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December 11, 2017

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

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

December 11, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.


Vice President George Schaefer called the meeting to order in the absence of President Pickard.

Board members present:   Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jim Hussey, Jodi Meader, George Schaefer, and Marianne Schlabach.

Board members absent:  Jeremy Pickard.

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

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

Public Forum

Marnett Meier, Teacher at MP West and President of the Mid-Prairie Education Association shared.  She thanked the School Board for supporting the District students and staff and recognized that there is a lot of negativity across the state due to the new law on collective bargaining.  The District’s Interest Based Bargaining efforts are unique in the state and she is very thankful for this process and the approach of the District.  The first IBB meeting was this evening and the process has started for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year.

Consent Items

Marianne Schlabach moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of November 11, 2017, and November 27, 2017;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for November 2017;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for December 11, 2017, Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of November 2017; November 30, 2017 CAO/ALC Construction Retainage Release Draw and prepaid bills;

Open Enrollment Requests

Diana Geiger requests Kyedan Geiger (Grade 4) and Brennick Geiger (Grade 1), attend Mid-Prairie from English Valley Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Nicole Seeman requests Daren Shaffer (Grade 10), attend Mid-Prairie from WACO Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Tina Childs requests Bronson Childs (Prekindergarten) attend Washington Community School District from Mid-Prairie;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Jeff Murphy, MS 7th Grade Boys Basketball Coach, $3,100 per annum;

Volunteer Coaches for Fall Sports

Nearoth Peterschmidt – HS Wrestling--$700 from Wrestling Resale;

Cameron Tolander – HS Wrestling--$700 from Wrestling Resale;

Fundraising Requests

Wrestling requests approval to raise funds through sale of coupon cards for local businesses from November 5 to 11 for Coaches Polo’s extra hotel rooms at state tournament and volunteer coaches;

NAICC Concurrent Enrollment Agreement

The contract for the 2017-18 School Year is approved for Concurrent Enrollment Career Link Programs and Courses; 

Gabrielle Frederick seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 6-0.

Special Presentations

Staff Member Spotlight

Superintendent Schneider and Principals introduced 14 staff members in all buildings to be recognized and highlighted the contributions and commitment of this group of colleagues.  Each is making significant contributions to the educational experience of our students and their teams.

Student Learning

Project Lead The Way

Principal Marc Pennington and Terra Huber presented an update on the Project Lead The Way initiative and program.  Huber sees every student in the Middle School throughout the week—a total of 440 students Grades 5 through 8—each student one time per week.  Her Innovation Lab classroom focuses on STEM knowledge and practice.  She shared the various projects each grade has tackled so far and projects planned in the next weeks and months.  She highlighted the virtual reality tour of Kalona Fall Festival for the residents of Pleasant View Home, coding projects, engineering projects, 3-D puzzles, Sphero Battle Bots.  The Board asked questions about the process of creating each class’s curriculum, coordination, and execution of the plans.  The Board thanked her for her passion, leadership, and role modeling for students.

Iowa World Language Association Conference

Superintendent Schneider introduced Dustin Miller and Jean Hussey, language teachers who attended the conference in Des Moines. They reported on their participation and learnings from the conference.  The focus of the conference was to be world citizens and part of the world workforce.  Many ideas shared on how to help conversations with Organic World Languages and these unique teaching methods.  Hussey presented the Chinese Language Learners strategies for engagement, development of pride in their backgrounds, bridging school and home, and understanding student culture and economic backgrounds.

Special Education Associates

Superintendent Schneider and Amy Shalla introduced the proposal for 3 full time Special Education Associates.  Two are needed at MP East Elementary and one is needed at the High School due to new students with significant needs that require adult support and have Individual Education Plans (IEP) requiring one-on-one staff time.  The funding for these will be from Special Education.  The Board asked questions for clarification.

Jim Hussey moved to approve proceeding with the creation of 3 additional Special Education Associates as recommended with two at MP East Elementary and one at Mid-Prairie High School.  Gabrielle Frederick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.


