The Sedalia 200 Board of Education met Monday evening where they discussed ways to focus on student needs as well as ways to develop student interest in the field of education.
The board heard two reports from Dr. Nancy Scott, assistant superintendent for human resources and federal programs that focused on at risk students and the migrant student population in the district.
“The district determines our at risk students,” Scott said. “We have a set of criteria that we look at when we identify a student as at risk.”
The district defines at risk students as those who are school aged who are at risk of academic failure due to one or more life experiences or academic challenges.
“The social workers, counselors, teachers and administrators do an exceptional job working with the students to provide support and offer services to help these students,” Brad Pollitt superintendent of Sedalia 200 Schools said after the meeting. “We have a number of programs in place that we use whenever a child is identified and we continue to add to those supports with programs including parents as teachers at the early childhood level through our tutoring and mentoring programs and specialized programs at the upper grade levels.
“We continue to see an increased number of students with needs that qualify them for the programs,” Pollitt added.
Migrant students in the district are not classified by the district but rather by the state.
“We continue to see a decline in the numbers of students who are placed in this program,” Scott said. “The way the state certifies them has changed but we continue to provide a great deal of support to these students to give them every opportunity for success.”
The board voted to accept the recommendation of the administration to increase the pay rate for non-certified substitutes in the district from $8.65 an hour to $10.25.
“Our substitutes do a very tough job for the district when they work in these areas,” Triplett said. “Right now many of our buildings don’t call when they need a substitute in these areas because they know how difficult they are to find so this will hopefully help to attract more individuals to be willing to sub for the district.
Attracting students to the field of education is part of a statewide initiative known as Grow Your Own presented by Scott.
Scott asked the board for permission to form a task force to look at options to address the teacher shortage especially in the areas of math and special education but also as a way to promote more diversity in the teachers hired in the district from Smith-Cotton graduates.
“We’ve looked at the program in practice in other schools and it seems to be successful,” Scott told the board. “We have a number of things to consider in how we create this but I would like to start the process this year.”
Essentially, the district would identify S-C students who express a desire to go into teaching and through a program developed by the district help those students with their post-secondary educations in exchange for an agreement that the students would return to teach in the Sedalia 200 district for a number of years.
The board granted permission for Scott to proceed with establishing the committee.
The board heard a report on the construction at the high school.
“They are working on sanding the floors in the gym and the bleachers still need to be set,” Pollitt told the board. “Those are the final two items for the gym.
“The area behind the C wing still has some work to be completed but we should be in there by the end of September,” he added. “Essentially we are on schedule and under budget which is always a positive.”
Another financial positive for the district is their ASBR report, which is required by DESE annually.
According to information presented by Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Harriett Wolfe, the district’s reserves continue to remain strong.
“At the beginning of this year our reserves stand at 56.79 percent,” Wolfe said. “I am predicting that at the beginning of next year start at 51.40 percent, which reflects a planned spend down for our current construction project.”
In other actions, the board heard a report from Carla Wheeler, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the district regarding the spring ACT Test that was given to 322 students in April.
“Last year, the first year of the required testing our students scored an 18.4 and this year our scores increased to a 19.2,” Wheeler said. “Our core scores increased in all areas which shows that the classes and programs we started at the high school have helped.”
Wheeler also discussed the release dates for district wide testing from last year.
Sedalia will receive the scores during the week of Sept. 6 and a preliminary APR will be given Oct. 3.
The final APR will be available to the public Nov. 7.
The board was given information from Pollitt concerning the West Central Conference.
I’ve been notified that two schools will be leaving our conference by the 18-19 school year,” Pollitt said. “One is St. Pius, the other is not official at this time, and so I can’t discuss what school it is.
“We will have five schools including Smith-Cotton who will remain in the conference and we are planning on meeting on Aug. 19 with the other schools to discuss our options,” Pollitt said. “We may have some possibilities but one of the problems we face is that we are a large school in a rural community and travel is a factor for us and other schools and that has to be considered.”
Prior to Monday’s meeting, at the annual district tax rate hearing, the board voted to approve the recommendation to decrease the rate from $3.9582 to $3.9061 per $100 of assessed property evaluation for the upcoming school year.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.