Reports, policies and standards were the focus of Thursday's regular meeting of the Manila School Board. The board members and meeting attendees heard annual reports from each of the district's principals and the superintendent.
Elementary principal Diane Baugher started off the reports by
passing out a copy of the elementary school's student discipline book, student handbook and teacher's handbook. Baugher told the board there are 454 students enrolled in grades K-4, and the district's enrollment in the prekindergarten program is increasing.
"That came up a little when we changed the enrollment date," Baugher said. "We still have five spots open in that program, and we still have students coming in."
Baugher also gave the board a copy of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills results, which were broken down in reading and math giving the percentage of students who were basic, below basic, proficient or advanced in each. Baugher also talked to the board about this year's Benchmark scores. She said this year's scores are the start of a new trend line and cannot be compared to last year's scores.
Baugher said, overall, the district Benchmark scores were down, but she attributes that to changes that were made in the test and how it is now scored. She went on to say any student scoring below proficient on the exam has to participate in remediation, which is being done. Baugher said each student scoring below proficient has to have a intervention/remediation plan written for them to help them improve.
Diane Wagner, fifth and sixth grade principal, as well as junior high principal, told the board that the junior high is meeting all standards and is working to add the mandated 30 minutes of extra activity into each student's schedule. She said one of the things the junior high is doing is offering intermural sports from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
"There are 64 students in fifth grade, 69 in sixth grade, 87 in
seventh grade and 83 in eighth grade this year," Wagner said. "You will notice the drop off."
Wagner also passed out a copy of the junior high's master schedule to each board member and gave a comparison of the junior high test scores. She said there has been a name change in the Smart Core/Common Core curriculum. It is now Smart Core and Core curriculum. Wagner told the board that copies of the district's framework, Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, test scores, curriculum mapping, and the North Central Plan are all available for review upon request.
Manila High School principal Pam Chipman gave the board members the high school's master schedule and said this year the school is offering four new classes.
"We are offering personal finance, algebraic connections, advanced placement history and we are also offering marketing through our distance-learning class," Chipman said. "We hope to have more classes through distance learning in the future. We have four advanced placement classes this year, and we will be adding advanced placement biology next year and advanced placement calculus the year after that."
Chipman said there are 316 students enrolled at the high school and that the high school has also met all standards.
"Everything seems to be going good," Chipman said. "The teachers are working hard and the students are too."
Manila School District administrator Connie Adams told the board that the district's Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan is complete and has been sent to the State Department of Education. She also said the district has gotten three new computers for the alternative learning environment room, as well two new computers for teachers.
Superintendent Pam Castor gave the district's annual report on
accreditation and progress toward goals. She said all students have to be proficient or advance by 2013 and that all programs in place are researched-based and proven to work. Castor said one of the district's goals is to meet standards established by the state. She said the district is fully accredited and there is remediation in place to target any areas of weakness. Castor said a copy of the district's annual report would be sent to local media and published in the local newspapers.
In other business the board unanimously voted to oppose the proposed open-enrollment charter school, Great River Academy for Excellence. The board is concerned about the loss of students and the number of exemptions from state laws and regulations the proposed charter school has asked for. Castor said exemptions include teacher certification, some special education requirements and in-service requirements for
teachers. Gosnell, Blytheville and Osceola school districts have all voted to oppose the charter school application.
The board approved the district's special education application, Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, standards and framework/curriculum maps.
The board also voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Billy Miles, maintenance worker, the transfer of Ty Presson to maintenance and the transfer of Kathy Bordon to high school. The board also voted to send the proposed new/revised model policies to the Personnel Policy Committee for its approval. The board also agreed to change their meeting time to 6:30 p.m. during standard time and 7:30 p.m. during daylight savings time.
Officers were elected with Scott Misner as president, Donald Master as vice president, and Tony Crowell as secretary. Scott Misner was elected as Primary Financial Dispersing Officer with other board members as financial dispersing officer alternates.
Before adjourning board member Jackie Hill asked the board to
consider appointing a committee to look into the possibility of having a football program in the district. The board members agreed to discuss forming a committee at next month's meeting, which will be Nov. 17.