R-I board hears special ed update
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by Patty Cheffey
The Palmyra R-I School District has seen an increase in special education students over the past five years.
During last week’s R-I Board of Education meeting, Kinsey Cissna, special education director, presented an update on that program.
Also during the meeting, the board approved an update to the district curriculum director job description, approved several hires, accepted two resignations, discussed the 2022-23 school year calendar and heard various reports.
While noting the number of students has increased who are receiving special education services, Cissna noted the district met the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s criteria in implement the requirements and purposes of the Individual with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).
The district scored four out of four in all 10 of the determination areas, which DESE uses to assess special education programs.
That is good news since currently 16 percent of the schools’ population, or 191 students, are receiving special education services.
That population has increased over the past five years from 169 students to the current number.
In other business, the board implemented a change to the district’s curriculum director’s job description, adding 10 days outside of the regular school year contract.
With the resignation of Larry Seago, the current district curriculum director, at the end of the school year due to retirement, the district will be looking to fill that position sometime this year, according to Superintendent Kirt Malone.
The board also approved the hirings of Jenifer Kline and Kortney McDonough as Parents as Teacher parent educators; Micah Johnson as a special education teacher for the 2022-23 school year and Nicole Harper as a seventh grade science teacher and middle school Science Olympiad sponsor the 2022-23 school year.
Mark Loman, high school teacher, and Larry Seago, high school assistant principal, announced they will retire at the end of the school year.
The board discussed next year’s school calendar and is expected to approve the privatized calendar in November after the teachers vote on the two options in January.
Seago provided a report on the A+ program.
In 2021, 66 students graduated with A+ distinction, a slight increase over the previous year.
Palmyra High School has 181 students enrolled in the A+ program this year.
Michelle Harris and Trina Schindler provided a report on the Early Childhood special education and Pre-K programs.
Discussion was held on School Board Recognition Month which is in March this year.
The board heard a first reading of MSBA policy ACA update.
The sub list was updated as presented.