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The USD 344 Board of Education opened their monthly meeting hearing a thank you letter sent to them from Ray Scholarship recipient Landry George who wrote how impactful the full-ride scholarship will be on her future.

Elementary Principal Nathan Meik reported on year-end activities students will be experiencing this week including bouncy houses for Incentives Day on Tuesday, field day is Wednesday, third and fourth grade classes go to Day at the K to watch a baseball game and kindergarten graduation is Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

Meik gave board members data from the MAP test students completed and said math scores were above the projected level of growth and they’ve seen such growth two years in a row. “We have a very healthy math system in elementary; it’s a fantastic achievement.”

He then went on to reading and said “a few grades didn’t make projected growth” as they are using brand new instructional material and the teacher only had a partial year to use it.

Meik told board members that he had no concerns with math and reading was within the average range, restating new instructional material and a new teacher.

The board asked if summer school would help and Meik said it was hard to tell with how non-structured student’s time was.

High School Principal Sarah Conley reported that May 10 is the Junior High and High School awards ceremony; with year end, incoming 6th grade parent’s meeting is May 16.

She has 83 enrolled for summer school.

Conley said teachers asked that a small change be made to the handbook including not calling out gang insignia on clothing. She said it is not an issue in this district.

Meik said he hadn’t discussed the issue with his teachers. The board held off until all the teachers could give their consensus.

Conley also discussed cell phones in the classroom and said teachers discussed no cell phones in classes at all; but they could implement their own policy in their rooms.

Teachers that use phones as part of instruction could continue to allow phones in the classroom.

Academic probation was discussed with grades checked every Monday; a failure three weeks in a row would entail academic probation.

She next said elective credits for STARS students would include English, History and an elective; all other classes stayed the same.

Superintendent Travis Laver said, “Hats off to the welders at STARS!” He highly complemented the program and the student’s hard work.

He next told board members that health insurance premiums increased 8.9 percent at renewal, “the highest it’s ever been.”

Board member Jay Allen said averages across the industries are running from 10 to 14 percent increase.

Laver said he and incoming Superintendent Don Epps “would have to get creative to get additional funds for health insurance.”

Robert Nolan is teaching driver’s education this summer.

Following 25 minutes of executive session, the board accepted the resignation of Shawn Conley, Jessica Myrick as volleyball coach and Richard Nuzum from Transportation Director.

They hired Heather Atherton as elementary secretary, Lewis Dunkleson as football and weights coach and PE teacher, and hired Sydney Dent as high school volleyball coach.


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