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by Patty Cheffey
Students interested in vocational programs at Palmyra R-I will soon have some outside assistance in those areas.
The R-I Board of Education approved implement vocational committees in the three vocational program at Palmyra R-I, including vocational agriculture, business and family and consumer science.
The committees were discussed at the R-I board meeting, at which the members also adopted a community engagement plan, approved several back to school items and new hires and adopted the budget for the 2023-24 school year. (See related article.)
Superintendent Jason Harper said the committees will be made up of community members and parents.
“The committees will be a combination of community members, experts in the agricultural, business and family and consumer science fields, and parents,” said Harper, noting each committee will have six to eight members and meet three times a year. “The committees are common in schools that provide vocational programs, and they help with guidance to allow schools to offer educational services to their students following the latest trends in those fields.”
According to the board, the committees are designed to improve the quality and impact of instruction in vocational programs.
In order to do this, the committees, which are expected to be formed this summer and meet prior to the start of school, will provide guidance in several areas, including occupational performance competencies, instructional objectives, equipment selection, facility modification, labor market trends, career opportunities, student recruitment and retention and instructor competencies.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recommends schools have these committees in place to improve the student experience in vocational program, Harper said.
In other business, the board approved a transfer of $1,008,283 from fund 1 to fund 4. Fund 4 money will be used to pay for the new transformer, as that purchase as well as new iPads and Macbooks when those are needed, cannot come out of fund 1.
The total amount transferred includes the DESE approved 7 percent of $496,511, the transportation transfer of $61,727 and M&M Surcharge transfer of $450,000.
The money allows the district to keep the grounds and buildings updated, Harper added.
Several persons were hired during the board meeting to fill positions, including Tanner Adams, high school assistant baseball and middle school assistant softball coach; Devon Breitling, middle school honors choir; Tracy Fountain, middle school girls track coach; Jennifer Jansen, middle school boys basketball coach; Stephen Kirtlink, elementary custodian; Mark Lickfeld, middle school head football coach; Alexis Obert, freshman class sponsor; Angel Powers, elementary paraprofessional; Whitney Ritchart, elementary physical education; Larry Seago, middle school special education teacher; Mikayla Vigil and Destiny Kizer, varsity football cheer coaches; Taylor Reynolds, middle school librarian/paraprofessional; Ariel Vaupel, middle school computers/business teacher; and Doug Wilson, middle school assistant football coach.
One resignation, from Brittani Keller, as a PAT parent educator, was accepted.
The board discussed MOCAAT, which is an organization that looks at the overall financial health of school district and can give recommendations on maximizing the use of school funds. There is no cost to join.
They also approved the MSBA 2023B policy update, which includes policies on reading interventions K-12 and reading success plans for students who are more than one grade level behind in their reading skills.
In addition, the board adopted a Community Engagement Plan, which outlines how the community can communicate with the board of education and administration.
“All schools had to have a plan in place by July 1, 2023,” said Harper. “There are few if any changes in how we currently operate, and the plan was based on current board policy.”
The board also:
• made calendar updates to include the annual staff picnic on Aug. 15 at the first professional development day, and the fall MSBA conference on Nov. 2 to 4 in Kansas City;
• approved the COVID Safe Return to school plan with no changes, which is a necessary step for the district to receive ESSER funds;
• re-adopted the conflict of interest policy, which is required annually;
• approved a cyber security plan to go into effect July 1; and
• reviewed the Clarence Cannon Conference sportsmanship results.
They also heard an update on the Title I program from Bridgette Augspurg, elementary principal.