Hamilton School Board evaluates “At Risk” program; Relooks policy on alcohol abuse
The Hamilton School Board met Wednesday, Feb. 16, for their monthly meeting. All board members were present with the exception of Marcy Swindler.
Krista Schoff and James Melton from the Penney High Student Council reported on the following: Wrestlers had districts last week and they left today for State, four people qualified, Jacob Roberts, Radley Reed, Derek Aikin, and Garrett Trosper. The Council of Student Activities (COSA) sponsored the court warming dance that was held last weekend, and it went very well. Foreign Language Club is going to a soccer game sometime in March. FBLA went to districts yesterday and seven students are going to State, Braxten Cook will be their next Area 19 President and Bailey Pickering will be District Parliamentarian. Boys’ basketball is the #1 seed in Districts which is coming up, FFA judging day will be March 8, there were seven applications for area FFA degrees, Lyndi Heldenbrand, Max Grant, Alex Angle, Abby Anderson, Meredith Clevenger, and Christian Crawford. Five students competed in area contests and two at proficiency: Jacob Crabb got fourth in Ag Sales, Georgia Gibler, third in Turf Grass Management, Colby Belshe, first in Ag Mechanics, Morgan Dotson, first in Swine Production, and Max Ernat got first in Home and Community Development. Twenty-five choir students attended the KCI Conference on the sixth.
The board evaluated the “At Risk” Program. Superintendent Ford said that some of the strengths of the program were that the school has written policies for the identification of high risk students, high school’s “check and connect,” all middle school students have study hall, elementary “care teams”, and the PBS program at elementary, which he believes is a good thing. Concerns of the program are that there are a great number of “at risk” kids in the district and numerous parents expect a lot from the district to help raise these students that have issues. Ford said it would be nice to get more support from the Division of Family Services (DFS). Overall he rated the program a 4 out of 5. Ford said the district was giving a poverty “teacher in service” next week, where teachers can actually drive around and look at some different places where “at risk” students live.
An evaluation was given of the Food Service Program. Ford said there is a new director and they have changed their menus, now offering 3-4 entrees. He added that participation is up in the district and the program meets all the nutritional guidelines. Overall, Ford said he was very happy with the food service and rated it a 4.
Terry Moore of the CTA reported that they wanted to show their support for the bond issue that’s passing in committee. She is trying to get volunteers to man the phones for the last two weeks and is hoping to discuss with her members funds for advertisement for the issue and stressed that this cannot be used with taxpayer money. She thanked the board for their support.
The board approved a bid from OPAA for food service. Lunches for next year 2016-17, will cost the district $2.96 and breakfast $1.99.
Summer school dates are scheduled for May 23 to June 17 (19 days).
Ford said that Mr. Burns notified him today that he received a (BOAC) Building Our American Communities grant, for $2,000 to put toward pens at the fairgrounds.
Ford shared some information with the board that he received from Mrs. Scott, the school nurse, in regard to how many students visit the nurse daily. Reasons for the visits would include regular health visits, medication administration, injuries at school, routine care for chronic conditions, emotional support, child abuse, reproductive health visits, seizures, and misc. In the month of January, she saw 939 students or 50 per day.
Ford covered the school’s policy in regard to students who come to school under the influence or bring alcohol to school. Currently, Penney students are suspended for a semester. Some on the board believed that missing an entire semester of school was too strict. The purpose of school was to educate the children and that cannot be done if they are not there. Board member, Jessica Green said that they obviously needed to be suspended with some repercussion, but if a kid is making poor choices and is suspended from school, which may be their only means of structure, they will be free to continue drinking. “How are we providing them with maybe some other avenue of assistance,” “ To me I feel like we are pushing them into that lifestyle more as opposed to helping them get out of that lifestyle,” said Green. It was noted that a lot of other schools only suspend their students for ten days.
Ford said that the problem with alcohol was not a regular occurrence in Hamilton and only happened once or twice last year.
High School Principal, Tim Schieber, said that when a child is covered under IDEA (special education), the district is required to educate them during that time, if a child is not, they are getting nothing. “Is that fair? No, it’s really not fair,” said Schieber. “If there was a way they could have some type of a program where they could still be under an educational environment, I think that would be the ideal one,” added Schieber. Ford suggested he could come up with other options for the board to consider and continue the discussion at a later meeting.
In other school news, Ford reported that state wrestling was coming up, Mr. Schieber will be going down to supervise the wrestlers. Ford said he spoke to the American Legion about the upcoming bond issue in April. Next Monday he is meeting with the district’s insurance broker about costs for health care. The boys’ basketball team received a share of the conference title with Lawson after their victory last night over in West Platte. Ford said he will be advertising to find a replacement for Mrs. Cox and hopefully they will have someone hired by the first of April with training through September.