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La Harpe School Board Summer Meetings

The La Harpe Board of Education held regular meetngs in the school library on June 16, July 21 and August 25, 2015.

At the June meeting, the board held a Committee of the Whole meeting to review policy.

The board approved the consent agenda, payment of bills, prevailing wage, and the athletic coop agreement with Dallas ESD #327.

The board held a budget hearing and approved the FY 2015 Amended Budget, policy updates, FY 2016 fuel service, and discussed grade level MAP test results.

The board accepted with regrets, the resignations of Melissa Brink, Kirstin Juarez, and Hannah Brown.

The board approved Natalie Vershaw as 4th grade teacher, Megan Pennington as 5th grade teacher, Andi Trout as 7th/8th Girls' Volleyball Coach, Matt Melvin as Junior High Boys' Assistant Coach for boy's basketball and approved District Treasurer Compensation.

Illini West Superintendant Kim Schilson spoke to the board about updates the high school is making to their curriculum, wireless and 1-1 technology, obtaining iPads for science, reverting back to a 7-period school day, and reasons for discontinuing 8 Block.

Schilson mentioned the high school white activity buses are available to borrow if the elementary districts need to use them.

The high school district will be putting up "Home of the Chargers" signs at the main entrances to La Harpe, Dallas City and Carthage.

Schilson mentioned the 4 boards getting together for a meal and gave information on summer shuttles to encourage athletic participation.

Superintendent Olson mentioned the Triple I Conference in Chicago, listing workshops offered there.

The gym floor will be repainted which will be funded by PEPSI. Dr. Olson included the most recent Alliance Legislative Report noting specific legislation.

Dr. Olson was asked by the mayor to provide "Home of the Eagles & Bulldogs" signs at the city entrances.

Principal McKeown reported 29 students went through the 8th grade ceremony. McKeown thanked Dustin Setherage and Nate Butler for handing out diplomas.

McKeown mentioned the end of the year PBIS celebrations, summer school, a new junior high school bathroom policy and the closing of obsolete activity accounts.

McKeown introduced the board to a science and social studies weekly from that the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes will be using.

The weekly will give the teachers a structure that is Common Core-aligned. McKeown also mentioned a need for new curriculum for some junior high classes.

Connie Galvan visited the July board meeting for her West Prairie principal program.

The board approved the July consent agenda, payment of bills, set the fall budget hearing for September 15 at 7:30 , and approved the faculty, student and preschool handbooks. The board approved the wellness and internet policies, activity account transfers, the amended 2016 Calendar, district audit services, and reviewed closed minutes.

The board accepted, with regrets, Colleen McNeil's resignation, and approved Larissa Storm as preschool teacher, Pam Mason-Paslawski as elementary special ed. teacher, and Kim Beals as paraprofessional.

Dr. Olson mentioned the Triple I Pre-Conference Workshops and school Tour, encouraging members to register. The board looked at the newly painted gym floor.

Dr. Olson gave a vendor history of Peter's Heating and Air to the board. The board directed the superintendent to have an independent company come evaluate the system and report to the board. The board also asked Dr. Olson to speak to the architect about HVAC issues.

Dr. Olson noted the Eagle Sports Boosters Family Fun Day, and the most recent Alliance Legislative Report.

In August, the board approved Lisa Trout as assistant JH volleyball coach, Tim Graves as substitute bus driver, approved the consent agenda and bills, the preliminary budget and school bus routes.

Superintendent Olson reported that a new PRESS policy issue has arrived, so a Committee of the Whole will meet at 6:15 pm before the September meeting to review it. Olson noted a recent FOIA request regarding non-certified staff members.

The annual financial audit was performed and the district auditor should have a report ready for the September meeting.

Dr. Olson met with Brent Appel from ISBE about deficit reduction plan reporting requirements.

Another Vision 20/20 initiative has been signed into law this summer dealing with a balanced accountability model for measuring districts rather than solely relying on test scores.

The architect has completed the 10-Year Health Life Safety Survey for which there is an approval process.

Principal McKeown provided the Activity account report and enrollment numbers by grade for a district total of 229 students.

McKeown updated the board on baseball and girls basketball. Due to low numbers, 6th grade girls will be added to the 7th grade roster.

There will be no 5/6 program for girls unless intramural play can be arranged. More basketball should be added to PE to compensate for the lack of a 5/6 program for girls.

The beginning band members have tested and Mrs. Mencel will hold a parent meeting.

McKeown reported on the Teacher's Institute Day activities in Carthage and La Harpe.

The La Harpe in-service was based on Dave Burgess' book, Teach Like A Pirate, which several teachers read over the summer. A highlighted theme of the book was using "hooks" to engage students.

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


Back row: Dave Mershon, Nate Butler, Darren Spangler, Dustin Detherage

Front row: Pam Campbell, President Cindy Wear, Vice President Bobi James