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La Harpe Community School District #347

La Harpe- Nate Butler and Pam Campbell took the Oath of Office and Bobi James was selected as new Vice President at the newly organized La Harpe Community School District Meeting May 26th.

The La Harpe Board of Education held their rescheduled regular meeting in the school library with the following members in attendance: Dustin Detherage, Dave Mershon, Darren Spangler, and President Cindy Wear. Appointed member Nate Butler was present and appointed member Pam Campbell attended part of the meeting by phone. Superintendent Ryan Olson, Principal Lila McKeown, and Board Sec. Jeanne Clayton were in attendance. Visitors Amanda Weigers and Stephanie Mencel were welcomed.

Members were appointed to the following committees: Curriculum and Instruction-Spangler, Campbell, James; Facilities-Butler, Spangler, Mershon; Policy-Committee of the Whole; Technology-Butler, Campbell, James; Transportation-Detherage, James, Spangler; Negotiations-Detherage, James, Wear; Athletics-Wear, Detherage, Mershon.

Music Teacher, Stephanie Mencel, presented activities from July to May in which her students participated-including music performances, festivals and concerts. Mencel's student teacher taught a unit on "Music around the World". Mencel listed some of her duties as ILEA Music Representative for District 4. Mencel had a block student and hosted the Solo and Ensemble Contest. Mencel directed the spring programs, one of which Dr. Olson was narrator. Mencel spoke of her fall Folk unit and gave an example of a 5th grade Blues composition in which the student wrote lyrics and melody, it was converted to a music file, and Mencel sang and played it on a ukulele for the board.

Dallas Athletic Director, Amanda Weigers presented a parent request to offer Cross Country to students. The program may be parent-run, but would require some coordination with the athletic director and would be added to the current athletic cooperative agreement. Dallas would host the program, and one parent has voiced interest in coaching and another is interested in helping. Wiegers detailed the cost involved, the time frame for the season, IESA rules, and results from surveying student interest in a cross country program. Track uniforms could be used to save on expense. The request will be presented to the Dallas board and a revised coop agreement approved in June at La Harpe and Dallas.

Mrs. McKeown played a video presentation of art teacher, Ryan Kitch, explaining his development of the student growth portion of the evaluation process for his art classes. He showed how students are taught to respond to their own artwork with greater detail as they progress through elementary and junior high art classes. Kitch developed rubrics as a framework for assessment and to score the various aspects of critiquing student art. Kitch's students entered an Illinois School Bus Safety Contest in which cash prizes will be issued. Two finalists were sent to Springfield for the October final judging. Kitch thanked the board for their time, support, and continued funding of the art program at La Harpe schools.

Mrs. McKeown presented a movie prepared by 1st Grade teacher, Sherry Beals, of her class singing a "sound song" in which students gave the spelling and pronunciation for approximately 30 difficult sounds of the English language.

Supt. Olson's report included an LEA initial meeting request for bargaining. The negotiations committee will meet with the LEA prior to July 1 to begin negotiating a new teacher contract. Western Area Schools Governing Board met to discuss a projected 6.3% increase in medical insurance premiums resulting in a $43 per employee per month increase in cost. Dr. Olson helped chaperone the 8th grade St. Louis trip. Dr. Olson encouraged members to attend the fall III Conference. Tony Smith is the new State School Board President. The State is making changes in the new PARCC test that replaced the ISATS this year. Dr. Olson included PARCC newsletter from ISBE and the most recent Alliance Legislative Report from IASB which includes a bill submitted by Vision 20/20 designed to make it easier for out-of-state teachers to get Illinois certification, a bill allowing students to opt-out of taking standardized tests, and a bill adding an Open Meetings Act exemption for Boards to discuss safety and security measures. Dr. Olson and the board discussed simple ways to remember a deceased student of the 8th grade class at their upcoming promotion ceremony. The board was in favor of a ribbon that students could opt to wear, including photos in the slide show and displays, and providing a time prior to the ceremony for students who wish to meet with the family (if the family so desired). The board directed the principal not to include an empty chair in the ceremony as they felt it could detract attention from celebrating the students present who were graduating.

Prin. McKeown noted that 7 track athletes went to the State meet. Baseball participation is potentially lower, so 6th grade may need to be included for the coming season. Prin. McKeown listed the various field trips classes were taking this spring. Teachers have nearly completed the end-of-year testing for PARCC, MAP, AIMS web and STAR Reading and Math. Elementary MAP test results per each class were viewed and discussed. McKeown meets with each elem. teacher about student growth goals. It is notable that 3rd grade showed one of the highest growth scores for math, since adjustments had to be made in their math curriculum to match the Common Core. The Spring K-4 and 5-8 Concerts, directed by Mrs. Mencel, were both excellent and entertaining. Kindergarten orientation was held, end-of-year events celebrating positive behavior are planned, and 4 weeks of summer school will begin the week after the last student day. The Evaluation Committee has been meeting to look at teacher Student Learning Objectives to pilot next year. Prin. McKeown attended an Administrator Academy on "Fueling Student Growth, Common Core in Action". Prin. McKeown reported 38 meetings held this month including IEP, TAT, Data, and Faculty meetings.

The board approved the consent agenda and bills, the final 2014-15 school calendar, the Illinois Association of School Boards membership renewal, and extra days for retiring teachers per the LEA contract. The board approved junior high science teacher, Lee Ann Lambert; accepted with regrets Emilee Secrist's resignation; and approved summer workers Laura Kneiss, Sharon Spangler, Jodelle Eddington, and Jason Finch.

For agendas, news releases, and minutes visit the School Board Reports link online at