School Board sees departure of three staff members

By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter

What started out as a lighthearted board meeting, complete with cupcakes provided by Oliver Smith’s family (a Meadowlark Student of the Month), ended with a somber tone.

Some readers might remember how in October of last year the board accepted the resignation of Business Manager Afton Lameroux. This time the resignation of Diana Agre, Kim Hofstad, and Meadowlark/Prairie View Principal Greg Jensen were all approved. With service to Conrad’s schools for 38, 29, and 33 years respectively, their presence will, no doubt, greatly be missed.

Student recognition began with Heidi Horak introducing CHS Student of the Month, Lynne Spears. Horak said Spears, “Always completes things on time.” Other things said were that she is quiet until a subject arises that she feels passionate about, and that she is shy and confident, also that her work is neat and meticulous.

Todd Truscott introduced Danielle Bailly, a seventh grader and one of the two UMS students that were recognized. Truscott said, “It is a blast to have her in my class.” Lynsi Morris said Bailly is very determined to figure things out. Bailly is a member of the UMS MBI Youth Team, and said one of her favorite things to do is have Nerf wars with her sisters.

Max Richey, also a seventh grader, was recognized next. Several staff members stated that Richey is a quiet worker and is always willing to help others. As the only two men in a group full of 18 women, Truscott mentioned that he and Richey stick together in choir. Lori Wetendorf said he has good manners. Richey’s favorite subject is science, and in the future he would like to be a carpenter.

Jennifer Schlepp next introduced Ava Killion, a fourth grader in her class. Schlepp said Killion was respectful and responsible, and her actions lead others to do the same. Schlepp also mentioned the Killion’s dedication to school begins at the beginning of the day with her long commute to school.

Oliver Smith was Meadowlark’s December Student of the Month, but was unable to attend the last board meeting. Michelle Goyette introduced him as a kindergartener in her class. She said Smith is an exciting child that brings an energy to the class. He’s ready with answers to questions, and, more importantly, waits to be called upon before providing the answer. Goyette also mentioned Smith’s appetite for learning and his willingness to change his own plans to make sure someone isn’t left out.

Meadowlark’s current student of the month is Alanae King, and was introduced by Julie Orcutt. Orcutt said King has a kind and respectful personality. “She loves school, and it shows.” Orcutt also mentioned she can always count on King in class.

After all students were recognized, Kristi Calvary made a request to attend the Northwest National Council of Teachers of English conference in Portland. The conference will cover issues CHS’s English department is currently facing, such as how to better implement common core. The board was in agreement with her request, and Joe Russell summed it up neatly by saying, “Good teachers want to get better.”

Next, Lyndsey Green and Gerald McDermott outlined a planfor a “summer school”, though they distanced themselves from the term saying, “We want it to be fun, as well.”

The idea was born out of data that showed over the summer “at risk” students tend to lose two months of progress in both math and reading. Though they had been attempting to bridge that gap by “double dosing”, or using a rigorous routine that gave the kids twice the knowledge they needed, that still rendered the double dosing not nearly as effective.

The program Green and McDermott were requesting would run from June 30 to Aug. 8, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They would tentatively charge $10 a day for the service, with a focus on academics in the morning and fun games that would get students exercise and keep it fun in the afternoon. There would still be recess at the usually scheduled time, and a possibility of a lunch program.

Both Green and McDermott would keep data throughout the program to determine if it was a success, and both requested a wish to keep it relatively small at first to see how it goes.

A few questions were raised by the board. Carole Jones requested they get together with Superintendent Craig Barringer and develop some budget mockups: one illustrating a lunch provided, and one without. Board member Terri Peters asked about breakfast, and it was agreed that a provided breakfast should also be considered. The board agreed to take the idea under advisement.

Technology Coordinator Jill Swanson presented some videos made by Meadowlark students using the recently acquired iPads. The videos were written, recorded, and designed entirely by the students, with Swanson and McDermott acting as supervisors. The videos will be shown at an upcoming Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

Jim Carroll had the unfortunate luck of following the very amusing and creative videos, to which Barringer teased, “Beat that Mr. Carroll.”

“I have a picture of a cracked window,” offered Carroll, showing the board a picture of a broken bus window. Though not nearly as amusing as the previous videos, the photo served to get the meeting back on track. The damage happened during the recent heavy winds Conrad has been having. Carroll commended the bus drivers saying, “They do a great job getting our kids back and forth, not just from school, but also to games.”

At the UMS, several teachers will be attending conferences. Also there will be a rare opportunity for Science Fair students to visit with Scientist Bill Peterson in the hopes that they might better prepare their projects before competition. Parent/Teacher conferences are again approaching for all schools.

Principal Ken Larson started the CHS report by mentioning the great work Gary Klette did in setting up the school auditorium for the PMC board meeting on Jan. 2. It was a bit last minute and Klette was able to set up the auditorium in 10 minutes. Larson further mentioned that a podium made by CHS student Andrew Fowler can now be seen in the auditorium.

CHS with have three more tournaments coming up. Ticket takers and hospitality people are still needed for the events.

The Prairie View students presented the Food Pantry with a $500 check using the proceeds from “A Bake Sale with Santa”. Fifth grade girls’ volleyball has started, with 15 girls being coached by Amy Brown.

Meadowlark was the proud recipient of a $500 check from Town Pump through their “Giving Back to the Community Grants”, and the transfer of funds from the class of 2013 to Dollars for Scholars was approved.

The end of the session was somber with the approval of Agre, Hofstad, and Jensen’s resignations. There was some reminiscing done with Jensen, and then the meeting moved to closed session.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in the board conference room of the Russell Building.