GRAVETTE – Alaina Carlton, mother of a student at Gravette schools, addressed the school board at its July 19 meeting to express concerns about discussions about vaccinations in schools. She told board members that she believes there should be no discussion about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of vaccines, covid-19 or otherwise, in the classroom.
She said decisions about vaccination should be a matter between parents, their children and their doctors, and she said there should be a plan in place to ensure that such discussions do not happen. Carlton said she knew at least eight other parents who felt the same way.
School superintendent Maribel Childress introduced seven newly hired teachers, and each spoke briefly to the board and gave a brief profile of themselves. New recruits in attendance were Jared Schoonover, Assistant Principal of Gravette High School; Kinsley Hurtt, GHS Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences; Blake Boyd, professor of key coding and computer science at Gravette College; Alex (AJ) Herrlein, GMS math teacher and head wrestling trainer; Meghan Herrlein, professor of English and social studies at GMS; Chelsea Sarratt, GMS English teacher; and Mike Williams, educational examiner.
Business manager Dennis Kurczek gave the financial report, saying nearly $ 600,000 was received in property taxes in June. He said the district went over budget for teacher salaries but all utilities were under budget and said $ 126,000 had been received for state aid. Kurczek distributed a poll seeking feedback on how the elementary and secondary school emergency aid funds received by the school should be spent. He commented that they were to be used primarily for direct support of students in the prevention or response to covid-19.
Childress reported on the Spring 2021 School Discipline Report, with fall and spring numbers for comparison. She reported on the frequency of referrals and the types of violations. Board members said they were surprised more students at Glenn Duffy Elementary School were reported for name calling, verbal abuse and obscene gestures than at all other schools combined. Principal Nikki Brecheen said that in many cases this came from students who were not emotionally mature enough to know how to react to stress. When stressful situations arise, she noted, they sometimes just replicate the behavior they have seen in others and sometimes may not even know what it means. Disrespectful behavior and disorderly conduct were highest in college. Excessive delay was a big problem in high school, with 210 cases of delay reported.
Childress also reported on data from the ACT Aspire Spring 2021 test, including the number of students tested and their comparison to regional and national scores. Board members were particularly concerned about the poor reading scores in grade nine. Childress said more ninth graders were out of school due to the covid pandemic.
Council members voted unanimously to accept the offer of $ 2,400 each from Elk River Floats in Noel, Missouri, for the sale of two school buses.
Rebecca Sears led a discussion on needed changes to the district manual. Some board members expressed concerns about the conflict between the district textbook and individual school textbooks. Council members voted to approve the district manual with updates and changes discussed. Textbooks for individual schools were discussed, but no action was taken on their approval.
The directors of the buildings presented the improvement plans for their schools. After some discussion, council members voted to approve the school improvement plans with minor changes discussed. Childress noted that reading is “a major goal” in all schools and that goals have been set for schools to show a 5% increase in test scores.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the 2021-2022 school district goals. Childress said they were very similar to last year, and teachers will strive for the highest growth possible. The goals will be made public and there are plans to work on them every month.
Board members voted to approve a second reading of school policies and voted to approve all policies except policy 4.60. They also made several changes to the schedule of board meetings and working sessions, and Childress noted that since there are still several vacancies within the faculty, another hiring session would be required. .
In other cases, Springfield Grocers was approved as the primary supplier of groceries for the 2021-2022 school year, and board members voted to purchase a total of 75 personal computers and 75 monitors from CDWG at a cost of $ 87,463.13.
Unanimous approval was given to the expenditure of $ 18,203 from the construction fund to redo the flooring of the administrative building as described in Miller Commercial Flooring’s bid. Richard Carver, the maintenance department supervisor, noted that the flooring in the boardroom and superintendent’s office is 10 years old and the flooring in the lobby and other offices is the flooring of origin.
Board members met in an executive session around 10:15 p.m. to discuss employee resignations, employee transfers and other personnel matters. When they returned to the regular session at 10:48 p.m., they voted to hire Lisa Baker as a counselor at Glenn Duffy Elementary School, Carolyn Huntsman as an Interventionist Gravette Upper Elementary Title I, Mali Schreiber as as Senior Elementary Purchasing Secretary, Justin Garton as Gravette High School Theater Teacher and Director of the Performing Arts Center, and Julia Lipscomb as Secondary / Reading Dyslexia Specialist.
Council members also voted to approve the hiring of elementary art / intervention and elementary music / intervention positions for the 2021-2022 school year. These will be one-year positions only and will be reassessed for future funding in spring 2022.
Finally, council members voted to approve the transfer of a grade 10 student from Gravette to the Bentonville school district and the transfers of a grade 6 student from the Gentry school district and a kindergarten student from the district. school from Bentonville to the Gravette school district.