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School board OKs new summer plan

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Fifth, seventh, ninth grades will be added

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County School Board voted unanimously at Thursday’s meeting to fund an expanded summer school program.

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The district will now add intensive 1-month literacy programs in fifth, seventh and ninth grades to the programs installed last year for first and third grades.

The district is working to build a curriculum based on the Comprehensive Intervention Model (CIM), which administrators used for the younger grades in last year’s first revamped summer program.

The district has identified fifth, seventh and ninth grades, along with first and third, as key transition areas.

The fifth-grade students will help the district reach its Big Goal, which has every student entering middle school on grade level in reading by 2012. The seventh-grade focus is to have students ready and on grade-level in reading to transition into high school.

And ninth grade may be the most important transition.

Superintendent James Neihof noted that if students are not on grade level in reading in ninth grade, it can be a major flag for students who potentially could drop out.

“If we want all our students to graduate college and be career ready, then this is a key moment in their growth,” he told the board.

And that was all the needed to hear to pass the program.

Board member Allen Phillips noted that he hopes the older students are as committed as the younger ones were last year.

“I hope every parent and student we invite to this program gets on board all the way,” he said. “This program did really great last year, and I think we’ll see that again, but everybody has to be fully committed.”

Neihof asked the board for $125,000 in funding, about $25,000 more than last year.

That amount will not cover the entire program, but he said he would rather have the extra available instead of having to come back and ask the board for more.

The district will used Title 1 and Big Goals (EduJobs) money, about $212,000 expected to be remain at the end of the school year, before dipping in the board authorized funds to pay for the  nearly $300,000 program.

After the vote was passed, board chairman Sam Hinkle wanted to make sure those in attendance took notice and remembered this vote down the line.

“Here, we’ve taken money from our reserve for something that is extraordinarily important, so please everyone remember this in the fall when we’re setting the tax rate,” he said. “Some people think we should be cutting programs, but this is why we have the reserve – to fund programs like this.”

Extra service pay schedules

The board also voted unanimously to change the extra service pay schedules starting in the 2011-12 school year.

Instead of extra-service pay increasing with each level experience, the pay will instead be set at certain amounts. Any employee currently  making more than the set amount for the on the new pay schedule will have their pay frozen at that level, and any new higher will be set at the new level. There will no longer be an experience increment increase in extra-service pay.

When all higher-pay positions are replaced, by the employee leaving or retiring, the district will save about $86,000 annually.

Recognition

The board recognized two-time district spelling bee winner Jessica League, and noted that she will compete again on March 19 at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium in the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee.

The district also recognized several WOW award winners. Kim Crick, Donna Waits, Heather Fallen, Molly Davie and Rebbie Holtzworth (all from Painted Stone) for their work with a presentation at the annual Reading Recovery conferment in Columbus, Ohio, last month. Mindy Stella for her leadership in helping the district advance its use of technology and Julie Webb, the SCHS library and media specialist, for going above and beyond in helping a student set up video conference for his class with author Rick Reilly.

School presentation

The board heard a presentation from Southside Elementary about its recent Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant from OVEC.

The grant is a 3-year program that provides the school with a Healthy Lifestyles Coach, Diana O’Toole, who is also splitting time with a Henry County school, and  working with students, teachers and cafeteria staff to teach better life skills.

The board also:

  • Amended the school calendar, removing two days from the end of the year. The last day for students will now be June 3. Other school classified and certified staff will work June 6-7 to fulfill contract obligations.
  • Approved renewing the district insurance bids.