent said he would like to see how funding comes in for education from the state.
He completed his report by telling the board that the Adult Education Program was recognized as a “Rising Star.”
“Eventually I’d like to see classes here during the day,” Felmlee said.
Principal Reports
Principal Crane said a penny drive held for a family by students raised $366.80.
She also noted that the school applied for a healthier U.S. school challenge and received a bronze certificate. The award was accomplished through the help of OPAA. An official letter from the White House will be received to note the achievement.
Principal Crane announced in her report that Vickie Robb, PLC consultant from RPDC, is coming on February 22 to meet with grade level teams and observe their data team meeting during plan time.
She also noted that Gena Gibson, Brian Hummel, Alisha Hays, and herself attended the Powerful Learning Conference on January 30-31 to hear keynote speaker Jan Chappuis.
Principal Crane reported an enrollment of 342 and an average daily attendance of 95.73-percent.
Principal Pirch noted a busy schedule in her report that includes district basketball February 27-March 3, FFA Week February 18-24, Senior Night February 21, National Honor Society induction February 23, and Spring Concert on March 5.
She also noted an Open House is scheduled for February 23 at the Davis H. Hart Career Center. Van-Far 8th graders interested in Vo Tech will be taken to the event to work with counselors at the center regarding four year plans.
Second grade teachers Brian Hummel, Jill Trower, and Laura Shaw presented a self-evaluation to the board.
The teachers showed a Powerpoint presentation that started with a photo of students wearing shirts to recognize “100 Days Brighter.”
They noted that their ELO’s are selected from GLE’s and are the focus of daily instruction.
Their data team simulation begins with:
• Step 1: Collect and Chart Data
• Step 2: Analyze to Prioritize Needs
• Step 3: Set/Review/Revise SMART Goals
• Step 4: Select Strategies
• Step 5: Determine Results Indicators
• Step 6: Monitor and Evaluate Results
During the fluency pre-test, SFA data showed 17-of-48 2nd graders were reading 75 words per minute. The data helped to focus instruction on reading at medium speed, stopping at punctuation, and understanding what is read. The SMART goal includes the percentage growing from 35- to 73-percent by the end of the third quarter as measured by weekly fluency readings.
“Power Teaching” will be used to teach students on the steps of becoming a fluent reader.
There will be 15 minutes of daily practice time with A to Z reading books. Whole group instruction and partner practice is being used and individual one minute timings are done to monitor progress. Students are also given self-monitoring bar charts to track their progress.
Superintendent Felmlee presented the health self-evaluation on behalf of nurse Kathy Allen. Her report showed expectations were being met for basic health screenings, employment of a nurse, updated health inventory annually, sharing of information from health professionals to counseling staff on student health related issues, and the proper reports are submitted to the state and board in a timely manner.
Foreign exchange student Enrique Caceres also made a presentation to the board on his home country of Paraguay and his time spent at Van-Far.
Miscellaneous Reports
VFTA announced they have revoted and abandoned their idea of a Walk-A-Thon to host a carnival from 5-8 p.m. on April 15 at Van-Far Elementary School.
Van-Far A+ Coordinator Joy Davis, in her report, shows 114 students with signed A+ contracts or 60-percent of students in grades 9-12.
A resignation letter was read for teacher Terry Jungers.
In Reports of Members, board member Jim Hopke shared concerns regarding what the YMCA was suppose to be able to use for the after school program. Superintendent Felmlee noted that the YMCA gets the gym after school until 5 p.m. as YMCA can use half the gym during cold or bad weather conditions.
Board member Pete Nasir noted he would soon be attending a legislative event. Conversation also included concerns about “No Child Left Behind” and Board President Kevin Motley noted it was really “No Child Gets Ahead.”
An MSBA video was shown that included discussion on state funding, an amended funding formula, reauthorization of “No Child Left Behind,” and the “Facebook Law.”
A bond issued payment of $100,000 was approved to be made to UMB Bank.

Van-Far Elementary Students of the Month. Front row, from left: Kellen Cockrell (K), and Trevor Winders (3rd). Back row: Zachary Couch (1st), Walter Franke (6th), Lauren Shaw (5th), and Rylee Hanson (4th). Not pictured: Haley Baskett (2nd).