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Middle school teacher recognized by R-I Board

Middle school teacher recognized by R-I Board

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Fredericktown R-I School Board

Fredericktown R-I School Board President Richard Allgier presents KABMS Teacher Cassy Mills with a card at the meeting, Sept. 15.

The Fredericktown R-I School Board recognized one of the district's exceptional teachers, Sept. 15.

Kelly A. Burlison Sixth Grade Science Teacher Cassy Mills was chosen by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as the Regional Teacher of the Year. 

"We've had people nominated before but, to my knowledge, since I've been here, we've never actually had a regional teacher of the year until now," Assistant Superintendent Shannon Henson said. "I think a lot of the fanfare that takes place, we missed out on a lot of that for her nomination and her award, but we are very appreciative of what she does for our district.

Henson said Mills is a shining example for the district and something they should be proud of.

"Even as a parent, with kids that have had you and prior students, they have all raved," Board Member Jennifer Hale said. "We really appreciate what you do and sparking that light bulb."

Mills said her students mean everything to her and were part of the reason she chose not to apply for the Missouri Teacher of the Year. She said the teacher chosen would have to travel and she did not want to be out of her classroom.

"The kids, they are my favorite thing about teaching," Mills said. "They are wonderful. I'm excited every day to go to school."

The board expressed its appreciation by presenting Mills with a gift.

In other business, the board approved the assessment plan. Assistant Superintendent Melanie Allen said the plan reveals the strong purpose of making data driven decisions regarding curriculum, assessment, and instructional programs.

"All of our assessments are aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards and are used to drive instruction for grade levels, classes, groups, and individual students through pre and post assessments," Allen said. "Most assessments are technology enhanced and have at least one adaptive component per building allowing for enrichment and leveled learning for all students."

Allen went over the state and local assessment plan in detail with the board. She said teachers and administrators are knowledgeable about the plan and the various types of assessments used for their assigned area of instruction and/or grade.

Superintendent Chadd Starkey said, as of his last count, the district had around 65 to 70 students quarantined. He said the number has been hanging around that mark for the last week or so.

"As far as positives go, we have 18 from before school started until now," Starkey said. "A couple of them were completely virtual and they are not all right now. This is cumulative from over the summer until now."

Starkey said they had one at primary, three at intermediate and seven each at the high school and middle school. 

"Staff wise we've had 12 positives from all different areas, bus drivers, food service, teachers, etc.," Starkey said. "I think we may have one active right now."

Starkey said it has been difficult to deal with and the staff has struggled with how to deal with the three layers of teaching kids, seated, coming and going from quarantine and virtual.

"We keep bouncing around ideas of ways to help alleviate some of the difficulties there," Starkey said. "I don't know if any of them are good, but we are working on different ways to try and help with that."

Starkey said there are lots of issues, including kids not doing the work or virtual students getting behind on work. He said they are trying to get them back into school if they can.

"It is difficult. It is not easy for sure," Starkey said. "We are hanging in there, fourth week."

KABMS Principal Ken Lunsford said he recently went to a principals' meeting and the R-I district was the only one which built barriers in its classrooms.

"When it comes to the contact tracing, when we had a positive in our building, thank goodness we had the barriers," Lunsford said. "The barriers acted to where it did not count toward the 15 minutes because they had that in between the kids and thank goodness. I can not imagine what it would be like in one of these other schools if a kid turns positive and they are going to have to contact trace the minutes that kid had been around. The barriers were a great thing for us."

Before the meeting went into closed session, Starkey had one more request for the board.

Starkey said we are sitting in a time where there is a lot of stress and anxiety and we are currently in a six week stretch with no breaks for students and staff. 

"We were sitting around throwing around ideas and we thought about adding a non-attendance day on Oct. 2, which is our homecoming date," Starkey said. "We can add it back in at the end of the calendar if we want to, but we are well over the 1,044 hour requirement."

The board agreed staff and students could use a break and approved the non-attendance day. 

The next meeting of the Fredericktown R-I School Board is 5 p.m., Oct. 20.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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