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December 10, 2018

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

Mid-Prairie Central Office Community Room, Wellman, IA  52356

December 10, 2018 – 6:15 p.m.


Vice-President Marianne Schlabach called the meeting to order in the absence of President Jeremy Pickard.

Board members present:   Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Gerry Kahler, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, Marianne Schlabach, and Emily Uhl.

Board members absent:  Jeremy Pickard.

Also Present:  Mark Schneider, Jeff Swartzentruber, Robin Foster, Rachel Kerns, Bill Poock, Amy Shalla and Jay Strickland.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Jodi Meader.  Motion carried 6-0.


Home School Assistance Program Band and Strings Programs

Rachel Kerns, Home School Assistance Program Executive Director, introduced Sheila Raim, and Norman Brooks to discuss the Strings and Band Programs, respectively, at the Home School Assistance Program.  The Strings program is in its first year as an offering.  There are 47 students participating in strings, 34 students in band, and 132 students are participating in all the Choirs.  Raim brought 3 students to play a number of Christmas Carols along with her.

Update on Elementary Realignment

Elementary Principals Robin Foster and Bill Poock shared observations and outcomes after 1+ years of Elementary School realignment and grade-alike attendance centers.  It is reported that this has become the new normal such that an update is hard to delineate as this new normal has become ingrained into the culture of each elementary building.  They shared about the different committees, teams, PLC’s, and common special teachers in the buildings.  They also shared about the challenges of transitions between the buildings, especially from Preschool to Kindergarten and then to First Grade with energy and effort now focused on improving those transitions.  Preschool and Kindergarten are in both elementary buildings.  They opened the conversation to questions and observations from the Board.  It was noted that the realignment continues to be perceived as a positive by most all constituents.

MP Future Enrollment Study

Superintendent Schneider discussed conversations he is having with a firm, RSP Associates from Kansas City, about a study of enrollment trends in the upcoming years, especially given consideration of how growth has impacted, Clear Creek-Amana, North Liberty, and Solon in the past 3 to 5 years.  Schneider presents this to the board as a possibility to consider, especially as the Facilities Planning Committee meets.  The cost of the proposal from RSP is $12,000.  While Schneider is not asking for a decision, he would like the Board to be aware of this discussion, and possibly some direction to move or not as this within his spending authorization.  The board gave informal support of the direction for the study.

Superintendent Commitment Statement

Superintendent Schneider shared the document that is normally presented for discussion and signatures by the Board and Superintendent the meeting after completing the Superintendent Annual Evaluation.   This signals the Board’s intention, not legally binding, to extend a contract, or not, for the next School Year.  The document was circulated and signed by Board members present and by Schneider.

Board Member and Administrator Dialogue

  • Principal Strickland explained the Chapter 12 Waiver for Physical Education that notes the District meets the minutes but not the days requirements.  This is due to the block scheduling—the District does not run on Quarters.  The Waiver is for the previous school year and the current school year.
  • Principal Amy Shalla shared about the need for the Special Education Associate at West Elementary.
  • Tyler Hotz, Activities Director, and Strickland discussed the Good Conduct Policy.  Hotz is administering the policy by splitting Athletics activities from Fine Arts/Leadership activities.  For Athletics, he uses one-third of the games.  For Fine Arts/Leadership, he uses the actual days in the session and uses one-third of the days.  Questions were asked about split between two seasons.  He is asking the Board to consider changing the policy formally during the Business Session.  It was noted that if acted on in the Business Meeting, it would a First Reading tonight with a Second Reading and implementation if passed at the January 14, 2019 School Board Meeting.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

  • There is a legislative forum at the Iowa City Community School District on December 14, 2018 at 4pm.
  • Gabrielle Frederick shared a bit about her experience at the delegate assembly at IASB in mid-November.  It was a wonderfully positive experience, especially as she proposed an amendment to the mental health resolution in the legislative priorities portion of the agenda.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

Tabled to later in this Board meeting.


Public Forum– 7:15 p.m.

Abby Sojka spoke to the Board about Special Education and her passion for this part of education.  She commended the Administrators for their approach to the Mid-Prairie Special Education program and philosophy, making it a top flight program in her experience and opinion.  She expressed her deep appreciation and admiration for the District’s approach to Special Education needs.

Consent Items

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of November 26, 2018;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for November 2018;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for December 10, 2018 and Prepaid Bills, Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of November 2018;

Open Enrollment Requests – No applications made

Personnel Items – None

Fundraising Requests

The Big Hawk Little Hawk Mentoring Program requests approval to raise funds through the sale of MP Golden Hawk key chains from December 2018 to May 2019, to create a fund for the annual December gift from the Big Hawks to the Little Hawks;

Girls Basketball Program requests approval to raise funds through a Free Throw Pledge Fundraiser on December 27th so the Varsity Girls can raise funds for travel gear;

MP West Elementary requests approval to raise funds through a collection of donated, new pajamas from families from December 17, 2018 to January 14, 2019 as part of Scholastic Pajama Drive to promote and support a family bedtime routine;

Denise Chittick seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 6-0.

Student Learning

Chapter 12 Waiver for Physical Education (PE)

Superintendent Schneider and High School Principal Jay Strickland introduced and explained the Chapter 12 Waiver for PE. There was time allowed for the public to make comment on the Waiver for PE.  The Board asked questions for clarification and discussed the pros and cons of implementation.

Denise Chittick moved to approve the Chapter 12 Waiver for Physical Education as presented.  Jodi Meader seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Good Conduct Policy – 503.4

Superintendent Schneider stated that the board can discuss only or move to pass on first reading.   Tyler Hotz, Mid-Prairie Activities Director, discussed ideas and approaches for implementing and tightening the current Good Conduct Policy.  The Board affirmed the wording and intent of the wording as presented by Hotz.

Denise Chittick moved to approve the Good Conduct Policy 503.4 on First Reading as presented.  Emily Uhl seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Special Education Associate at West Elementary

Superintendent Schneider discussed the proposal and rationale for a request to add one full time Special Education Associate at West Elementary by pointing to the earlier discussion during the Work Session portion of the meeting.  This position will be paid out of Special Education funds.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve an additional full-time Special Education Associate at West Elementary as requested.  Emily Uhl seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

First Reading, Board Policies 201, 202.3, 213, and 402.5

Superintendent Schneider brought for discussion and approval on First Reading, the following policies:

201 Board of Directors’ Elections – Change of the election date to November;

203.3 Term of Office – Follows the change in election dates;

213 Public Participation In Board Meetings – Additional language to define “disruptive behavior” by providing some examples, not an exhaustive list;

402.5 Public Complaints About Employees – Language that fine tunes the policy to promote free speech and to follow the established protocols;

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve Polices 201 Board of Directors’ Elections, 203.3 Term of Office, 213 Public Participation in Board Meetings, and 402.5 Public Complaints About Employees on First Reading as presented.  Jodi Meader seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Work Session

Completion of Unfinished Work Session Items

There were no unfinished items from the Work Session at the start of the meeting.


The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, January 14, 2019, at 6:15 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  Agenda items for consideration include:   Grant Wood AEA staff will present; Second Readings of the Policies passed at tonight’s meeting; and approval of At-Risk/Drop Out program and resolution for School Year 2019-2020.


The meeting adjourned at 7:36p.m.