MP District to offer new opportunities in 2014-2015
Mobridge-Pollock students will have the opportunity to broaden their educational horizons beginning with the 2014-2015 school year as the school board learned, Monday, May 12, at the May meeting of the board.
High School principal Andrew Overland and superintendent Tim Frederick reported the district had signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Dakota Department of Education and will allow district juniors and seniors to participate in dual credit learning. The program allows students at MP to take classes through Northern State University and Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI). The courses are taken online that will count for both high school credits and college credits. The cost is $40 per credit through this program. These courses cost $250 per credit when taken at the college level.
Students must meet admission standards of Northern and MTI, follow policies involving registration and grade reporting, and be responsible for all costs (textbooks and related learning materials).
The memorandum of understanding is for the 2014-2015 school year. Student progress will be monitored at the high school and that information will be sent to the state as per the program regulations.
Frederick said this program offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for the students at MP and opens the door for many students to move forward with their education while still in high school.
Overland also explained students scoring below a 20 score on the ACT exam and meeting the requirements will be able take a college algebra readiness course instead of remedial courses once they get to college. The program will be free of charge at the high school level, while the remedial courses at college can cost up to $800.
The students complete an online diagnostic assessment that creates individualized online coursework. With the support of a teacher, the students complete the work and test. If they reach the benchmark score on the exam, they will not be required to take the remedial algebra courses in college.
Frederick reported that he and a group of instructors are developing a planning guide that meets the requirements of teacher evaluations from the State of South Dakota.
The district will implement the plan in the 2015-2016 school year.
The district’s plan uses the professional performance standards of the Danielson Model. Each district will identify four components with one from each domain as a basis for the professional evaluations and set goals according to those professional performance standards.
Those goals will measure an instructor’s effectiveness and mark areas where they need to improve.
The board also awarded honorary high school diplomas to three residents who chose to serve their country before they graduated.
They include Kenton Jundt, who served from Sept. 20, 1967 to Sept. 19, 1969; Frederick Wendt, who served from July 18, 1953 to Sept. 13, 1955; and Michael (Mick) Hagen, who served from May 10, 1968 through Sept. 1970.
The board also recognized long-time instructor Mary McCorkle, who is taking a leave of absence from the district to serve as president of the South Dakota Education Association (SDEA). McCorkle, a language arts instructor, was elected president of the association in February.
Frederick said she deserves to be recognized for everything she has done for the district and the students. He said McCorkle has been very active in local, state and national education groups.
McCorkle told the board she is grateful for the opportunities the administration and board have allowed her to pursue.
“Thank you for all of the support you have given me,” she said. “I am very proud of being a teacher in the Mobridge-Pollock District and will continue to be throughout my life.”
She said she is proud that the seat of SDEA president will be held by a voice from a “Tweener” district and not one of the larger districts in the state. That hasn’t happened since 1972, according to McCorkle.
“I am so very grateful to you and so very proud to be from this district,” she told the board.
Frederick also recognizes science instructor Pam Wells for being selected the 2015 Regional Teacher of the Year.
Frederick asked the board to consider the position it will take on other district coming into the MP district to pick up students to transport to another district. Currently the Smee, Selby and Herreid districts run busses to this district to pick up students.
MP has an agreement with all of the districts about pick- up points, but it has come to the attention of some administrators and board members that those districts may not be adhering to those agreements.
Board member Todd Wagner questioned the reason why the MP busses have one pick up point in Pollock, when the Herreid bus makes more than one stop.
“It is our district and they are more accommodating than we are,” he said.
The discussion continued with members questioning if the MP bus could pick up the students at their homes, rather than getting a ride or walking to a pick up spot. Some wondered if more parents would be willing to send their kids to MP for the better educational opportunities if the bus came to their homes.
Frederick said he would be traveling to Pollock to discuss this and other issues with Pollock patrons on Wednesday and will report back to the board at their next meeting.
In reference to a discussion at an earlier meeting, about picking up students in Mobridge at certain points to bring to school, Frederick asked the board to consider that this year the board and administration have had to make cuts because of shortfalls in funding and asked if it is wise to add another expense.
The bus discussion will continue at the June meeting, which will be held in Pollock.
After an executive session the board approved changes to the negotiated agreement and approved employee contracts. The negotiated changes include the following: changes in language for policy related to retirement; changes in language related to travel reimbursement; an increase of 2.32 percent in the base salary; a 50-cent raise in “other certified hours;” a $1,000 bonus structure for certified staff in attaining their master’s degree; and adding coaching positions for Best Robotics and Smarts Challenge at a 3 percent increase. The contract includes a 4 percent raise in 2014-2015 and a 3 percent raise in 2015-2016 for all certified staff members. All ESP will receive an increase between 3 percent and 3.4 percent for 2014-2015 and a 3 percent in 2015-2016.
Contracts for the administration include increases of 3 percent for Elementary Principal Jill Olson, Chief Finance Officer Kim Schneider, Technical Director Brian Helm, and Food Service Director Pearl Haux. Middle School/High School Principal and Athletic Director Joe Lenz’s salary will increase to $68,000 plus a $2,000 stipend for the athletic director’s duties. Superintendent Tim Frederick will receive a 2 percent raise in his salary.
– Katie Zerr –