Manila School Board hears principal reports

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Manila school principals updated the board on attendance, programs, curriculum, handbooks, test scores and the overall start of the 2009-2010 school year at the regular September meeting held Thursday.

Diane Baugher, elementary principal informed the board as of Thursday, the enrollment is 369 in kindergarten through fourth grade.

"It is down a little from last year at this time," she said.

She reported the kindergarten numbers are a little less than last year but the first grade and the fourth grade are up.

She said progress is being made in test scores. Third grade math is 76 percent proficient and above with the state average 80 percent; Literature is 53 percent with the state average 66 percent. Fourth grade math is 71 percent proficient and above with the state average 77 percent and Literature 69 percent with state average 71 percent. She said the scores are getting close to the state average and they will continue to work hard.

"We love the junior high building," Baugher said.

Several elementary grades are using the old junior high building while the new elementary building is under construction.

She talked about the Kiss and Ride transportation program.

"It is working out well," she said. "It took us two or three tries to get the transportation flowing but this afternoon we loaded about 100 cars in 15 minutes."

She expressed her appreciation to Chief Jackie Hill for his help with the traffic.

Robin Baugher, assistant elementary principal, reported on the pre-kindergarten through first grade.

"We have a full house in pre-kindergarten, 40 students," she said. "Most are four year olds. I encourage you to walk through the pre-kindergarten and check out the WebPages. The web pages keep parents informed.

Diane Wagner, Middle School principal, presented the board with a copy of the handbook, the logo designed by a student, and schedule.

"We have no class over 30 and no overloading in grades 5-6," she said.

The fifth and sixth grade schedule is the same as the seventh and eighth grade for the Middle School. She talking about the new initiative reading program, Reading Rocks; the PAWS, Parents Assisting with Services; Strategic Plan, and other programs

"Thanks to the stimulus money, all classes will have a document camera and Smart Board which will be beneficial," Wagner said. "We have started with the JBHM, a consultant group who is here to observe and tell us how we can improve."

She said the test scores are improving but there are still some areas needing improvement. She talked about parent involvement and course guides.

"We have initiated the pre AP (Advanced Placement) classes this year in grades 5-8," she said. "We are one of the few schools to have the pre AP in the fifth grade."

Attendance in Middle School is 334 students with 76 in fifth grade; 95 in sixth grade; 88 in seventh grade; and 75 in eighth grade.

High School principal Pam Chipman updated the board on the high school enrollment, reporting 77 students in ninth grade; 72 in 10th grade; 81 in 11th grade and 87 seniors.

"We meet the 38 class requirements and we are incompliance with standards," she said. "We offer a variety of classes through the Distance Learning and Burdette classes."

She reported on test results saying many students are within only a few points saying the Literacy scores are the same as last year.

"We are working on it," she said. "I'm sending a team to observe a literacy coach at another school. In Algebra the state average is 70 percent and our test scores were 78 percent. We have not received the scores in Algebra II. This year there will be the end of level test for high school and if they don't pass, they don't graduate."

She went on to say Geometry scores are 76 percent proficient and above with the state average 66 percent and Biology Manila is 52 percent with the state average 41 percent.

Chipman informed the board the new attendance policy implemented last year did work.

"We had 924 less absentee days than the year before," she said. "That was even with a week and a half of 75 to 100 out a day due to the flu. It is working and I hope it continues to work. We had 65 students who met the tough requirements including attendance, no disciplinary action, and more to go to a Red Birds game last year. The Operation MHS is working and we hope it continues to work."

She complimented her staff on doing a great job.

Mrs. Castor informed the board the JBHM is a company contracted to observe and make suggestions on ways to improve.

"We have had a representative from JBHM on campus two days visiting in every classroom," Castor said. "We had an exit conference and she said we have a wonderful school with wonderful people. It was a compliment to our principals and staff."

The board voted unanimously to accept several student transfers.

From Buffalo Island Central to Manila were Ken Sullivan, Tyler Sullivan, Kaitlynn Boatman, Thurman Boatman, Katie Ford, Nicholas Cove, Destiny Parker, Ben Bunn, Cody Bunn, Connie Watson, Vanesa Garza, Cortney Fleeman Sierra Clark, Dylon Clark and Coy Clark and from Riverside to Manila, Jennifer Carroll, Heather Carroll and Mathew Carroll.

In other business:

*Approved the Arkansas Department of Education Frameworks.

*Approved the Arkansas Department of Education Standards.

*Castor updated the board on the building project informing them bid packages would be opened Sept. 24. She said she would keep them updated on the progress.

*Board member Tony Crowell asked Mrs. Castor about a fogger type machine purchased. She explained the fogger-type machine puts out a mist. It is used when the buildings are empty and it kills all types of bacteria and virus. It will be used as necessary.

*Castor informed the board the Health Department will be coming to the school offering flu shots to students and teachers before Thanksgiving at no cost to the students.

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