By Lew Vail
ONALASKA — The contract for Superintendent Lynn Redden was extended for another year and students turned out to thank members of the Onalaska School Board during their meeting Monday.
Redden’s contract was extended to cover the next three years following an executive session conducted by the school board.
As part of School Board Appreciation Month, which is observed each January, Onalaska students from both the elementary and junior/senior high school campuses made decorations for the board room and small gifts for each board member. This year, the theme was soaring to greatness and large kites decorated the front of the boards table.
The school staff also prepares a special thank you dinner for the board members.
The student council also made a presentation, verbally thanking each board member for the time they take to attend meetings, functions, athletic events, and other activities; and all the monthly meetings.
In other business, the board ordered an election for school trustee Position 3, currently held by Tom Curran, and Position 6 currently held by John Haynes, to be conducted on May 5.
They then approved interlocal agreements with the City of Onalaska for the election to be held in the city’s conference room and with the Polk County Clerk’s Office for the use of the equipment to conduct an election and count the ballots.
Should the city not need to conduct an election this year, voting would be at the school administration office.
Information for seeking a place on the ballot can be obtained at the administration office during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Early voting information will be published along with information on requesting a mail-in ballots.
Elementary School Vice Principal Crystal Byrd advised the board that report cards were sent home on Jan. 10.
In her report, she also noted the third-grade students enjoyed a pizza party for being the grade level with the highest attendance rate for the second nine weeks; 96.4% of the students attended school during that time period. On Jan. 19, they conducted the semester award ceremonies for pre-K through sixth grade students which included presenting the principal’s honor roll, teachers’ honor roll, perfect defendants awards, exemplary behavior for pre-K through second grade students and the individual and team awards from the UIL competition conducted in December.
On Monday, Jan. 22 administrators had lunch with the STAAR students from each teachers’ homeroom class. The fourth-grade students will take their mock writing tests on Feb. 13 and fifth graders will take their mock math tests on Feb. 12-13.
Kindergarten through second grade students will participate in “Ag in the Classroom” activities Feb. 13 at the junior/senior high school and the fifth to sixth grade students will enjoy a Valentine Day social on Feb. 16. Shout outs for the new year went to Savannah Golson, Kelly Gonzalez and Michelle Kaufmann for facilitating the new lesson plan study for spring 2018. Special shout out went to Lisa Smith and Pat Pass for their guidance with the teachers that met for the planning sessions to develop lesson and CPAs for the third nine weeks of school.
On Friday, Feb. 2 staff members will bring soup and many delicious dishes to support Fellowship for the Super Bowl; the sunshine committee is heading this up. All pre-K and kindergarten classrooms will be receiving classroom audio systems; amplification, surround sound for the classrooms to help with language development and articulation.
Junior/Senior High School Principal Anthony Roberts reported that returning from Christmas break they used their two in-service days to focus on several important areas including: Department instruction planning for the second semester, department/administrative data talks to improve instructional focus for the second semester taking time to reflect on what they’ve learned from the district wide book study regarding poverty, reviewing updates to state accountability and reviewing and updating the TAIS process for junior/senior high school.
Over the past week administrators have been meeting with students to discuss student progress in all academic areas. These meetings involved identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses, goal setting, and ways to improve performance. Monitoring will continue through CBA’s and mock testing and additional data talks will follow.
The mock star and EOC tests will occur on Feb. 21-22 for the following subjects: ELA 1 and ELA 2, eighth grade reading and math and seventh grade writing. Data from these assessments will be used to further refine in-school intervention and will establish which students are in need of after school tutorials.
Several of the math teachers will be attending the STAAR EOC review at the Region 6 Education Service Center. This event will provide teachers with review material and strategies to increase the standards of mastery of the math content. The ELA department teachers will attend a writing roundup at the service center. This event will review the scoring requirements for the STAAR essay and then allow participants to score students papers and have others score their student papers, for a wider perspective on the students’ abilities.
On upcoming events Roberts noted that softball practice began this Monday. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. (JROTC) military ball will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the high school cafeteria. Fine arts night will be Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. also in the cafeteria.
There were shining stars and shout outs given to Mrs. K Randolph and the Onalaska Wildcat band and choir for putting on an outstanding, standing room only, Christmas concert; to Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs. Thornton, Mrs. Ebert and Mr. Schubert for organizing the Angel Tree Program which provided gifts for 112 children of the Onalaska area; to Mrs. Kennedy for helping all of the students meet new year’s resolutions by starting a biggest loser weight program with all proceeds benefiting the Maroon and White Scholarship Fund; to all the teachers and staff and help train students in the junior high UIL competition.
In closing, Roberts also thanked the school board members for their support of students and the Onalaska high school program throughout the year.
Redden reported attendance this Monday at 1,118 as compared with 1,047 a year ago. The elementary school has three less students at 637 than last year’s 640, however, the high school at 441 is increased considerably over the 405 from last year.
The board approved consent items that include the current tax report, quarterly investment statement report, and budget amendments suggested by the accounting department.
The board approved the bids on tax sale properties received in Impala woods, for properties in Cedar Point, one each in Forest Hills in Paradise Acres, if all the other entities approved today’s sales ably returned to tax rolls to be productive.
The board discussed a first reading of update 109, which contains mandated changes to the Texas Association of school boards manual; at least one or two more hearings will be held before they act upon this.