PHS scores above National ACT average
Penney High scores above National ACT average
PHS school counselors, Erin Yuille and Chelee Phillips, attended Hamilton’s school board meeting to discuss the assessments of ACT testing, and instructed the board on how to read the test results. Overall, they were very pleased with the report. One thing the test showed was that students transferring to the school in the middle of the year did not have the success as other students who were in PHS the entire year. Some of the highlights of the test are as follows: PHS scored an overall composite ACT average of 21.6. The National average for the test was 21.0 and the State average 21.8, which was up from last year. There were 53 students in the PHS graduating class of 2015. Thirty-two graduates, or 60% of the class, took the test. Twenty-three graduates are currently enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college, and the average ACT score of those graduates was 23.2. The average ACT score of graduates who took the test but did not enroll in a college was 18.6. Juniors who took the test last year scored 20.4, one point higher than the Junior State average.
Superintendent Ford read note from C. H. McIntosh thanking the students and staff for the tribute given to veterans on Veteran’s Day.
Members of the Student Council gave their report: Braxton Cook, FFA member, participated in the area speaking contest. The school’s fundraiser has been completed and they should be delivering items on Dec. 4. For their December meeting, the students are planning to go Christmas caroling. In Cross Country, both boys and girls teams took third at Districts and there were five individual state qualifiers, Jessica Noble, Caitlyn Hoak, Jacey Cook, Crayton Crawford and Seth Wynne. Cheerleading took second place at State and they are looking forward to rooting for the boys this Saturday.
Forty-five people attended the MSBA Regional Meeting, and an attorney spoke about discipline that was going on in Missouri schools.
The Board discussed the Evaluation of Curriculum. Mrs. Schieber ranked it a score of 4. On a positive side the curriculum is supported by the school’s administrators and teachers work hard to improve it on a yearly basis. Some concerns is the uncertainty that still remains around Missouri standards causing teacher unrest. Superintendent Troy Ford said they were tested on those standards this past year and it was all new. More time is needed to support new teachers in the district, as there is a lot of new staff this year. The recommendation is to continue work with professional development and administration to support the teachers. Ford said, “If we’re not positive on what our students are being tested on, it’s oftentimes difficult to know what to focus on. This will be a challenge for a while until the State gets everything lined out on what they think our kids need.”
Evaluation of Instructional Effectiveness was rated a 4. Ford pointed out that the experience of the staff on all levels was good, BUZZ days in the middle school and high school allow for teacher collaboration, and other new programs have also proven to be very useful. Also, a new teacher evaluation program is now in place. Ford said that some concerns were with testing. The District hears from parents who don’t believe in the tests in the spring and don’t want their children to take them. Another concern is that there are some students with poor behavior that are hurting the learning environment. Many parents criticize the curriculum and what is being taught, such as elementary math. Ford is also concerned about finances for continuous improvement. Recommendations would be to continue to increase salary schedules for teachers to retain staff, continue to update technology in all three schools, which they have been working on, and have high quality professional development. Ford said that a lot of times in today’s society, they expect the District to complete many of the responsibilities that the parents should be in charge of. He also added that the District still has a lot of children that come to kindergarten that are not ready to learn. Hopefully, he said, preschool will make a difference with those kids.
Ford said he talked to those in charge of the Eagle Scout project and they are going to focus on working on the bench, which is closer to the school, and not worry about what is further back in the outdoor classroom.
Ford said the Major Molly Chapter of DAR would like to repair the broken rock pillar at the high school and want permission to put their sign and flag at the site.
The board made a motion to move forward with the general obligation bond which will be a no tax increase bond and the board approved board policy updates. The board also approved board filing dates for Dec. 15 to Jan. 19 to elect two board members for three year terms.
Three board members were elected to serve on the John Belcher Scholarship committee.
Ford said he has been finalizing the budget and will have a copy for the board to look at next month. He said the school has been going through an audit the past three days, and John Gillum from Kirksville may attend the December meeting and present their findings to the board.
Ford said that the furnace that heats the AG room and office is having issues and needs to be replaced.
Ford mentioned that word from Jeff City is that there are going to be some bills pushed in the Missouri legislature for schools to start after Labor Day. Some people are also unhappy that the State Fair starts after the school start date.
The fact that some schools start before the State Fair was also mentioned as a negativity.