At its March meeting, the Vicksburg School Board heard reports and updated the community on what’s going on in the district regarding finances and other issues.
Indian Lake Principal Ruth Hook explained how they started a ‘Home Connections’ with classroom teachers doing personal calls to parents if their child needs extra help, inviting their children to join Zero Hour Math each morning before school. She displayed a ‘Data Board’ that instructional consultant
She displayed a ‘Data Board’ that the instructional consultant and administrators started, to help keep track of each student’s progress. This shows each student’s proficiency in math, social studies, reading and writing. Through this monitoring the teachers spend the last hour of the day in two groups – those who are in the fluency groups and others in the problem solving groups. There is mobility as the students move back and forth, with high, medium and low selectivity. Eleven teachers and para pros are taking part in this project for grades 3, 4, and 5, the Principal said.
The goals and strategies of the program are tied into the overall school improvement plan. They even had dads in the building every day, usually two or three at a time. They are volunteers and and are affectionately labeled their “guard dawgs,” Hook said.
The PTO is the other action group for the school, with Jessica Opalewski and Amy Henderson heading up this effort.
Skip Knowles, board president, thanked the parents for “providing the frosting on the cake.”
Board member, Tina Forsyth, told the PTO representatives that they are setting a good example for their kids, who are watching and learning how to give back.
In other business, Superintendent Charlie Glaes reported that it appeared the legislature was making plans to put more money into the per pupil foundation grant if they can find a way to take it out of categorical grant money that has been earmarked for many years.
“You mean we’re going to get out of hock?” board member David Schriemer said.
Glaes also thanked the teaching staff for helping to minimize the budget hole and all of the employee groups who held off with some raises.
The cold winter weather also accounted for high utility bills and some long bus routes that one of the parents brought to the board’s attention.
Parent Amy Moberly voiced concern about the long ride a few Indian Lake students have on the bus.
Ric Beers, transportation director, said he was aware of the problem and had been driving that very bus over the last week himself.
It’s complicated because the route starts in the village picking up or dropping off day care children and then has the long ride out to Indian Lake and beyond, he said. The weather has affected the time of the run, but he said he would work with the parent who wrote the letter Moberly presented to see if there was a possible solution.
Beers gave his annual transportation report to the board, citing a shortage of drivers as his biggest challenge during the year. He also was amazed that at least three buses started out of the whole fleet the first day after the Christmas break as the temperatures were in the minus zero range.