'Big Buddy' program off to good start in Verndale
A "Big Buddy" program has begun in the Verndale School according to K-12 Dean of Students Arick Follingstad. At Monday's monthly meeting of the Verndale school board, Follingstad told members the program, headed by Special Education Teacher Jamie...
A "Big Buddy" program has begun in the Verndale School according to K-12 Dean of Students Arick Follingstad.
At Monday's monthly meeting of the Verndale school board, Follingstad told members the program, headed by Special Education Teacher Jamie Adams, finds National Honor Society members who can develop a rapport with youngsters whom elementary teachers have identified as needing support. The one-on-one sessions take place at least once a month.
"I've already heard quite a few good things from teachers saying those kids have changed already just knowing there is someone in the building, some big kid, that cares about how they are doing," Follingstad said.
The board also approved a master agreement for 2015-2017 with the school's support staff personnel.
A new contract with Follingstad, who bears the title of district assessment coordinator as well as dean of students, was tabled by board members until their April meeting.
The board accepted the resignation of Antoinette Sveom, who has held the position of English Language Learner (ELL) teacher for two years.
In her letter of resignation Sveom told Follingstad and Superintendent Paul Brownlow, "I think it is important for me to convey to you, however, that the amount of service I provided to the students was determined in part by my limited availability and not according to what was best for the students."
Sveom's resignation will be effective May 27. She stressed that it would be in the best interest of the ELL students for an evaluation of individual learning plans to be held before she leaves the district.
Heather Ellis was hired to fill the vacant Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale assistant track position, pending sufficient participation in the program.
Transportation Director Wade Kern briefed the board on a new type of school bus, a 2016 Bluebird Type C, which is gas-powered and will hold 71 passengers. After weighing the pros and cons, the board approved Kern's recommendation for the purchase of the bus for $79,480.75.
Brownlow told the board that with the assistance of Kern, he is continuing to pursue options in the acquisition of property for the school district. The district is hoping to build a new bus garage facility in the future.
The board approved a recommendation to increase the summer recreation director salary to $2,100. The board also approved a recommendation to increase rates in the 2016 summer rec program.
While shared contracts with Bertha-Hewitt were approved in Spanish, art and agriculture, the dissolution of a Family and Consumer Science (FACS) shared agreement with Bertha-Hewitt was also approved.
Brownlow shared information with the board concerning Technology Mobile, a program sponsored by the National Joint Powers Alliance Innovative Funding. District 818 has been selected to participate and for a $3,000 fee will have access to equipment such as a 3D printer, a drone, a laser engraver, a CNC mill for wood, a plasma table and a welding simulator.
The board also learned that 11 staff members have submitted requests for equipment and supplies totaling $37,906.52 through the Exemplary Funds program. Some of the request include Chromebooks, social skills curriculum, a security camera system, water-filling stations, a metal working mill and computer software licenses.