Manila School Board takes building tour

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Board member Johnny McCain looks at hallway decorations during the walk through.

Members of the Manila School Board conducted a campus/building walk through at the August meeting held on Thursday before returning to the board room to hear principal reports and work through other business.

All board members, except Tony Crowell, were present.

Superintendent Pam Castor recommended raising the adult lunch prices from $3 to $3.10 which is the federal minimum. She said the student lunch pries are in the recommended guidelines.

The board voted 5-1 to raise adult lunch prices with board member Johnny McCain voting no.

Castor distributed copies of last year's athletic expenditures and a proposed athletic budget for the year. She explained the formula for figuring the budget uses the square footage of all of the gymnasiums, press box, and ticket stands, etc. She said the expense report includes custodians, lights, gas, etc.

After discussion on the athletic budget, the board voted unanimously to accept the athletic budget for the 2012-13 school year at $449,089.87 and the expenditure report from the 2011-12 school year at $435,470.66.

Principal reports were given with Dale Case, elementary principal, discussing test scores.

The first and second grades take the Iowa Test and the third grade and up take the Arkansas Benchmark assessment tests. Case said there had been a steady growth in math and the Benchmark literacy scores were above the state average.

Case said they are looking at ways to increase the math scores.

There will be a change in curriculum in the Common Core this year and there could be a drop during the transition, but it will not be because the students and teachers are not working hard, Case said.

LeAnn Helms, middle school principal, said the numbers in the middle school are great.

All of the scores were raised except for fifth grade math. It went from 83 percent to 75 percent. The math grades are still up from two years ago when it was 68 percent.

The seventh grade literacy went from 72 to 89 percent with 36 students scoring advanced.

"We have seen gain starting in the fifth grade," she said.

Seventh grade science grades have also gone up from 11 percent in 2009 to 41 percent in 2012.

Helms said they looked at schools similar in size for the best science scores and contacted them to see what they are doing that could be helpful to MMS.

"We have implemented an enrichment center for students to work on when they finish their classroom work," Mrs. Helms said.

She said they plan to have educational, hands-on projects for the students to work on.

High School Principal Robin Baugher reviewed high school scores commenting she is proud to announce eighth grade algebra I was 100 percent proficient or advanced. The overall algebra was 87 percent and geometry was 86 percent. The overall math was 90 percent. On the high Stakes testing last year Manila had 97 percent pass the test with 75 taking the test.

Biology was 41 percent coming up from the 20s.

"We know our challenges," Mrs. Baugher said. "Our AP was better than ever. Three out of four passed the AP English and AP chemistry and our AP history has consistently increased."

Board President Tracey Reinhart expressed appreciation to the principals and teachers for their hard work and success.

In the administrative report Mrs. Castor expressed her and the board's condolences to the Borden Family.

"We remember his (Brian Borden) days at MHS fondly and our hearts go out to the family," Castor said.

She also expressed her thanks to Connie Adams for volunteering to coordinate the Mississippi County Elementary Teachers Conference at Manila, an in-service day held Thursday. Over 300 teachers participated.

"I also appreciate the principals, maintenance staff, and teachers for their work in preparing for the school year," she said.

Board member McCain asked about the drug testing cost and the current procedures.

Pam said currently it is done at random for students participating in extracurricular activities.

"My goal for the next five years is to see our kids come to school in a safe, drug free environment," McCain said.

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