School board hears reports on test scores, student behavior

Oskaloosa School Board - October 2017

Oskaloosa School Board – October 2017

by Charlie Comfort

Oskaloosa, Iowa- It was a night of presentations for the Oskaloosa School Board at their regular meeting Tuesday night, as the board heard a variety of presentations dealing with student behavior and test scores.

Curriculum Director Steph Wilson was among those presenting Tuesday night. Wilson stated that the district had shown improvement with the FAST assessment and that the Oskaloosa school district had been among the top districts in the state for growth on the assessment. She also stated that the district had shown growth some growth in ACT scores. While exact numbers were not shared with the board and public at the meeting, Wilson did say that the information will be placed on the school district’s website and will be published in the district newsletter.

Also presenting on Tuesday was Rozie Warder, of Take Action Consulting. The district has contracted with Take Action Consulting to address concerns of student behavior at the elementary and middle school, which is an issue that has dominated past board meetings and played a role in September’s school board elections. Warder said that some progress has been made now that a social emotion intervention team has been established.

“I think we’re making some nice headway,” Warder said. “It’s in its infancy, I will admit,” she added.

Warder noted that compared to the previous school year, disciplinary issues and suspensions have dropped dramatically. She attributed this partly to the intervention program that has been implemented in both buildings to address behavior problems. She also noted that parent involvement in this process has been crucial to success. In January, the interventions/case review process will be looked at and tweaked if necessary.

The board also considered approval of a requested for authorized budget authority for open enrollment. Board member Carl Drost stated that he would be opposed to the request, as the district had approved a special education budget levy at a previous meeting. Drost also said that he believed the district should have addressed open enrollment better over the past year to help solve the issue. Ultimately, the board approved the request 5-1, with board member Carl Drost the lone no vote. Board member Erik Edgren was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

In other action, the board:

*Unanimously approved a request for out of state trip by students. The request came from the High School year three and four French students, who wish to visit Montreal, Canada March 6-13.
*Unanimously approved district advisory council goals.
*Unanimously approved a request for authorized budget authority for ELL Beyond five years.
*Tabled action on approval of board policy 603.6- Physical Education.
*Unanimously approved the second and final reading of revised board policy 210.2, which sets the school board meeting times at 6 p.m.
*Unanimously approved the purchase of a 77 passenger school bus, with an 83 passenger school bus to be purchased in the spring.
*Unanimously approved the appointment of Jeff Krausman, as legal counsel to represent the board in the drafting of a 28E agreement for the Early Childhood and Recreation Center. Krausman’s hourly rate will be $260 per hour.

Set November 28th as the next meeting of the Oskaloosa School Board meeting. The meeting will be a work session to discuss issues relating to the Early Childhood and Recreation Center.

The last item on the agenda was a closed session for Superintendent Evaluation and Goals. Board President Shelly Herr said prior to the board entering the closed session that there would be no action taken after the closed session.

The next meeting of the Oskaloosa School Board will be on November 28th.

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