School board approved Overland contract
By Katie Zerr
The Mobridge-Pollock School Board approved the contract of the new high school principal and two others Monday, Aug. 13, leaving one position in early childhood development yet to be filled for the 2012-2013 school year.
The board approved a contract with Andrew Overland as the high school principal, replacing Chris Bohlander who tendered his resignation recently for personal reasons. The contract is a 10-month contract.
The board also approved the contracts with Jenny Enos as a middle school special education teacher and Kirby Lamb as a para-professional.
Mobridge-Pollock School District Superintendent Tim Frederick also reviewed the assistant coaching positions for the board. They included Nathan Lamb as assistant track coach, Shalena Meyer as assistant track coach, Keith Mayer as middle school wrestling and assistant football coach and Kirsten Cronin as fifth and sixth-grade volleyball coach.
Volunteers who will be assisting with coaching this year are Hanna Berndt as assistant volleyball coach and Luke Enos as assistant boy’s basketball coach.
Frederick said he plans on filling the position of kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum director in-house, and he will assume the 504-coordinator position, as he is already federal program director.
STEP test results
Although the results have not yet been released, the district’s principals shared the results of the South Dakota STEP achievement tests. The results show the scores of students who were continuously enrolled in the district and are the information upon which adequate yearly progress determinations are based.
According to Elementary Principal Jill Olson, although there was improvement in the reading assessment for all of the subgroups, there was improvement in proficiency levels from the data collected in the fall compared to that in the spring in each class.
She said changes have been made in the reading curriculum and that more improvement is expected in the next achievement data. She said there was also a large influx of students throughout the year and that can make a difference in the data collected. She said she is proud of the increase in attendance (up to 95.2 percent) as it shows kids are still coming to school even though they may be struggling.
In the math assessment, there was more improvement shown in each class and most of the subgroups, with Native Americans the only subgroup that did not show improvement between the spring and fall data.
Middle School Principal Joe Lenz said there was significant growth in all critical areas of reading and substantial growth in math.
“We are really excited about where we are in the middle school,” he told the board. “It is very tough to increase the rates by very much in one year, but the data shows improvement.”
Lenz pointed out that the district had restructured the reading and math programs in 2011, creating smaller classes with intensive instruction to focus on individual needs. It was one of the reasons for the improvement.
“It is the people, not the programs,” he said. “We have great teachers in the schools.”
He also pointed out the continued increase in the attendance rate with 95.3 percent of students attending classes at the required standards.
Overland prefaced his report by pointing out that one class, juniors, were tested and the results are compared to those of last year’s juniors.
He said the graduation rate increased 3 percent over 2011. The math scores showed 30 percent of Native American students testing in the proficient and advanced category, up 5 percent over last year. But he cautioned the school would not have reached the expected 75 percent proficient and advanced levels.
He said changes that will be made this year include team time to break down the data collected and use it to improve teaching. He will also require all teachers to turn in lesson plans, no matter their seniority at the school. There will also be Common Core testing three times a year to collect data for use in tracking the progress of all students, not just the junior class one time a year.
Further information will be presented at the September meeting.
The principals also presented their suggested changes to the elementary, middle school and high school handbooks and changes for the 2012-2013 school year. The changes were primarily wording changes with the exception of the policy for incomplete work and senior open campus violations.
Lenz pointed out that students with incomplete work would sometimes wait until the end of the quarter to turn in the work that was required earlier. He said the policy was to give the students credit for the work turned in. The changes give students a set time to turn that work in or no credit will be given.
Sixth-graders will get six days, seventh-graders will get four days and eighth-graders will get two days to complete the work.
Open campus violations will be dealt with on a three-strike basis, Overland told the board. The first time a student does not sign out or signs another student out, it will be a five-day loss of open campus privileges. The second time will be one-quarter loss of privileges and if the student does not follow the requirements again, all privileges will lost.
The handbooks are given to each student and parents are urged to read through the handbooks with their students in order to understand the new regulations.
– Katie Zerr –