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La Harpe School Board

February 25, 2014, Regular Meeting

The La Harpe Board of Education held their regular meeting, rescheduled from February 18, 2014, in the school library with the following members in attendance: President Cindy Wear, Vice President Nate Butler, Pam Campbell, Dustin Detherage, Mark Irish, Bobi James, and David Mershon.

Superintendent Ryan Olson, Principal Lila McKeown and Board Secretary Jeanne Clayton were also in attendance.

Regional Superintendent John Meixner, Assistant Regional Superintendent Gary Eddington, and teachers, Melissa Johnson and Ryan Hopper, were recognized.

La Harpe Physical Education Teacher Ryan Hopper gave the board a detailed overview of the Presidential Fitness Testing implemented in Kindergarten through 8th grade P.E. classes.

Hopper's classes participate in a weekly fitness day during the school year and fall and spring testing using national benchmarks. Student fitness activities which are timed or measured include: Curl-ups (or partial curl-ups), Shuttle run, Endurance run/walk, Pull-ups (or right angle push-ups or flexed-arm hang), V-sit reach (or sit and reach).

Hopper explained the methods for scoring and how each student uses their personal numbers for goal-setting and to show growth. Awards are offered for the levels of fitness, and a photo is taken of the National and Presidential Fitness winners.

La Harpe Kindergarten Teacher, Melissa Johnson mentioned the challenges she faces implementing Common Core and Illinois State Standards with 22 very dynamic Kindergarten students.

Johnson described her reading program which utilizes The Daily 5TM, a literacy framework that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working independently.

After a 20 minute mini-lesson and small reading group instruction, the 5 daily components from which Johnson's students choose are: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work.

Prior to using these independent activities, student expectations and behaviors are clearly defined and reviewed and practiced daily.

Dr. Olson, President Wear and the board thanked the two teachers for coming and for their presentations.

The board approved the consent agenda and payment of bills. The technology committee will schedule a meeting.

Regional Superintendent John Meixner held a public hearing regarding a new summer school breakfast/lunch provision mandate.

Under the new mandate, districts are required to provide meals to summer school students and any community member age 18 or under who comes to eat at the school during summer school.

Districts may apply to opt-out of the requirement if the reimbursement would not fully cover the cost of running the summer meals program.

Supt. Olson's report included information from a Hancock County Superintendent meeting with the Hancock Sheriff's Office regarding active shooter/lockdown practices and other portions of training.

Dr. Olson plans to host IASA Western Region new superintendents meeting in La Harpe.

Olson gave updates on the heating unit in a 3rd grade classroom, the insurance claim for the water-damaged Title I room, and a spare bus that needs replaced.

Olson reported receipt of the Johnson Estate check in the amount of $366,000, and passed pictures of recent visit by Mrs. Meyers and her comfort dog Daisy Mae.

Dr. Olson made the board aware of the minor bus accident and expressed gratitude for emergency responders, the calm La Harpe bus students and staff involved.

Dr. Olson and the board discussed the current school calendar changes due to weather-related use of emergency days, and also the impact on planning for next the year school calendar.

Dr. Olson listed upcoming superintendent meetings including an annual Education Law Conference at WIU hosting State legislators and State school Board Superintendent.

Principal McKeown gave athletic updates including the date of the first Scholastic Bowl contest.

McKeown thanked Jeanne Clayton and Dianne Hall for assisting with the recent weather-related rescheduling and Kelly Lafferty for making the automated calls to keep everyone informed.

McKeown mentioned the Spelling Bee, Freshman Orientation at Illini West, and Positive Behavior emphasis activities. Jump Rope for Heart has concluded and was a great success.

A week of State testing will soon begin for grades 3-8, and area 8th graders will return to Illini West to retake a reading test.

Several teachers and McKeown attended a workshop on the math portion of a new assessment test soon to be administered.

Mr. Sullivan and Mrs. McKeown attended county and Sand Valley athletic director meetings.

Teachers attended an Institute on Common Core Lesson Planning and Student Learning Objectives using the state model.

McKeown has completed the second round of teacher observations and tenured teacher observations.

Principal McKeown has been meeting each month with the Teacher Evaluation Committee to discuss mandated changes in the teacher evaluation process.

To assist teachers with the student growth part of the evaluation process, teachers will provide a type of portfolio for assessment using the 22-part Danielson Rubric.

McKeown has also been meeting with junior high teachers to discuss Response to Intervention (RtI) student progress monitoring.

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