Board Meeting in Review – March 14, 2020

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Due to the mandatory school closures, this meeting was moved up to Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., from the originally scheduled date of March 16, 2020.

The student council reports that everything went well with all Snowfest activities.

Mrs. Denise Bergstrom thanked Ms. Theresa Kuhrt for the wonderful job she did in the middle school recently, promoting Kindness Week.  Students participated in activities with uplifting messages of kindness.  There were Bingo and prizes to make it even more fun.

The board approved the Technology Committee’s recommended purchasing plan.  The focus of the plan is to provide Chromebooks for all three buildings.  A total of 214 Chromebooks and seven carts will be purchased.  Necessary upgrades to our infrastructure will also be completed, which include wireless access points and network switches, which will stop being supported in the next couple years.  This project will be covered with remaining funds from the 2017 technology bond, as well as John George grant money (both of which must be spent this spring), general funds, and e-rate funding.

Superintendent Denney presented the board with an outline of where we stand on the 2019 bond project.  He and Mark Hubbard have been meeting with the construction company regarding every facet of construction: electrical, mechanical, engineering, etc.  He showed the board a Powerpoint presentation of the design of the new auxiliary gym.  We are at the point now where the gym project, parking lot expansion, and air conditioning installation should all be out to bid this month.  There is usually a 30-day bid window, then a few days to review and award bids before construction will start.  Once we receive the bids on the gym, we will have a much better look at the overall bond budget.  The sinking fund has a very healthy balance, and we should be able to complete all the major items that were originally planned with the bond.

The board approved the Board Goals Update as presented by Mr. Denney.  The updates included for Board Goal #1A include adding an RTI teacher and adding technology resources to support At-Risk, Title 1, and Special Education students.  Board Goal #1B updates include sending staff to conferences, department meetings to review achievement trends, and the purchase of additional technology.  The continued partnership with JAC3 and JCEC meet Goal #1C.  Goal #1D actions taken include advertising for Kindergarten Round-Up and School of Choice students, posting teaching vacancies early, two-year contracts with our bargaining groups, and fully loading staff HSA accounts.  Goal #1E includes the backpack program coordination, offering a free meal program during the current shut down, and coordination with the Jackson County Health Dept.  Actions taken for Goal #1F are working on the Whole Child initiatives, and Mix-It-Up Day.  Goal #2A actions include working to get projects out to bid and upgrading drainage capacity of the entire secondary complex.  The technology updates stated above will be part of Goal #2B, as well as receiving donations from Consumers Energy as items become available.  Goal #2C actions will include a continued partnership with the technology consortium and a new agreement with AOS to reduce copy/print costs with new printers and copiers throughout the district.

The board approved the permanent hiring of Mrs. Stephanie Clement, middle/high school physical education teacher.  The board also approved the hiring of Mr. Perry Deliyanne as a part-time physical education teacher in the high school.  Mr. Deliyanne will continue in his role as Athletic Director, also.

The board approved the hiring of a secondary Assistant Principal position.  This will take the place of the part-time Dean of Students position that was created last year.  This position will mainly focus on the high school, but an Assistant Principal will help out in the middle school also, as needed.

The board accepted, with deep regret, the retirements of Mrs. Belinda Vinton and Mrs. Nancy Smith, effective at the end of this school year.  Both will be greatly missed.

Superintendent Denney reported to the board members on the following:

  • The Athletic Booster’s Draw Down on March 7th was a big success. Approximately $19,000 was raised for athletics.
  • Free breakfast and lunch will be offered during the school closure for any student who needs it. Alan Breneman, Food Service Director, will have a list of every site in Jackson County where free breakfast and lunches will be available.  At this point in time, students will be offered free meals at Heritage Park and the Beacon Church.
  • Denney has been enjoying reading to elementary students for March is Reading Month.
  • Administration is very grateful for the staff and how beautifully they handled the school closure with our students.\

The Board of Education members commented on the following:

  • Elementary teachers are to be commended for the great job they did in sending homework packets and links for access to technology for those who have it during the school closure, in such a short time frame.
  • Evans spoke on the presentation he went to on the E-sports Federation gaming systems. Grass Lake currently participates in the program, and it is tied to STEM.
  • Kassidy Alexander won the individual state bowling championship, and Aaron Alexander, assistant coach, won Coach of the Year.
  • Some board members have been reading in elementary classrooms for March is Reading Month and have had fun!
  • The board is interested in receiving quotes for new reading materials for the elementary. These materials were purchased previously in limited quantities and the teachers have found them very beneficial.
  • The closing of schools and the end of the season’s sports programs has been very disappointing, but is seen as a step in the right direction for everyone’s safety.
  • We will have to wait and see what the future brings as to when the board will be able to meet again.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

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