Couch School Board holds meeting

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Board of Education of Couch School District R-I, Oregon County, Myrtle, Missouri met in regular session on July 13 at 6 p.m. in the Couch School Board Room.

Couch Elementary Board Report

Parents of children who applied for preschool have been notified of acceptance. There are currently 12 students who are three years of age and four students who are four years of age.

Missouri Writing Consortium-Six elementary teachers will be traveling to Columbia to attend the Missouri Writing Consortium on five different dates throughout the school year, beginning in August. This writing cohort will help the elementary with a writing plan centered around current district curriculum, instructional needs, and writing goals, a K-5 writing curriculum aligned with the rigor and expectations of the Missouri Learning Standards, extensive professional development in K-5 for each mode of writing, authentic writing lessons, writing assessments, and scoring guides for 2020-2021, establish Essential Learning Outcomes at each grade level with K-5 vertical alignment, and an established relationship with 6 other Missouri K-5 schools participating in the consortium.

Teacher in-service will be held on Aug. 12-13 and Aug. 17-19. School will reconvene Aug. 24. A COVID-19 plan to begin school is currently being prepared with the help of a committee consisting of parents, teachers, staff, administration and Board of Education members.

Couch High School Board Report

Mrs. Smith completed the online NEE Recertification training on June 22. Ms. Lewis, Mrs. Cotham and Mrs. Smith will participate in a two-day virtual workshop concerning Understanding Test Scores in Special Education on July 14 - 15. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Roberts are registered for the annual Mickes OToole Law Seminar via webinar on Aug. 4. Ms. Meyer and Coach Walker will be attending the JAG-MO State Conference in St. Louis on July 29-29.

Coach Carmack and Coach Walker are currently conducting summer basketball practices with recommended screening protocols and safety guidelines in place as recommended by the Missouri Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.

Superintendent Report

1. We have been preparing for back to school and have completed a variety of tasks.

a. Developed a survey to ask teachers, staff and parents to give feedback to help us in putting together a plan for coming back to school

i. We had 78 people respond with a good mix of participation.

ii. A copy of the results is attached to the board packet, but the highlights are:

1. Nearly 79 percent report to have internet at home

2. Less than 50 percent have a device at home they can use

3. About 80 percent of the respondents moderately to strongly believe that returning to school in August like normal will be okay.

4. 61.5 percent want to have two choices for back to school

5. 25 percent wanted an online option as they do not feel that school will be safe because of COVID

b. Based on the information provided, we invited parents, teachers and staff to join a committee to develop a COVID plan.

c. The administration worked together to look at other school plans and then built a template that the committee can use and expand as they meet to discuss the back to school plans in light of COVID

d. The meeting was held on July 8

e. The plan was revised and re-shared with the committee for comment. Feedback is pending.

2. I have met with the White River group of superintendents, Oregon County superintendents and the West Plains Area superintendents over the past week to talk about back to school plans, financial impacts and summer school progress. The Oregon County superintendents have agreed to have joint messaging about our intention to reopen schools in August. All schools are doing temperature checks and have closed water fountains and are installing water bottle fillers. Sanitation supplies are backed up for delivery into October in some cases.

3. Financial Update:

a. 25 percent of the COVID relief money is still available to pull down and we will work with DESE to get that accomplished.

b. The state did also receive money for transportation reimbursement for delivery of food in the spring and the summer that we are waiting on instructions on how to request the reimbursement.

c. There is also other money earmarked for education, but it has not been determined how it will be released to districts.

d. A request for reimbursement of supplies has been sent to Oregon County per a Oregon County superintendents meeting that occurred prior to my start date and we plan to follow up as a group with coronavirus expenses as we were directed.

4. School Culture:

a. I have sent out invitations to staff to come in and have a sit down 1:1 meeting and about half have scheduled a meeting.

5. Staffing:

a. We currently have all positions filled, however we have a potential need to fill a custodian position and an at risk position. I will be reviewing the budget to see if we can find the funds to do that. Both positions were cut in the budget.

6. Title IX policy changes will go in effect on Aug. 14.

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