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Changes made to Aberdeen harvest break

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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Aberdeen School District Board of Directors met in open session on Wednesday, Sept. 16 in the district board room. Present were chairman Herb Bohrer, trustees Elaine Blik, Todd Lowder and Mike Shackelford. Braden Driscoll was absent.

Trustees, because of the weather, changed harvest break for the school. The beginning of harvest break was changed from Thursday, Sept. 17 to Monday, Sept. 21. The two days that were canceled for break this week will be added to the end of harvest. Students will go back to school on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Superintendent Jane Ward asked farmers not to hire students during school hours but wait until harvest break begins. She also asked them to not keep the students out of school when it resumes. It is very important for school funding to have every student attending school every day, she said.

School district faculty and staff were at the fish booth at the Eastern Idaho State Fair during the week of Sept. 6 through 12. Ward thanked Layne Arnoldson and Kristi Copeland for organizing and getting the booth ready each year.

Ward thanked the teachers, staff and patrons for the support they have given the district. "As other districts struggle with everyday operations, we have worked together to build a district that is getting stronger and better each year. Students, teachers and staff are working together to achieve higher standards than ever before. Our buildings, grounds and buses are well maintained and our school lunch program is running smoothly. The district office just had a yearly financial audit and David (Burke), Dena (Blaker), the building secretaries and building administrators are working within their budgets and doing an excellent job with the finances of the district. I appreciate all the support for the district."

She told the board that high school principal Travis Pincock and middle school principal Ann Mennear were absent. Pincock was at the home volleyball game because the athletic director couldn't be there and Mennear was at the Federal Program Director's training in Boise.

Ward reported that school started very well. The buses are in great working order. Buck Copeland does a great job keeping them working and clean. The teachers are working hard and teaching to the standards. All this takes work and she said she appreciates them all. Administrator's reports

Elementary school principal Robi Jo Colton reported the elementary fall testing is complete. The Title I department did a fantastic job testing the K-3 students on the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI). This screener is a good indicator to determine the skill level of each student in reading. Those students who are at risk and need extra reading support will be identified and placed in various Rtl programs to help ensure academic success.

Students have completed the STAR Reading and Math tests. Each teacher will use the results to accordingly plan lessons and guide instruction and ultimately show student academic growth this year.

The information from the tests will be reviewed at Data Day, which has been changed to Monday, Oct. 5, because of harvest break. Each grade level team will have a scheduled time to discuss data, place students in appropriate programs, if needed, and update the "data folders".

The elementary school has added the "Attendance Star" to the attendance program this year. Neal Cassell will deliver the star and Starburst candy to each student with perfect attendance monthly. They will continue the drawings to recognize students on Fridays for weekly attendance.

Special services director David Vaughn reported the Special Education programs are running well at each school. There are several new paraprofessionals this year but he has received good reports from the teachers on how they are doing.

Last month Vaughn reported Aberdeen had several students who have moved to Aberdeen district in Special Education. He said they are still getting some new students from other districts. They are adjusting well. The teachers have set up good programs for them to meet their needs in Aberdeen and the students are making good progress. Blik said if Aberdeen was getting students from other districts she assumed because Aberdeen has a good program. Vaughn reported one of the people from the state special education said Aberdeen was one of the best school to work with.

Mennear, on her written report, said the new sixth grade students are adjusting to lockers, changing classes and all the other things associated with moving from elementary to middle school.

Cool to be Kind training will be done again this year in the middle school. The training for the sixth grade takes a full day and will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The training for the seventh and eighth grades is a half day each and will be held on Thursday, Oct. 8.

She thanked Amber Tilley, Jennica Knittle and Mattie Bedwell for coaching the volleyball teams this year.

All teachers in the middle school have completed their pre-tests that are used as one tool for measuring growth.

Pincock, in his written report, said the school year started great. The students are doing well and the fall athletic teams are winning and representing the community well.

Homecoming Week was held the first week in September. He thanked Wayne Millett, who is in charge of Homecoming Week. He also thanked all the parents and community members who give so much time and money to make the week a success.

Aberdeen High School is a Microsoft IR academy school. The State Department of Education has made it possible for students and teachers to be certified in Microsoft Office. Aaron Spence will use the academy in his business/technology classes.

GEAR UP has many activities planned for the school year. Some of the activities include college trips, after school tutoring, FAFSA(federal student aid) night, ACT ASPIRE Parent Night, ACT (GEAR UP pays for all juniors to take the test), ACT prep class (a national presenter is coming to Aberdeen and American Falls to help prepare students for the ACT) and many others. The GEAR UP grant has given Aberdeen High School almost $200,000 in five years. It is a great opportunity to help the students learn more about post secondary education, he reported. Consent items

Trustees approved the consent items that included the regular meeting minutes, the August claims, the county tax report, and the building budget reports. Business items

The agreement with Construction Services, Inc and Hutchison Smith Architects was approved. The contracts were given to the trustees last month to review. The contracts aren't binding. If the school district doesn't pass the bond for the remodel the district doesn't owe them any money. If they just decide not to go ahead with the bond, they will charge the district.

Bohrer said the Vision Committee met last week. They found out the district can only bond $11.8 million. To build a new school it would take $15 million. The committee will present to the board in October or November. They were talking about building a new practice gymnasium, a new auditorium and remodeling the classrooms. The middle school bond will be paid off in 2017. He added the committee will present to the board but the board is under no obligation to do anything with what is presented.

Trustee input

Trustees Shackelford said everything looks good in the schools and he is glad the football team is building a tradition with the bell and through singing the school song after the games.

Trustee Lowder thanked the teachers for the quality education they are giving to the Aberdeen students.

Trustee Blik said everything seems to be going well. The spirit is greater, although it does help that the teams are winning. To win is good for the kids and for the morale of the school. She added she appreciates the leadership in the programs in the district.

Trustee Bohrer said that part of the success of Aberdeen today is that the district made a lot of difficult decisions a few years ago. He said he wasn't part of the board then but he thanked those that were for having the guts to do it. He noted that Blik was one of the board then. "We are really fortunate to be in the shape we are in. We should be proud of the students, teachers, and administrators for doing the jobs they do. Let's think about how to make the school district better."

He said the football field looks good. The school looks good and people have pride in it. He gave his compliments to the maintenance crew, too.

Executive session

The trustees recessed from an open session into a closed session to discuss school policy. Upon returning into open session the meeting was adjourned until Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

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Original Publication Date: September 23, 2015

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