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September 11, 2017

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

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

September 11, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.


President Jeremy Pickard called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Gabrielle Frederick, Jim Hussey, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, George Schaefer, Marianne Schlabach, and Jeremy Statler.

Board members absent:  None.

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

Marianne Schlabach moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Jodi Meader.  Motion carried 7-0.

Public Forum

Bill Cooney from the Kalona News was introduced as the new incoming editor and welcomed.  No one else spoke.

Consent Items

George Schaefer moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of August 14, 2017 and August 28, 2017;

Finance Report

The Finance Reports for August 2017 and updated June 2017;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for September 11, 2017, Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of August 2017; August 2017 CAO/ALC Construction and MPCSD Elementary Schools Construction Draws and prepaid bills;

Open Enrollment Requests

Shante Domiguez-Rodriguez requests Mala’khi Rodriguez (Kindergarten) and Nadia Rordriguez (Grade 7), attend Mid-Prairie from Columbus Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Peter and Sherri Keller request Elijah Keller (Grade 2), Serene Keller (Grade 4), and Peter Keller (Grade 9), attend Mid-Prairie from English Valley Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Sara Hektoen requests Theodore Hektoen (Kindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from Iowa City Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Nicole Green requests Landon Green (Grade 5), attend Mid-Prairie from Washington Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Kim Rich requests Anneliese Roller (Grade 12), attend Mid-Prairie from Washington Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Benjamin and Stephanie Valverde request Abigail Jackson (Grade 3), attend Mid-Prairie from Washington Community School District for the 2017-18 School Year;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Cheyenne Neal, Middle School Assistant Volleyball Coach, $1,467 per season;

Contract issued to Eric Thorton, Middle School Assistant Volleyball Coach, $2,214 per annum;

Contract issued to Linda Newell, Special Education and Preschool Van Driver, $15.48 per hour;

Fundraising Requests

Mid-Prairie Bands and Choir requests approval to raise funds through the sale of cookies from September 19th to September 22nd for Music Trip;

MP Student Boosters requests approval to Color Run Fundraiser on October 2nd with activities from September 8th to October 21st to assist with field trips, assemblies and extra activities for Preschool through 8th Grade.

Jeremy Statler seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 7-0.

Student Learning

Summer Trip to Eminence

Superintendent Schneider introduced the group of eleven teachers that traveled to Eminence Kentucky this Summer.  They shared their energy, impressions, and takeaways from the trip.

0.5 FTE MP-West Special Education Teacher

Superintendent Schneider and Principal Poock shared their recommendation and rational for a new half-time Special Education Teacher.  Costs for the position will depend on education and experience of the person hired.

Jim Hussey moved to approve the recommendation for a 0.5 FTE Special Education Teacher at West Elementary.  Gabrielle Frederick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 7-0.

Community Use of Facilities

Superintendent Schneider directed the Board’s attention to the website on activities at the churches on Wednesday nights as well as Activities in the Buildings in the 2015-16 School Year. He has also reached out to Derrick Cranston with an idea to start a community focus group.   This is continued work as it relates to the conversation started in August about the use of Facilities on Wednesday nights as a concern and recommendation presented by the Mid-Prairie Council of Churches.  President Pickard reported on conversations with Nitro and Bulltown board presidents about Wednesday night practices and learned that they have focused on keeping these types of activities to a minimum.


Bids for Suburban

Superintendent Schneider recommends that the Suburban be replaced due to the maintenance issues currently experienced with the vehicle.  A decision on new—through the State’s program for schools—versus a used low mileage alternative was discussed.  Board discussed approach and gave direction to look for what would be available as the best long term deal.  No formal action was taken.

Communications Specialist

Superintendent Schneider shared his recommendation and rational for a new Communications Specialist.  It is proposed the prospective employee would work 12 to 15 hours per week for 44 weeks with an estimated cost to the District of $12,000 to $16,000 per year.  An overview of the Job Expectations and recognition of priorities within this position is on the Board website.

Jim Hussey moved to approve the creation of a Communication Specialist position not to exceed 15 hours per week.  Jeremy Statler seconded the motion.    Motion carried 7-0.

Administrative Reports

Principal Jay Strickland presented an update for the High School. Highlights included:  Sees an increase in collaboration at the High School; Students as of September 11, 2017 at 356; All buildings took the Colors Training:  Jay sees this as an expanding opportunity; Focus on student connection and relationships, as well as mental toughness; Early stages of development of a new design for the Library; Student Leadership team development—40 students expressed interest to be involved; and Homecoming activities are this week.

Principal Robin Foster presented an update for East Elementary.  Highlights included: East Elementary has 332 students as of September 11, 2017; Excitement has been quite high at the start of the school year;  Four different staff committees with different focuses bringing energy and leadership opportunities;  and Implementing the “Good News Call of the Day” initiative—Principal calls a parent to tell them about a student

Principal Marc Pennington presented an update for the Middle School.  Highlights included: 436 students as of September 11, 2017; 130 students out for Fall Sports; Color Run project has kicked off and goes through October 6th; and Motto for the year is “Grit”.

Principal Bill Poock presented an update for West Elementary and the District’s Preschools.  Highlights included: Appreciative of the high level of collaboration at all levels in the District; Implemented a new activity called “Morning Meeting” as a daily way to focus the students on their classroom community at both elementary schools; Fast Bridge assessments are on hold due to some data issues within the software; 337 students at MP West as of September 11, 2017; and the Maker Space area is cleaned out and ready move to the next steps.

Principal Amy Shalla presented an update for the Alternative Learning Center and Special Education interests of the District.  Highlights included:  18 students in the Alternative Center; Working on Surprise and Delight opportunities for the students—students are in charge of this for each other;  Special Education assessments are a focus this week;.

Superintendent Schneider reported:  Congressman Loebsack visited the District last week to meet with Administrators and take a student led tour of the High School; and October 23rd School Board meeting will be held at the Home School Education Center.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

IASB Employee Relations Conference – October 17, 2017, Altoona, Iowa – Noted to let Swartzentruber know of your plans to attend this event.

IASB School Board Member Orientation Workshop – Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 6-8:30 p.m. – Mt. Pleasant, or Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 6-8:30 p.m. – Clear Creek Amana – Noted to let Swartzentruber know of your plans to attend  one of these events.

IASB Annual Convention – November 15-17, 2017, Des Moines (Mid-Prairie Presentation)

Jim Hussey handed out the beginning of a Power Point slide show for initial review by the Board.  Included were questions to be discussed, participation, outside feedback, outcomes and lessons learned. A work session during the second Board meeting in September or October will be scheduled.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, September 28, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  At this meeting the current School Board will open the meeting and the new School Board members will join.  Additionally, new officers will need to be elected.  Riverboat Foundation Applications will be on the agenda as will a work session on the presentation for the IASB Annual Convention.

School Board Election is tomorrow, September 12, 2017.


The meeting adjourned at 8:37p.m.