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School Board Sets La Harpe 8th Grade Promotion as May 29th

"The Flipped Classroom" Is Being Used To Address 3rd Graders' Math Struggles

On January 20, 2015, the La Harpe Board of Education held a regular meeting in the school library and set the date and time for the 2015 8th Grade Promotion. It will be on Friday, May 29, at 7:00 p.m.


Third grade teachers, Emily Kohl and Michelle Fryrear are addressing student math struggles with a strategy called "The Flipped Classroom".

The teachers showed a division "Flipped Classroom" lesson and explained how they create the short instructional videos which can be viewed by the students in class and at home. After the students watch the video in class, they move to centers where they are given individual help and practice.

The teachers rotate among the centers. The students benefit from the ability to rewind and re-watch the instruction from any location, and parents can see how each concept is taught which opens up communication with their child and the teacher.

Students who are at home sick can still watch the day's lesson. Struggling students can watch again if they missed something. Teachers can watch the students while they are learning which leads to better small group discussion.

The videos are easy for a substitute teacher to use, and the regular teacher can still "teach" via the videos even when she's absent that day. The board and teachers discussed the extra prep time and the technology needed to support the "Flipped Classroom" strategy.

Dual teaching is very helpful in using this model as the teachers can record each other and work together on editing and uploading the videos. Kohl and Fryrear mentioned materials available online through Kahn Academy and LearnZillion which provide free video conceptual explanations of the Common Core State Standards for almost any math subject.


Dr. Olson and Mrs. McKeown gave a demonstration to the board of the new entry security system.

Special Education teacher, Jason Finch, was unable to attend the meeting due to coaching a regional game, provided a letter to the board detailing the many facets of his job assignment.

Most of Finch's teaching activities stem from special education student inclusion in the regular classrooms. Finch helps the students complete their tests and assignments within their classroom setting.

Finch has two 5th grade math and reading students. He helps other special ed. students with spelling, grammar, reading, and writing. Finch gave examples of the topics they cover and noted that the students read every day and play math games on a website called Prodigy as a reward for completed work.

Finch thanked the Board for the opportunity to teach at La Harpe and the support they provide for the students.

Supt. Olson's Report

Supt. Olson reported that the auto-door operator will be installed on Jan. 27th. Olson gave the board some initial cost information on a gym floor logo.

Olson stated that La Harpe has two candidates on the ballot for the April board election and that write-in candidates must file by the Feb. 5 deadline.

The board may need to appoint a couple of positions in April. MAP testing has begun and results may be available for review at the Feb. meeting. Dr. Olson mentioned the 5Essentials School Climate Survey which is available on the website.

Jim Burgett, the author of a book Dr. Olson passed out to each board member, will present at an IASA Western Region meeting and Dr. Olson will also be attending a WIU Administrative Roundtable in Macomb.

Olson will attend a Quincy workshop on the last of a 3-part series on implementing student growth into teacher evaluations. Dr. Olson met with the district's architect, Joe Petty, to start the 10-year life safety survey. Olson plans to attend a job placement bureau in Springfield for school psychologists.

Prin. McKeown gave updates on volleyball and boys' basketball and noted that Scholastic Bowl will start soon. McKeown listed the dates of the recent snow days, second quarter end, and noted when report cards were passed out.

All of the Elementary and Junior High have completed AIMS web winter benchmark testing, and students are currently in the second week of MAP testing.

McKeown reported that the annual Health/Life Safety inspection by the ROE and the State Fire Marshall was completed. The focus of the January Teacher's Institute was on Teacher Evaluation/Student Growth, technology integration, and English/Language Arts Shift Kits (resources to shift to Common Core Standards).

Teachers have been working all year preparing to "pilot" Student Learning Objectives next year before the required implementation in 2016-2017. The teachers' technology session on the "Flipped Classroom", creating teacher websites, making iMovie videos and website resources for classroom use was led by the teachers who attended the technology conference this year.

The January Evaluation Committee meeting focused on each teacher writing their Student Learning Objectives. The 2nd-5th Grades Math Professional Learning Community met to discuss issues with the Envision Math curriculum.

Teachers are using LiveBinders (on the ISBE website) as a framework for their math curriculum. McKeown is having a mid-year conference with every teacher on the progress of their Professional Growth Plan.

McKeown is completing observations for the many new teachers and also the required tenured teacher observations. As Special Ed Coordinator, McKeown held seven IEP meetings and arranged for the autism consultant from WCISEC observe a couple of students.

As RtI Coordinator, McKeown will meet with teachers to go over MAP and AIMS web testing data, to review the effectiveness of the current interventions, and to determine their future action plans.


The board discussed an Illini West entrance exam for the 8th grade, opened the closed minutes from June 17 and Aug. 19 of 2014, approved the consent agenda and payment of bills, and approved the PRESS Policy updates.

Business was conducted with the following members in attendance:

President Cindy Wear, 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.

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