Line Item Budget

Superintendent Schneider and Business Manager Swartzentruber discussed the Budgeting Process.  In the early part of the Fall, the District works on a process whereby anticipated expenditures and revenues are input into the Accounting System to help guide the financial expectations. These are updated budgets from the Certified Budget process undertaken in April.  These are presented this evening given the increased wages planned for 2017-18 and as an overview for the Board to see the differences in Certified Budget.  Wages and Fringes are about 76% to 82% of total expenditures in a given year in the General Fund.  While expenditures in the Line Item Budget are higher than the Certified Budget, as well due to better, more final calculations.  Efforts to develop high level reporting like this to keep the Board better informed continue.  Questions and conversation ensued.

Drop-Out Prevention/At Risk Additional Allowable Growth Resolution

Schneider and Swartzentruber discussed this annual filing that is required.  A resolution is needed to be on file by December 15, 2017 to gather the formula based additional spending authority for Drop-Out Prevention in Fiscal Year 2019.

Marianne Schlabach moved to approve Resolution 12111701 to authorize the Superintendent to submit a request to the School Budget Review Committee for additional allowable growth in the amount of $223,726 to fund the Mid-Prairie Community School District’s Drop-Out Prevention Program for Fiscal Year 2019.  Gabrielle Frederick seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

Roll Call Vote:    Gabrielle Frederick          - yes

                           Jim Hussey                      - yes

                           Jodi Meader                     - yes

                           Jeremy Pickard                - absent

                           Marianne Schlabach        - yes     

                           George Schaefer              - yes

                           Denise Chittick                  - yes

Motion carried 6-0.

Superintendent Commitment Statement for Fiscal Year 2018-2019

Superintendent Schneider explained the annual Commitment Statement at President Pickard’s direction.  This is not a contract but is a good faith statement of intent to continue the employment relationship for the Superintendent with the School Board/District.   The document was circulated and signed by Board members present at the meeting.  Superintendent Schneider also signed the document.

Administrative Reports

Principal Jay Strickland presented an update for the High School. Highlights included: Leadership teams are brainstorming ways to revamp approaches and processes – the one team is continues to work on Culture and collaboration; He also shared about the Library Transformation project; and Internal teacher to teacher observations have wrapped up from the last six weeks—looking at positives gleaned from each other with plans to do this again in the Spring;

Principal Robin Foster presented an update for East Elementary.  Highlights included: Second Grade Teaching team and Frank Slabaugh have worked to engage students in different ways including some Interest Clubs in December two times a weeks starting at 7:45am—she shared the different clubs and leaders with excellent turn out of students with plans to go to First Grade after the Holiday break;

Principal Marc Pennington presented an update for the Middle School.  Highlights included: 2 students were selected to the Vocal Music All State group; 10 students participated in the State Mock Trial competition; this week includes the two Fine Arts Holiday Concerts; Excitement about the continued additions to the Middle School playground with a volleyball court; and Student Leadership Team is undertaking a Community Clothing Drive as a student-led service project; Discussed concerns expressed at the 8th Grade level about homework frequencies, study habits, and time management;

Principal Bill Poock presented an update for West Elementary and the District’s Preschools.  Highlights included: Fourth Grade PLC team is collaborating with the Kalona Historical Society for students to do the research the artifacts in the museum and become part of the displays at the museum with an end result to include presentations by the students to the Historical Society; the Fourth Grade team is also experimenting with Flex Fridays in STEM activities; Third Grade PLC is working in Literacy during WIN Time using a 4 to 5 week rotation to increase fluencies and comprehension;

Principal Amy Shalla presented an update for the Alternative Learning Center and Special Education interests of the District.  Highlights included: Continuing to get classes completed by ALC students; Special Education looks forward to the $95,000 WCRF grant to transform the library and involve those students; and she shared her long term vision for a traveling coffee shop bus—mobile between the communities as an effort to provide service and develop job skills;

Superintendent Schneider shared about focus on Culture during this year; the Administrators gave 6 personal days to teachers with the intention to have Administrators cover for them during their day off—intention is to complete this initiative by the end of February.

Work Session

School Board/Administrator Communication and Leadership

The group spent time discussing roles of each subgroup and expectations.  Included in this discussion were Administrative reports content and place in the meeting, realistic time allotments to agenda, etc.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

IASB Day on the Hill Conference is Tuesday, January 30, 2018.  Let Swartzentruber know if you intend to attend by January 15, 2018.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, January 8, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.    Agenda Items for the next meeting include:  Discussion of the Instruction Support Levy (ISL) as this funding source expires at the end of Fiscal Year 2019;


The meeting adjourned at 9:26 p.m.