North Putnam board discusses summer food program, snow days
Waiting for the North Putnam School Board meeting to start, one might have wondered how on earth all of the community members that had shown up could possibly squeeze into the meeting room.
The seats filled up and soon there was standing room only, with people filling in all empty spaces with spillover standing in the hallway.
Many of these attendees were proud parents and family members of students receiving awards as part of the NPSB "celebrating success" campaign that rewards students for accolades and academic improvement.
Students who earned a gold rating at the Indiana State School Music Association's solo and ensemble competition are: Gwen Mazur, Jessica Games, Jenna Olsen, Jerica Bean, Alan Skillern, Christina Rice, Sydney Harmon, Rachael Lubinski and Samantha Flannelly.
In addition to the gold rating, Flannelly also earned a "perfect score" on her choral solo, a rare achievement at the state level of competition.
Attendees expressed their pride and applauded the students' achievements.
Students were also awarded for their academic achievements as part of this campaign. Plaques were awarded to Roachdale second-grade student Brendan Oliver for being among the highest math and reading score improvements in the school; Bainbridge first-grader Aaron Marsden for academic excellence and Gabrielle Carney for being the only student who has already completed the entire eighth grade reading curriculum.
Approval was given to open the campaign of the summer food program to all "camps" (band camp, wrestling camp, etc.) held at the middle school throughout June, July and August.
The Affordable Health Care Act lawsuit was once again a topic of discussion with the board, addressing the issue of how to handle continuing questions about the definition of volunteer and full-time employees and how those definitions affect school decision-making considerations. The board eventually decided that the best way to address this and various other questions that remain with the board is through a written correspondence with the school's lawyer Jim Hamilton. It was decided that if this correspondence did not satisfactorily resolve questions from the board, that a meeting with Hamilton could be arranged.
When it was time for comments from the community two school aides asked to place a request for pay raises on the April school board agenda. The pay raise requests are part of a recurring dialogue tied to a change in hours due to the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Superintendent Dan Noel presented the "first reading" of the "Objectives and Strategies" plan to improve curriculum and standards, personal development, facility improvements, and school corporation employees relationship with the community. The treatise includes a "we believe" section, laying out suggested school core values and basic goals such as "all students read at or above grade level by the end of the third grade," "success and identity instill pride," and "student achievement is enhanced and improved through higher expectations for performance," to cite a few of them.
A first reading is an opportunity for board members to review the guidelines laid out by Noel and to return to the next school board meeting with suggested objections, changes, and points of agreement.
Noel also sought approval to begin preliminary planning for a K-12 swimming program and community access to the swimming pool via an open swim night.
Noel shared his experience of having to learn how to swim later in life and rhetorically asked attendees, "Why can't our families come in and use the pool?"
Noel was given approval and will arrive with details, including busing costs, lifeguard availability and program scheduling to be discussed at next month's board meeting.
The board also tabled the discussion of leaving the WIC and joining the WCC league until the board meeting in April.
In a prior meeting with Noel, the school staff requested the snow make-up day scheduling to be reconsidered. The board did so and ultimately approved remain ing with the current scheduling that extends the last day of school until June 2, 2014.
The next North Putnam School Board meeting will take place on April 17.
In other business:
* High school graduation will be held at 11 a.m. on May 31 at North Putnam High School.
* The board approved changes in school policy regarding admittance of home-school students into classrooms, participation in extracurricular activities, and athletics.
* The board approved to donate salvageable parts from any current and possible future construction projects to the Russellville Community Center. The donations would include useable materials that would otherwise be sold for scrap.
* A progress report on the construction project at Roachdale Elementary school was presented. It outlined which projects have been completed, which have begun and included a two-week forecast of expected progress.
* The board approved spending $155,597.34 as part of a computer replacement program for K-12, the funds come from the Common School Fund and is ultimately billed to the state.