Board Meeting in Review – March 14, 2022

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The regular meeting was held starting at 6:00 p.m.

The meeting agenda was revised to reflect the second reading of the NEOLA policies instead of the first reading, and Item #4, Hiring of Elementary Teacher, was added under Section B, Personnel.

The February board meeting minutes and treasurer’s report were approved with no changes.

Public comment:  An elementary teacher, Mrs. Kelli Arbuckle, invited everyone to the elementary students’ production of The Lion King.  There will be four performances by two casts on April 22, 23, and 24.

Another elementary teacher, Mrs. Tracy Stierle, informed the board of some of the lessons in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) that she is incorporating in her story time, as well as projects for students using “reverse engineering.”  She also commented that if the elementary students achieve their goal of reading for a total of 226,000 minutes for March is Reading Month, they will get to slime Mr. Ayers!

The board approved the second reading of the NEOLA policy updates, Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policies – February 2021 and Vol. 36, No. 1 – September 2021.

Supt. Denney updated the board on the progress made toward the board goals:

Goal #1A – data reviews as part of ongoing professional development; new curriculum that has several supports integrated into both texts and software; expansion of support offerings at all levels;  planning for summer school programming;

Goal #1B – the MICIP process; focus centered on the whole child (social-emotional needs as well as academic needs); administering STAR assessments;

Goal #1C – reviewing online offerings/providers; the high school band recently participated in MSBOA Band Festival; the production of The Lion King at the elementary; new material through COVID funding;

Goal #1D – participating in the JCISD Virtual Job Fair; building partnerships with various teacher education programs; multi-year contracts with all employment groups; expanded advertising; and facility improvement;

Goal #1E – new partnerships with Spring Arbor University and Adrian College; Survey on COVID money projects;

Goal #1F – MS/HS Comet Connections Day; presentations by Deputy Warner on behaviors/threats;

Goal #2A – final payments made on completed work from Bid Pack 1 and 2; Bid Pack 2 is on track for next summer; preliminary planning for parking lot improvements; landscaping at the secondary complex; RFPs for track and parking lots;

Goal #2B – continue receiving devices through Consumers Energy; used John George grant funds to purchase additional devices.

Goal #2C – new school nurse shared with East Jackson; Jackson County Healthcare Consortium is exploring options to lower employee costs; installation of energy efficient devices/equipment throughout the district;

The board approved the hiring of Mrs. Melissa Duffrin as the Assistant Principal in the elementary.  She had previously been hired on an interim basis for the first few months.  This will allow the elementary to start working through staff placements for next school year.

A maternity leave of absence for the rest of the school year for Mrs. Linzey Cytlak was approved.

The board approved the hiring of Mr. Dylan Zaborowski as a MS/HS At-Risk teacher for the 2022-23 school year.  He will also fill the position of varsity football coach.  Mr. Zaborowski is a graduate of Michigan Center High School and Alma College, and is currently teaching at Columbia.

The hiring of Mrs. Abigail Toyer for a 5th grade teaching position was approved.  This vacancy was created when Mrs. Emily Glaser left the district.  Mrs. Toyer has over 20 years of educational experience, and was currently employed by Hanover-Horton as a long-term building sub.

The board accepted, with regret, a letter of retirement from Mrs. Tina Stuart, to be effective at the end of this school year.  Mrs. Stuart did her student teaching at Hanover-Horton, continued to be a substitute teacher, and has been employed with the district since 1997.  She will be missed.

Superintendent Denney reported to the board members on the following:

  • Zimmer Marble will be installing new countertops in the high school restrooms near the gym over spring break.
  • March is Reading Month is in full swing at the elementary building.  Special thanks for the elementary staff for putting together this activity every year.
  • Spring sports practices started March 14th.
  • As new guidelines have been released by the CDC and the Jackson County Health Dept., our district will be easing up on the mask mandates.  Our district has had 95 positive cases in January, 12 in February, and zero so far in March.
  • The winter sports season ended with three wrestlers going to state competition.  David Fielder finished in 4th place, Josh Frailey finished in 7th place, and Danni Swihart brought home state champion honors in the first-ever girls’ wrestling state competition.  Bowler Ben Childs was a regional champion and came in 11th place in the state individual meet.  The Competitive Cheer team went to their first ever regional competition.
  • The high school band attended an MSBOA Band Festival and earned straight 1 ratings from the judges.
  • There will be a virtual job fair taking place on March 15th, where we hope to connect with some teachers looking for employment.  We will have at least three positions open in the elementary for the next school year.
  • School Board Vice President Kristin Flick was recognized by the Michigan Association of School Boards with a Certified Board Member Award and an Award of Merit.

The board members commented on the following:

  • Congratulations to School Board Secretary, Joe Childs, who is resigning as the district’s volunteer bowling coach after 20 years.  Also congratulations to Mrs. Duffrin as Elementary Assistant Principal, and to Mrs. Stuart on her upcoming retirement.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Arbuckle for all her hard work in directing the upcoming production of The Lion King at the elementary.
  • The Comet Connections days at the middle and high school have made a big impact.  Students especially enjoyed the motivational speaker.
  • The county school board meeting included a presentation by Northwest Schools on integrating general education and special education student together in their district.
  • Thank you to our dedicated staff who create a caring and positive atmosphere.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

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