The Manila School Board elected officers for the coming year, welcomed new board member Danny Robbins, and heard principal reports from each building at the regular September meeting Thursday evening.
Johnny McCain was elected to continue serving as president for the coming year. Other officers elected were Jackie Hill, vice president, and Tracey Reinhart, secretary. The board also elected President McCain as chief disbursing officer with all board members as alternates.
"We want to welcome our new member, Danny Robbins," McCain said. "I know he will do a great job for the district."
McCain also wanted to recognize the people of the district for supporting the millage.
"I want to thank the voters of the district," McCain said. "We are seeing tough times right now and for the people to vote themselves a tax shows their support of the school and concern for the children."
Principals, Diane Baugher, K-4; Diane Wagner, 5-8, and Pam Chipman, 9-12, updated the board on the start of the 2008-09 school year giving board members printouts of attendance, programs, schedules, test scores, handbooks, and other activities.
Baugher said K-4 has attendance of 391, pre-kindergarten 40 for a total of 431 students. The breakdown includes, kindergarten 79; first grade 79; second grade 70; third grade 77; and fourth grade 79. She reviewed the test scores showing improvement each year. She told of the new student incentive program, Lion's RRRoar. She noted the discipline referrals to the office are down thanks to the program. The parent group known as ABC has changed the name of the group to Parents' Pride.
Wagner gave a report on the new middle school grades 5-8.
"We love our new building," Wagner said.
She showed a key chain with the new logo for Manila Middle School explaining the logo was selected through a student contest design in the computer lab.
Middle school has a total of 317 students with 91 in the fifth grade, 83 in the sixth grade, 73 in the seventh grade, and 70 in the eighth grade.
The new phone number for the seventh and eighth grade office is 561-3594.
She also presented test scores commenting the students have gained and scores are improving. She also presented a list of standards for grades 5-8.
"We meet every one of the standards in offerings and number of students," she said. "People are getting used to the routine and the new drop off and pick up routine is beginning to work."
High School Principal Chipman said the high school is meeting all standards and offers beyond the required 38 units of study. She reported 14 students are going to Burdette for classes each day and 70 students are enrolled in the Distance Learning classes.
"We are in compliance in the AP classes," she said. "Test scores are going up. Our teachers and students have worked hard. Our students are doing with in the ACT scores."
She explained students have first period working on enrichment programs, remediation, AP chemistry, basketball and a couple of study halls.
Chipman said mentoring program Operation 2011 was very successful last year and Operation 2012 has been added.
Mary Smith and LeeAnn Helms spoke to the board about the mentoring programs.
They presented each board with a Manila bag with books, planners, and information on clubs and activities.
"Each ninth grade student was given one of the bags," Helms said. "The junior and senior classes mentor the ninth grade students. We have seen some great things from the program. Our bullying problem is much better, our daily
attendance has improved and grades also improved. Everything we do is provided through the community and grants."
Smith commented the mentoring program is one of the best new programs to come along in a long time.
Chipman said the program has made a difference in grades and attendance.
"Many of you have contributed to the program and we appreciate it," Chipman said.
Following a short executive session, the board accepted the resignation of Reba Dill as of Oct. 10 and the resignation of Charles Quinn, bus driver.
Superintendent Pam Castor recommended hiring Dwight Booth and Rodney Cooper as bus drivers and Danny Helms for ISS keeper. All three were approved unanimously.
In other business:
*The board approved the transfer of Dustin Wright from Buffalo Island Central to Manila.
*Due to a computer problem, the budget was not quite ready to be presented. Superintendent Castor said the problem has been corrected and the 2008-09 budget will be ready for approval soon. The board will need to meet in a special session as the budget must be approved by Oct. 1.
*Board members reviewed and approved the minutes and financials.
*Castor reported she received a letter and the facilities plan has been accepted. She also said progress on the fence is being made.
*"Overall enrollment is looking good," Castor said. "We opened the year with 1014 and as of today students are up to 1026."