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by Patty Cheffey
The formation of a new safety program at the elementary school and a new sewing club at the middle school were among the topics reviewed at the recent Palmyra R-I Board of Education meeting.
In addition, the board reviewed the recent audit, approved a band trip to Nashville, Tenn. and heard an update on the Parents as Teachers program.
Bridgette Augspurg, elementary school principal, presented a request to be allowed to create a Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program at the school, which the board approved.
According to information from Augspurg, WatchDOGS are fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S.® school.
During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on ﬂash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic ﬂow and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their own students, but other students as well.
The Watch D.O.G.S. program has two primary goals. 1. To provide male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important, and 2. To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying. Schools who have the program in place have reported reduced reports of bullying.
Augspurg plans to start the program after Christmas and will be distributing information this fall to families. At some point the school will host a pizza dinner for dads who are interested in participating.
Katie Uhlott, middle school home economics teacher, and six Palmyra Middle School students gave a report on the new sewing club at Palmyra Middle School.
The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school and students are doing all types of sewing projects, including everything from basic handsewn items to sewing patterns on machines. The group has well over 20 girls and boys participating and the club is continuing to grow.
In other business, the school approved the outside audit for the 2022-2023 school year from Dennis G. Koch and Associates. The audit had the following findings for the district:
• compliant with all regulations regarding budget, attendance, and transportation;
• compliant in all areas of federal programs;
• no significant deficiencies disclosed of the financial statements;
• no material weaknesses were reported;
• no instances of noncompliance material to the financial statements, which must be reported if they exist; and
• no significant deficiencies in internal control over major federal award programs.
Because of the audit results, the Palmyra R-I School District qualified as a low-risk auditee.
“The audit results were excellent for Palmyra R-I and the community as a whole,” noted Superintendent Jason Harper. “The Board of Education continues to be a good steward of district funds. Factors such as free and reduced lunch count, or expenditure per pupil, are more likely to affect state and federal grants.
The board approved a band trip to Nashville, Tenn. for April 25-28, 2024, to participate in front of a clinician who will provide feedback to the band.
The trip will allow students to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Zoo and Opry Mills Mall, and attend a ghost tour of Nashville for kids and the awards ceremonies from their competition.
Kathy Nicholson gave her annual report on Parents as Teachers.
The program currently has 183 families enrolled and has a total of 251 children.
Parents as Teachers focuses on child development from pre-natal to kindergarten, focusing on child development and identification of children with potential delays or health concerns Nicholson said. Once identified, these children are connected with potential community resources.
Parents as Teachers hosts multiple group connection events that include the Big Dig, Winter Wonderland, the Truck Rally, Pedal Power, Celebrate Summer, Block Party, Under the Sea, Messy Play and Kindergarten Here We Come, she added, noting they also host a playgroup every Tuesday morning for any family who would like to attend.
“The Palmyra R-I Parents as Teachers program is one of the leading PAT programs in the state of Missouri,” she added.
Kayla McBride, Palmyra R-I testing coordinator, gave a report on MAP and EOC results for the district. The results varied between content areas and grade levels.
The district will have a better understanding of where the state test scores fell for our students after the state results are released in December with the district APR.
The board will also host a board retreat on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon.
The board will be sending out a survey to community members, parents, students, and staff in November, and will review data from the survey at the December retreat.
“The survey will address many areas of the school district,” said Harper. “Parents and community members will be able to prioritize needs for the school district that include areas such as student discipline, district facilities, academic performance on standardized tests, communication, safety and security and technology among other things.
The board approved changes to MSBA policies AC, BBBA-1, BBF, and EF. Policy AC and EF included recommended changes to the non-discrimination statement.
Policy BBBA-1 adds a requirement that board members must have lived in the district for at least one year preceding the election. BBF clarifies board member principles. With the approval, these policies are official district policy.
The school board and Harper will be attending the state MSBA Conference in Kansas City Nov. 2-4. The members will be able to choose breakout sessions throughout the conference to gather ideas to bring back to Palmyra.
The board approved a donation from Tyler Brumbaugh of Brumbaugh Fencing, LLC, to provide material and labor to install a fence at Palmyra Elementary. The fence will enclose the outdoor classroom and provide safety for students that use that area.
The board approved the following hires:
Courtney Lee, school based social worker; Sean Frankenbach, bus driver; and Lori Titsworth, Palmyra Elementary custodian
The board accepted the resignations of Stephen Kirtlink, Palmyra Elementary custodian; Barb Glenn, bus driver; and Becca Harrison, Parents as Teachers .
The board also approved the updated substitute teacher list.