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Site Council Meeting for February

by Debbie Berges

February 18, 2012

U.S.D. #322 Site Council Minutes
February 1, 2012

The Site Council for U.S.D. 322 was called to order on February 1, 2012, by Jeanette Eisenbarth, Chairperson, at 6:35 p.m. in the Title I Classroom of the Onaga Grade School.  These present were Jeanette Eisenbarth, Randy Kufahl (Board of Education representative), Robin Kolterman, Dan Peters, Blake Behrens, Debbie Berges, Sharon Bosse, Roy Duer, Sandra Hill (OGS Principal), Mary Pennington, Hillary Koch, Daun Krohn, and Amy Spoonts.  Laurie McClelland, Onaga High School counselor, was also present.  Minutes had been previously approved via e-mail.  

Under old business, Mrs. Hill reviewed the waivers to the original AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) goals the Kansas State Board of Education has been operating under.  With the waiver proposals, extensions are being granted to use the 2011 AYP targets in the 2012 school year by the National Department of Education.  Mrs. Hill noted that the Onaga schools have never been on any School Improvement plans.  Mrs. Hill provided a handout with more information on the waiver requirements to the Site Council members.

Mr. Behrens reported on several recent activities at the high school.  He noted that Laurie McClelland had recently received an Oscar for Keys for Networking from the State of Kansas for her tireless work in helping foster children earn a high school diploma.

Mr. Behrens and Mrs. McClelland explained the USD #322 diploma of 21 credits and how this diploma differed from the Onaga High School diploma requiring 28 credits.  When HB/SB #23 became law, it requires all school districts to offer an alternative program for students who have been in state custody at some point after their 14th birthday.  These students tend to change schools frequently and often find themselves behind in high school credits.  In these cases, the students must be offered an alternative method to meet state graduation requirements of 21 credits.  Typically, the local schools require more credits for a diploma than the minimum state requirements.  However, an important stipulation to note is that this diploma is not for students who start the freshman year with their peers and stay with their peer group for the four years of high school.  In other words, failing classes does not allow a student to opt for the USD #322 diploma.  Additionally, if a student does not graduate with their peer group, he/she is counted as a dropout to that particular school system.    Mr. Behrens noted that the A+ computer course offerings have been extremely beneficial in helping students acquire the necessary credits for the diploma he/she is seeking.  Mr. Behrens noted that many students who could opt for the District diploma are going the extra distance to acquire the OHS diploma.  Without the A+ program, this would not be an option for these students.  

Mr. Behrens shared with the group that two high school students are participating in an on-the-job training program with the new grocery store.  Other seniors are doing some job shadowing.  Hillary noted the value of the job shadowing and wondered if more of this type of mentorship would be possible in the future.

OHS Scholars Bowl placed third in the League.  Mr. Behrens noted that both the high school and the junior high scholars’ bowl teams consistently take top honors.

Debbie Berges informed the group that the ACT EXPLORE will be given to 8th graders in the coming weeks.  This particular test is funded by the state and serves to show if an eighth grader is progressing at a rate in academic knowledge that puts him/her on a path to be ready for post-secondary education.  Mrs. McClelland can use the scores to help a student plan their four years of high school classes to their best advantage.  Debbie noted that the spelling bee went well again this year.  Junior High Scholars’ Bowl teams are in place and practice has begun for their season.  The Communities that Care survey was given recently.  This anonymous survey gives data for the county concerning the current drug usage of students.  Using this information, specific programs in the county can be designed to combat any distinctive trend noticed in drug usage.  Completing the survey is part of the “hoops” the school needs to jump through to continue to receive At-Risk funds from the State Department of Education.  Debbie provided an update on the activities of Friends of USD #322, noting that staff members are encouraged to apply for funding of projects.

Mrs. Hill pointed out that the Studio B dance team received the award for the highest combined G.P.A. of all dancers at a recent competition which speaks well of the academic rigor of our school system.  

Laurie McClelland shared the High School Counselor Update handout, noting the various responsibilities that go with the high school counselor position.  Some of these responsibilities include district test coordinator, scheduling of high school classes and students into classes, college and career logistics for students such as administering the ACT PLAN to sophomores, homeless liaison, crisis team chairperson, Olweus Anti-Bullying team chair, and coordinator of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in the school.  

Several handouts were provided by Laurie McClelland in regard to the newly implemented Common Core Standards in Kansas.  48 states have adopted these Common Core Standards which will bring consistency to what is being taught throughout the United States.  The Common Core Standards become national standards.  CCS will focus more on problem solving and being able to give a reason for your answer.  It will be project-based, with projects encompassing several academic disciplines.  A more defined college and career readiness focus will be in place.  New Literacy Standards are in place that will provide the “roadmap” for these changes within our school systems.  State Assessment from 2013 forward will be based on these core standards.  Dan Peters was interested in knowing how the vocational and technical skills would fit into the new standards. Teachers will be receiving training on the CCS in an upcoming Professional Development Day as well as work on the implementation timeline.  The National website for Common Core Standards is http://www.corestandards.org .  The Kansas Common Core Standards website is http://www.ksde.org/kscommoncore .

A shift has taken place in the program addressing school climate.  Mrs. McClelland explained that the current Olweus Anti-Bullying program has now been in effect for four years.  The current anti-bullying program is based upon behaviors a student should not do.  Mrs. Hill noted that the Olweus program as implemented in the beginning has brought about a decline in physical and verbal bullying.  However, the biggest bullying issue for this school year has been cyberbullying and harassment.  Students were presented a cyber-bullying program provided by the Boys and Girls Club out of Manhattan titled “Netsmartz”.  The school climate shift is towards setting positive expectations for students to follow.  Laurie noted that these “soft skills” of how to get along with people are the skills that jobs depend upon and employers are seeking out.

Randy Kufahl, BOE representative, shared information about the TRANE energy audit and upcoming energy efficiency changes to the school facility.  He also encouraged each Site Council member to watch closely what the legislature is doing now and how the legislatures are putting together the school funding formula.  The next BOE meeting is February 13.

In new business, Hilllary Koch and Mary Pennington spoke of the new parent group that is being formed.    The group is working on a name, mission statement, officers, minutes, and some fund-raisers.  There will be a cake fundraiser at the February 21 basketball game and a Spring Fling carnival type of activity the first part of May.  Hillary suggested that the group could sponsor a Netsmartz Cyber Information program to the parents.

Crowning of Winter Royalty has been moved to Tuesday, February 7 due to conflicts with Regional Wrestling.  

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.  The next meeting will be May 2, 2012.  Mrs. Hill complimented the group on the excellent attendance and discussions of the evening.

Minutes submitted by Debbie Berges, Secretary

 

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