BIC Board hears reports from principals

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Buffalo Island Central School Board heard individual presentations during the September meeting from each principal. Rather than give an update by building each administrator shared overall district information by category.

Junior High School Principal Mark Hurst gave an update on student numbers. Hurst showed the population has risen since the day one head count for the 2016-17 school year by 13. Hurst also took a moment to explain his experience in the beginning of the school year following recent changes to elementary.

"It's been the absolute best start to a school year, as far as kids go, that I have ever seen." Hurst said, "I've had zero discipline issues which has never happened. Students felt at ease with each other. That is due, without a doubt, to the decision to merge the groups at an elementary level."

Hurst went on to thank the Board for making the hard decision to combine grades beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

Dr. Kima Stewart, West Elementary principal, gave a detailed explanation of the budget set for new money coming to BIC through Federal and State programs. Stewart clarified that each source has regulations for what the funds may be used for, as well as how the decision is made to spend them. While the exact amount of some sources have yet to be announced, Stewart explained when further details can be expected and how the money will be spent. Overall, a little less than $500,000 is expected from the state and federal grants.

High School Principal Randy Rose shared details of what has been labeled The Homework Experiment conducted at the high school level. A couple of years ago Rose, believing nightly homework assignments unnecessary, asked teachers to reduce homework to a scheduled two nights a week per subject. Based on that schedule tests were held only on days without homework. At this point in the plan, Rose shared, the project has shown no decrease in student achievement. The number of discipline referrals decreased due to the change.

Rose implemented an additional step to the project in the first nine weeks of the 2016-17 school year. He asked teachers not to calculate homework grades in overall grade averages. Rose shared that only some teachers will include the grading change immediately while others will continue to include the grades in overall scores for the time being.

Nicole Stewart, East Elementary principal, shared testing score information with the Board. Stewart was proud to announce the entire district scored achieving status for the first time in a very long time. Despite having little preparation, students successfully tested on the high end of the test when compared to state averages.

The Board began discussing future needs projects. Superintendent Gaylon Taylor explained the list is not set in stone to be done immediately as much as a list of things that will eventually need attending to. The list included some improvements to the baseball and softball fields, band and choral equipment and other odds and ends for consideration.

The Board approved spending for Title I and Title IIA for the 2016-17 school year.

A resignation submitted by Kelly Scott as pre-k assistant was accepted.

Heather Littlefield was hired to replace Scott.

The pay for participants of the after school tutorial program increased from $35 a day to $40.

The Board chose a five year CD with a rate of 1.43 percent with Centennial Bank for the recent John Paul Masner Scholarship funds.

A special meeting to approve the 2016-17 school year budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.

The next regular BIC School Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20.

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