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District Update 1-6-10

by Bill Heimann

January 06, 2010

District Update #10 includes:

January 4, 2010 Board of Education meeting summary

  1. Rule 10 Instructional Hours
  2. High School Gym Floor Update
  3. Board Policy 4750 – Separation Benefits
  4. Draft of 2010-11 Calendar

The Board meeting was held on January 4, 2010. Each January, Board officers are elected. Dennis Francke was re-elected as President; Alan Retzlaff – VP; Dale Rolofson – Secretary; Andy Grosshans – Treasurer.

Three Waverly Middle School students presented their Science Fair projects. Four Board members served as judges at the December event. The Board commended the students and staff at the Middle School for the continued success of the event. Kindergarten teachers at Eagle Elementary presented literacy strategies they have implemented this year. Mr. Blum, Curriculum Director, informed the Board of the professional development opportunities available. Nearly 50 teachers and principals voluntarily participated in a Guided Reading workshop on January 4. Mr. Blum noted that numerous teachers are also planning to participate in a Balanced Literacy learning opportunity. It will be held in Waverly on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. during second semester and will be facilitated by Doane College. Curriculum Toolbox teams have been formed, and these teacher leaders will be leading the school improvement process for the district. Board members reported on their attendance at the State School Board’s Conference. Dave Doran, chair of the Building/Grounds committee provided an update on the high school gym floor.

Action items at the meeting included adopting goals for the Board, and adopting Board Policy 4750. The February Board meeting date was changed to Wednesday, February 3.

Nebraska Department of Education Rule 10 regulates instructional hours for students. The minimum number of instructional hours annually for students in grades K-8 is 1032, and 1080 hours for grades 9-12. Click here to view scheduled instructional hours for each building. Even with the snow days, District 145 has sufficient instructional hours that exceed the minimum requirements. We schedule 175 days of school for students each year because we firmly believe that having students in the classrooms with teachers is essential to student success. When there are significantly less student/teacher interactions – students are short-changed. Depending upon the total days for school cancellation, making up any additional school days in May is a definite possibility! Fortunately, winter storm #2 hit during winter break, but storm #3 is occuring as I am writing this article. District maintenance and custodial crews worked hard to remove enormous snow drifts from entrances and sidewalks. 

The High School East Gym floor was removed during Christmas break. As expected, all areas of the wood sub-floor have significant levels of moisture. Investigation for the source of the water leak is ongoing. Once the water leak is identified, corrective measures will be taken. Gym floor replacement will not occur until the concrete floor and sand sub-layer have normal levels of moisture. That timeline is yet to be determined. In the meantime, plans are being made for floor replacement. When investigative reports are finalized, an insurance coverage determination will be made officially.

Changes to Board Policy 4750 were adopted by the Board of Education on January 4th. Regulations for the Separation Benefits Agreement require distribution of materials to all teachers. A printed copy of the policy and related information will be placed in all teacher mailboxes by January 11th. Please contact me with any questions. Click here to view what will be placed in teacher mailboxes.

On December 16th, I met with teacher representatives from each building to receive feedback regarding the current school calendar. Those comments were taken into consideration as I prepared the calendar for 2010-11. Each school calendar has the same components: contracted number of days with teachers (186); number of “teaching” days with students (minimum of 175); a starting and ending date; work days/in-service for teachers; holiday breaks.

Click here to view the first draft of the 2010-11 calendar. Staff, please direct your feedback to building representatives. I will meet with those representatives in January to discuss the calendar. The Board of Education will review the calendar in February.

As we begin 2010…my focus continues to be on enhancing leadership capacity. As a relative newcomer to District 145, the following has been easy to identify: We have people on staff who genuinely care about students, our teachers are highly educated professionals, we have great facilities, we have fantastic students and we have tremendous parental and community support. All of the ingredients for student success are here. Despite the financial challenges at the national, state, and local level, our staff refuses to focus on what we don’t have – they do not take our “ingredients” for granted. They are working together to determine how we can best meet the needs of students with the resources we do have. Stories of student success have been easy to find during the past decade. I am very optimistic that the quality of education provided by District 145 will be even better during the next decade!!

*A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

Happy New Year!

Click here to read past District Updates




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