Tepid response to entrance idea

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     A preliminary look at changes to the high school entrance – part of the project that will include building a new middle school to attach to the high school – was met with tepid response from members of the Monticello School board during its regular meeting Jan. 28.

     Slides from OPN Architects showing several renderings of the high school entrance project had some things board members seemed to like, including a large Panther sign on the northeast corner of the gym that could be illuminated from behind, and light posts in various spots around the entrance.

     Less appreciated was a canopy that would hang partway over the entrance area. And overall, the board expressed interest for OPN to suggest other ideas.

     “This is not a ‘wow’ yet,” board president Bud Johnson said.

     In an action item at Monday’s meeting, the board approved a 2019-20 school calendar that is similar to the current one. By Iowa law the district cannot start a new school year prior to Aug. 23, which falls on a Friday this year. Winter break would begin Dec. 23 and students wouldn’t return for classes until Jan. 6, 2020. There is a March 16-21 spring break, and Commencement is set for Sunday, May 24, 2020.

     The calendar calls for 17 dismissals at 2 p.m. for professional development, seven scheduled PD days and six collaboration days.

     On the topic of scheduling, Superintendent Brian Jaeger said the district was exploring using one PD day and one collaboration day in current calendar as classroom days to try to make up for the many closings the district has had this winter. The idea would be to use two likely closings this week and have teachers only come in.

In other board business:

     • The board heard a report from Curt Tauke on the technology part of the Strategic Operating Plan. Tauke discussed repairs of the Chromebooks being used district-wide, saying that screens and keyboards were the items that broke most often.

     He also suggested the district’s next round of computer purchases include Chromebooks with touch screens, which he said increases the computers’ educational value.

     • The board approved the first reading of policies relating to elections, membership, and the annual meeting. In each case, new Iowa laws are requiring the district to move them from September to November.

     • The board also approved the first reading of the new policy pertaining to facility naming rights. The rights have listed costs ranging from $10,000 for various classrooms up to $1 million for the high school building. The board would need to approve the naming rights on a case-by-case basis.

     • The board approved the second and final reading of a policy on Title I Parent and Family Engagement, involving parents in a home-school partnership to help provide the best possible education for students.

     • The board voted to create a Middle School Student Council, as well as high school National Honor Society sponsor positions.

     • As part of the consent agenda, under Personnel, the board approved the appointments of Kolby Harms as varsity baseball coach, Jenna Peters as assistant girls track coach, and the following special education child specific associates: Stephanie Eagleburger and Courtney Langer at the high school, Tamela Lawrence at the middle school, Ashley Christensen at Shannon Elementary, and Austin Davidson at the Alternative High School.

     • Also in Personnel, the board approved the resignations of Doug Ries as assistant varsity softball coach, and Dale Sperfslage as assistant varsity baseball coach.

     • Also in Personnel, the board amended the contract of Traysa Orcutt as special education child specific associate at the middle school, the transfer of Abby Taylor as special education child specific associate from Shannon to Carpenter, and the transfer of Karen Menster as food service employee from the high school to the middle school.



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