It was a brief meeting, but the North County Board of Education this month took care of a good chunk of business.
Board members overhauled job descriptions which changed because of an impending retirement, heard an update on the educator bonus system Career Ladder, and heard reports from the assistant superintendents regarding primary through intermediate grades, and middle school through high school grades, as well as UniTec Career Center.
Board members adopted job descriptions for the central-office positions of insurance clerk, assistant superintendent secretary/human resources, payroll coordinator, accounts payable/SDAC coordinator, and buildings and grounds secretary.
“We’re doing that because with the retirement of Jan (Hawkins), who is in charge of our payroll department, she’s retiring so we thought it was a good time to shift duties and make things a little more equitable and align things that actually made sense,” Superintendent Katie Bockman said. “The duties were kind of scattered everywhere … It was time. Even though those duties were from 2015, duties follow people, not positions, and they just weren’t very logical.”
In terms of careers, the board heard a report on the state’s effort to resurrect Career Ladder, a program that started in Missouri in 1985 but gradually lost the state government’s funding support. North County has been footing the bill to keep their Career Ladder going, however.
“The state has approved to reinstate career ladder through the budget but we have not received any guidelines yet, we just know it’s going to change next year,” she said. “It should add funds to the Career Ladder program, but it also may change the restrictions, so we’re kind of waiting in limbo until they decide how that’s going to look.”
Assistant Superintendents Jason Samples and Brandon Gregory updated board members about the various happenings throughout the district.
Samples, who is in charge of primary grades through intermediate school, said Primary staff and faculty were encouraged to apply for grants and have done so. During Teacher Appreciation Week, Bryant Restoration and General Custard’s Retreat provided the Holy Grounds Coffee Truck to staff for a day, and Scoops on Main donated ice cream and color-changing spoons to the Special Education Department. Hub’s Pub donated gift certificates and catered a “Nacho Average Teacher” nacho bar, Belgrade State Bank donated a fruit tray, and First State Community Bank donated a large variety of snacks for the staff lounge.
Samples said teachers won a Facebook challenge for the most “tagged school” in St. Francois County and Rae Cole’s Coffee Shop donated a coffee bar to them. One first grade class made treat bags for a service learning project for the recent fishing tournament for wounded veterans.
Samples gave the custodial staff a word of thanks for getting teachers moved into their new classrooms and spiffing up the buildings. He also thanked bus drivers of Bus 5, Bus 1, and the Double Deuce for stepping up for Fun Day and shuttling students from the Primary to the High School for field events the kids enjoyed.
Parkside Elementary teachers who had students submit poems for Arbor Day were thanked, as well as those who attended the dual Bonne Terre Garden Club and Chamber of Commerce celebration.
At the Intermediate School, Samples said, MAP testing ended in April and it seems they are closing the achievement gap from lost instructional time due to COVID over the last two years. The last week of school was filled with Raider Rewards, field trips, field days, and an awards ceremony celebrating students and their accomplishments.
Samples finished his report saying the Comprehensive School Improvement Committee (CSIP) met for their second meeting on May 10, and about 30 district stakeholders that included teachers, instructional coaches, parents, district chamber of commerce members, students, and administrators attended. The final meeting is June 7 at the Primary Library and Cafeteria, and Samples hopes the new CSIP will align well with the updated MSIP 6 standards and be ready for board approval in July.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brandon Gregory said North County Middle School observed their principal’s retirement recently. He said Brenda Hampton will be missed by students and staff.
North County High School’s Senior Awards were held and recognition was given out along with 36 scholarships.
Gregory said the Industrial Arts Competition had high school students compete and seven out of seven projects received a 1 rating, the highest that could be attained, with a second placing in novice welding. Kyle Carver achieved a perfect score and was state grand champion in advanced welding. Will Dugal and Ruger Govero both competed in the state golf tournament.
At UniTec, students competed in the VEX Robotics World Championships, where two teams placed sixth and 30th from around the world, and UniTec/MAC’s adult team placed 16th in the world.
The annex building has been ordered and the fundraising goal for Phase 1 has been met. The grant that will build the construction technology annex has been submitted for reimbursement.
In other business, the board:
- Approved a loan extension on the house that will be built in Bonne Terre by UniTec Career Center students. Construction will begin in August. UniTec students have worked on Habitat for Humanity houses and helped built a salt storage building for the City of Bonne Terre in recent years.
- Reviewed a card of thanks from West County officials expressing gratitude for North County raising money in honor of deceased student Katlynn Newhouse, a West County junior who died in a car accident on Highway 8 on April 2 while on her way to work in Park Hills.
- Reviewed the bus leases, an annual endeavor. Bockman said the 2019 lease was paid off last fall, the 2021 lease will be paid off next fall “so we’re catching up on that,” and the 2022 bus leases will be paid in full. She said American Rescue Plan Act money and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief money, both funding emanating from the coronavirus relief efforts, are the chief reasons for the timely pay-offs. Bockman said the district is also switching from diesel-powered to gasoline buses.
- Approved a bid for replacing the Middle School roof, which will be handled by Meinershagen Roofing and Sheet Metal LLC.
- Heard a report that Teacher Appreciation Week May 2-6 had instructors gifted with a free car wash at the Auto Spa.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com.