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Third Grade Parents Bring Concerns To School Board

The La Harpe Board of Education held a regular meeting in the school library on October 20, 2015.

Several of the parents in attendance spoke of concerns with the 3rd grade class, and a couple of parents spoke of issues their children were having in other grades. Issues that parents presented pertained to 3rd grade room size, classroom atmosphere, involvement of aides in the teaching process, grading of homework, restroom policy and the need for front foyer boys restroom stall doors, homework load, and safety concerns during chaotic moments.

A request was made for another full-time adult in the room to help with the many challenges facing the teacher.

Dr. Olson and President Wear assured the parents that the administration and board were aware and have been discussing solutions, and would have more discussion in closed meeting that night.

Wear talked about the challenges teachers have managing requests for restroom use outside of the scheduled times and Dr. Olson explained procedures for determining need for a 1-1 aide based on the least restrictive environment for a special needs student.

The parents left the meeting following their presentation.

The board discussed installing doors in the boys restroom located in the front foyer, and the other parent issues were discussed in closed meeting.

The board approved the consent agenda, payment of bills, the annual financial report, and a staff Christmas gift.

5th and 6th grade volleyball coaches Rayna Little (head) and Riley Little (assistant) were hired and Jennifer Ewing was approved as substitute cook.

Superintendent Report: Dr. Olson attended the Illinois superintendents association conference at which he received information on the property tax freeze and its impact to districts.

Olson, Deputy Josh Smith, and Lori Bilbrey gave a presentation in Peoria on school safety. Superintendents were told that even though the state passed an Education budget, districts may not receive payments past March due to the state budget impasse.

Olson gave the board details on the TRS  cost shift that may still be coming.

Dr. Olson is sure there will be many questions for the state senators and representatives attending the upcoming Administrator Roundtable. Dr. Olson also gave the board details of a Freedom of Information Act request the District received.

Principal Report: Mrs. McKeown gave updates on girls' and boys' basketball, bus safety day, and fire safety day. School-wide morning meetings, a positive behavior goal for this year, are now being held.

The classes who lead the meetings will rotate each month and the themes will be different character traits such as manners, respect, and responsibility.

The junior high had an outdoor softball game as a positive behavior incentive.

McKeown reported on the success of the Title II funded, After School Reading Clubs, and the annual Miles of Smiles event.

The first quarter ended and parent-teacher conferences will be held in coordination with the Book Fair. Teachers and aides have been receiving training on Crisis Prevention Intervention.

McKeown mentioned the Reading Conference, MAP training with Dallas ESD teachers, student MAP testing and several other administrative meetings.

McKeown led the staff in laughter-filled team-building activities, and is now working through teacher observations, several IEP meetings and post MAP-testing meetings.

The November school board meeting was held on the 17th.

La Harpe 5th grade teacher, Meagan Pennington, presented  The Global Monster Project , a cross-cultural project her class has been working on in coordination with other students around the world.

Pennington showed the board how the project meets curriculum standards in the areas of reading, social studies, science and math, and showed a class photo with the end result.

A few parents attended as a follow-up to the October meeting and to mention the positive changes they have noticed.

The board hired Courtney Rude and Tori Carder as paraprofessionals and hired Bob Pflasterer as a sub bus driver.

The board approved a portion of the educational support salary schedules and the rest will be presented in December with additional research.

The board denied a parent appeal of a student detention.

Dr. Olson presented the preliminary tax levy which the board approved, setting a date for the official tax levy hearing in December.

The board approved the risk management plan, the deficit reduction plan and the teacher contract for 2015-2018.

School board meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. o n the third Tuesday of each month in the school library.

Agendas and approved minutes are posted on the website at