District 99 Prepares For Summer Work

Numerous Projects To Be Undertaken During Summer Months

By Alex Haglund

Nashville Community High School Interim Superintendent Thomas Hawkins gave the board an update on transportation payments received from the state at their regular May meeting, held on Monday, May 21, saying that the district had received a $52,530 payment but added, “we’re still owed $105,000, and I’d be very surprised if we saw any of that by June 30.”
Hawkins went down the list of other transportation payments the district received: $7,500 in special ed transportation payments, with $15,000 still owed to the district; $5,200 in drivers ed payment, with $5,200 still owed; $11,300 in special ed room and board (“we do have some special ed students that are residentials,” Hawkins said), with $2,600 still owed.
“Again, that’s something that we don’t really anticipate getting,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins added that the district was in somewhat better shape as far as the education fund went than they were a year ago, saying that it was largely due to new formulas in the state for evidence-based funding.
A large topic of the meeting was different projects going on around NCHS over the coming summer months. One a proposed band practice facility was covered in last week’s edition of The Nashville News (see “Kirchner And Brink Discuss Band Practice Field With NCHS Board” on page A1 of the May 30 edition of the paper), while others have been in discussion throughout the school year.
One project, the Agriculture/FFA greenhouse, will have a little bit more money going into it. The District got word that they were the recipient of an Improving Agricultural Education Programs (IAEP) mini grant in the amount of $10,000.
“We didn’t really expect to get that,” Hawkins said, “we can put it right towards the greenhouse.”
Nearby that, the board also approved drain tiling work to be done along the building by the Ag classroom. That will cost $4,115.
The health life safety amendment which has been in discussion by the board through most of the school year, following a site inspection from the Regional Office of Education, was approved by the State and now the board has given the go-ahead. That project, which will have door vents sealed off and door-closers installed, among other items, will cost around $28,000.
The work for the installation of the school’s new sign, featuring an RGB display designed in-house by Paul Welte and his class, was approved by the board. That project, consisting of installing the sign and masonry work for the base, will cost an estimated $12,000.
The board also approved this year’s lease levy items, a list of technology related purchases from the district that is prepared by Welte and consists of computers and equipment, software updates, license renewals and other related items.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Hawkins said of the lease levy. “It’s just under $62,000. That lets us know just how much technology has become part of our education.”
The board approved the hiring of part time technology assistant Logan Gephardt to assist Welte in setting up and maintaining the district’s computers and equipment over the summer months.
Gephardt is experienced already and Hawkins said that was exactly what Welte had requested. Hawkins said that with 400 Chromebooks and 175 desktops to take care of, it was his understanding that this wasn’t as much of a learning experience as it was a job for someone who already knew how to get these things done, because they would have a lot of work ahead of them.
After approving a plan to rehabilitated the grass for the Hornet football field, the board was told that they would be needing to have the field maintained through the use of a reel mower. They have now received word that the Friends of Hornet Football have purchased a reel mower and will be donating it to the district.

Action After Closed Session

The board approved a new three year agreement between the district and the Nashville Education Association, the teachers’ union. The agreement will cover the 2018-2019, 19-20, and 20-21 school years.
The board approved an agreement for transportation services for the 2018-2019 school year between the District and the Sherman and Schmale Bus Services.
The board approved a new NCHS Cheer Coach, Emily Kuberski. For more, please see “Kuberski Takes Over NCHS Cheerleading Squad” on page B1 of the May 30 edition of The Nashville News.
The hiring of Mark Hostert was approved for summer school special education teacher.
Kim Hake was hired as the district’s summer school special education paraprofessional.

Facilities Use

The board approved a new policy for allowing community and feeder school use of NCHS Sports Facilities. NCHS makes their gyms available on a limited basis to community and feeder school teams and this policy is a revision to that.
“The main change that has occurred here,” Hawkins said, “Is that it’s limited to Monday nights. There is also a mechanism here that for NCHS coaches that also coach feeder school teams to be able to reschedule, if needed, through the administration.”
“We would love to be able to say, ‘anyone who wants to use the gym can use it,’” Hawkins said. “But I think this is clean, I think it’s fair, and I think that there is some logic behind it.”

5 Essentials

Principal Mark Begando spoke to board, going over the results of the 5 Essentials survey that the district had undertaken.
Begando stated that school districts that score above the benchmarks (60% positive) in at least three of the five areas reviewed are as much as ten times as likely to be able to enact positive change as districts that do not.
Begando stated that NCHS did meet the benchmarks in three areas – collaborative teaches, effective leadership and a supportive environment, while the two categories that it did not meet the benchmarks for, involved families and ambitious instruction, it only missed out by a tiny margin (59% and 57% positive responses, respectively, for those two categories).
Begando also stated that parent response to the survey in District 99 was overwhelming at 48% total response.
“I have never had over 3% before,” Begando stated.

Peer Mentoring

Begando also spoke with the board about the peer mentoring program that is being implemented at the suggestion of a student advisory committee that he convened following the Parkland school shootings.
“I have 27 peer mentors,” Begando told the board, saying that the mentors would be Juniors or Seniors in the 2018-2019 school year. Current freshmen liked the idea of peer mentoring and incoming Freshmen were very enthusiastic about having a peer mentor, he told the board.
The mentoring can have a lot of utility, not all of it glamorous, but all important. For instance, a mentor could help to show a new student around the school, or how to sign in at lunch.
Begando’s report also covered tardies and absences by students, two of the bigger disciplinary problems that come up, so peer mentoring could have a positive effect in addressing these issues in a conscientious manner.

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