The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

La Harpe School Board Hears Presentations, Updates

La Harpe School Board

On May 20, 2014, a regular meeting of the La Harpe Board of Education was held in the school library with the following members in attendance: President Cindy Wear, Vice President Nate Butler, Pam Campbell, Dustin Detherage, Bobi James, and David Mershon. Supt. Ryan Olson, Principal Lila McKeown and Board Secretary Jeanne Clayton were also in attendance.

Visiting teacher, Brenda Sparrow, was recognized.

Title I Teacher Brenda Sparrow presented information on Kindergarten through 5th grade Reading and Math, a March Parent Night, and the Next Step Guided Reading Kits which she uses for assessment.

Sparrow uses Next Step Guided Reading Assessment to make data-driven instructional decisions using guided reading to move students toward increasingly complex texts.

Sparrow provided detail and examples on how the program is used for K-2nd graders and 3rd -6th graders to collect data several times a year on spelling, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing to produce class profiles and student progress reports.

Principal McKeown presented for 5th Grade Teacher Kirsten Juarez. McKeown showed samples of Juarez's student PowerPoint presentations. The students each researched a national park and reported features such as location, history, animal inhabitants, fun facts, and photos of the park. The 5th graders studied the Hindenburg disaster, created and performed a news cast with the information they found. Juarez also provided samples of student science experiments such as a desktop catapult, cornstarch quicksand, color-changing milk, and tornado-in-a-bottle.

Principal McKeown presented for La Harpe Junior High Science Teacher Chris Schwarz.

Schwarz's 6th -8th grade Response to Intervention (RtI) class participates in research projects and presents them in the Science Fair. The students use collaboration and elements of engineering and design to create prototype models of their projects. Schwarz provided detail of the Bridge, Paper Tower, and Marshmallow Building Challenges and samples of student bridge and cell models. Schwarz uses The Next Generation Science Standards and provided a science content chart for each grade for the Board to view.

Dr. Olson and President Wear thanked Mrs. Sparrow and Mrs. McKeown for their presentations.


The board accepted with regrets the retirement letters presented by Melody Hensley, Linda Hughes, and Bob and Linda Shutwell.

The board approved Jason Finch as Junior High Special Ed. Teacher and approved the following Athletic Coop Coaches: Randy May for Scholastic Bowl; Rod Shipman (Head) and Shawn Hopper (Assistant) for 5th/6th Boys' Basketball; Deanna Hartrick (Head) and Randy May (Assistant) for 5th/6th Girls' Volleyball; and Dustin Secrist for Track.

Superintendent Dr. Ryan Olson gave the board a copy of the proposed amended FY2014 budget and discussed changes to be approved at the June budget hearing. Olson gave an overview of a recent Administrator Academy including a handout on how a bill "really" becomes law.

Olson offered highlights and potential impacts of the proposed Senate Bill 16 to change the educational funding formula.

Olson gave details on health insurance changes from the Western Area School control meeting. La Harpe District was approved for a small security grant to be used in securing a main entrance with a camera and buzzer system. Olson gave information on the Triple I Conference and encouraged board members to make plans to attend.

The cafeteria roof will be resealed this summer and the bus barn roof will be re-shingled. Olson also gave the board library budget information compiled by Cindy Irish including information on a subscription for new library management hosting service.

Principal McKeown gave updates on the State track meet in which eleven La Harpe students participated along with Dallas athletic coop students. The first Scholastic Bowl season ended. McKeown listed the class field trips for the board to view, and mentioned the very nice Staff Appreciation Luncheon on April 17th.

McKeown gave information on the elementary PBIS Spring Carnival, Pre-K Family Night, and the Illini West mini presentation from the "Wizard of Oz" play cast members.

McKeown mentioned Student Council's activities for Teacher Appreciation Week, completion of the last fire and lock-down drills, 5th and 7th grade PAARC Assessments, and the outstanding Spring Music Concerts performed by Mrs. Mencel's students. McKeown noted 8th grade graduation practice, Kindergarten Orientation, a Girl Scout presentation, and a luncheon on May 30th honoring retirees.

The boosters have inquired about painting logos on the gym floor, renovation work will be continuing on the Title I room, and McKeown listed the many professional development activities she and the teachers have completed in April and May.

In Other Action:

To view online agendas, news releases, and approved minutes, visit the School Board link at