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Attendance drops at elementary school

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Monday night's Council school board meeting was attended by a grand total of one member of the general public - your humble reporter.

The board is soliciting bids for a new school bus. That bus will be put into service for the next school year.

Superintendent Murray Dalgleish gave a brief report on the grants received to work on the pond at the Boise Cascade Community Park. The school will be working with the project to provide native plants from the greenhouse, plus students and several teachers will be involved.

The strategic planning committee has started meeting again to make recommendations to the school board regarding the 2015-2016 school year.

Students in one of Stephanie Rice's classes have been holding Socratic Dialogues about the book, To Kill a. Mockingbird. Those who have witnessed the dialogues have been very impressed with how deeply the students delve into the discussions and how it made them think, develop support for their points of view, and generally learn this type of process. "Once they learn this method, they can use it over and over," Superintendent Dalgleish said. "What's nice is that it illustrates what Common Core can do, because that's the type of thinking we want kids to be able to do."

Elementary School Principal Bonnie

Thompson said daily attendance has been "terrible" lately. District Secretary Cathy Lakey said the State Department of Education had actually called her because the numbers were so low that they thought there was a mistake in her attendance report. Thompson said the absences had usually been for good reasons, but it has been frustrating for teachers. "You have three kids gone, and they come back the next day and you're the second day into a lesson and you have to go back and bring these kids up to speed," she explained. Students can have a total of 9 absences in a semester, and Thompson has been notifying parents of students with 7 or more absences. "I sent a lot of attendance letters out with report cards on Monday - more than I probably ever have," she said. "And there were probably at least 20 letters."

Thompson said teachers are evaluating three math curricula and will bring their choice before the school board when they determine which one they recommend.

The Missoula Children's Theater producers with be in Council January 26 -31, and the students will give two performances on Saturday, January 31. This program is being funded by the Parent-Teacher Organization and a grant from the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

"We have implemented the Junior High discipline plan for grades 4,5 and 6 to get them used to being more accountable and aware of demerits and how it affects them, and for us to better track what's going on," Principal

Thompson announced. Letters went out to parents explaining the program. "We think the older kids are ready for it, and they need to be accountable to it," she explained. "The elementary plan doesn't really work that well for the big kids. We've done it in the past, with just the sixth graders, but we thought this year we'd do it with the intermediates so they could be more consistent; because some of them have both [elementary and junior high] teachers and it would be more consistent with the upper grades."

February 16-17 will be "Day on the Hill" in which school administrators can meet with Idaho legislators about education policy.

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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015

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