Minster BOE updated on federal funds

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

MINSTER – The Minster Board of Education met Monday, Sept. 20, to hear about the district’s use use of federal funds and plans for an upcoming levy.

As part of a public hearing at the beginning of the board meeting, Treasurer Laura Klosterman said the district had received the following funds and had dedicated them as follows: $38,627.87 in Title 1 is to be used toward the salary of a Reading Intervention Teacher; $12,958.32 in Title IIA is to be used for professional development for teachers; $170,604.14 in Title VI (IDEA) Part B funding is to be used for the salary of an intervention specialist and for services to special education students provided by the Auglaize County Educational Service Center; $10,000 in Title IVA funds goes to promote safety and innovative programs for purchasing vape detectors. $1,307.54 in EOCO funding to support AP training and CCP courses. Klosterman said this information was also shared in the school’s August newsletter.

The board accepted a $2,000 donation from the Minster Civic Association for the Elementary Playground Expansion and a $800 donation from HA Dorstens in the form of a concrete pad under a memorial bench.

Superintendent Boeke reported to the board the elementary playground expansion was complete. Begun in 2011, the playground now has a large playset, expanded hard surface play area, additional swing set, and sitting area. She said Gehret’s Nursery recently constructed the final phase of the playground which includes a dramatic play/outdoor amphitheater area and maze of tall grasses where students explore nature items.

Boeke also said a brochure had been produced for the upcoming levy, with plans to send a copy to every household in the district.

Boeke reported the state school district report card will be released Oct. 14. The state’s accountability system and Ohio School Report Cards for the 2020-21 school year will look different, she said, because of short-term changes in Ohio law and the accountability waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Most consequences, such as federal identification requirements, have been waived or paused during this school year. The state will not assign letter grades or issue rankings.

The superintendent received board approval for a snow removal contract with Ruhenkamp Boring and Trenching, the 8th grade trip to Washington DC (Oct. 17-21), the FFA trip to National Convention (Oct. 27-30), band trip to Disney (Nov. 9-14), FFA trip to State Convention (May 5-6), and the TAG trip to Chicago (May 12-13).

Junior/Senior Principal Austin Kaylor said that homecoming court had been selected. The attendants are freshmen Sadie Niemeyer and Isaac Larger, sophomores Charlie Schmiesing and Ashley Meyer and juniors Noah Piipari and Paige Bornhorst. Senior queen/king court members include Maura Baumer, Jayden Clune, Katie Kogge, Claire Lamm, Hayley Prenger and Mary Schmiesing, Alex Albers, Riley Heitkamp, Caleb Kies, Tyler Prenger, Guy Weigandt and Austin Wellman.

He added elections had also been held for class officers and student council members.

Kaylor thanked the staff and students for a smooth start to the school year. He said that while the lingering pandemic has kept routines from being 100% normal, they were certainly much closer than last year. In particular, he said the Cat’s Pride time has been successful in its earliest stages. The daily 30-35 minute period is providing flexibility in scheduling various different events/meetings/assemblies. He added, more importantly, it is allowing students time to get help from teachers, manage stress/anxiety, and make meaningful, non-academic connections to our teaching staff and their peers.

Kaylor also said he had been reviewing random drug testing policies at other schools and if the board was interested in implementing this in the future, he could contact a representative from Great Lakes Biomedical to meet and provide more information.

Finally the principal said that teacher evaluations will begin later this month. This year’s evaluation procedures were reviewed at a recent K-12 staff meeting. This is the first year of implementation for the new “OTES 2.0” system.

Elementary Principal Leanne Keller presented charts that showed the range of students on or off track in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, based on KRA (Kindergarten) and NWEA MAP scores. She added that these numbers were preliminary, as make-up testing is still in progress.

At the kindergarten level, 47 students are on track, with 17 students off track. Grade 1 has 65 on track and none off track. Grade 2 has 60 on track and 11 off track. Grade 3 has 59 on track and four off track. All students who are designated as off track will be placed on a Reading Improvement & Monitoring Plan.

She also reported on projected proficiency levels on the Spring Ohio state tests in English language arts and mathematics, based on Fall 2021 NWEA MAP scores. A total of 210 students in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 scored at either the proficient, accelerated or advanced levels with only 39 scoring in the limited or basic level. In mathematics, a total of 226 students in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 scored at proficient, accelerated or advanced levels, while 21 students in those grades scored at either limited or basic skills.

The board approved the Youth Leadership Association’s request to host a “Make a Difference” festival. Jenna Schulze from the Random Acts of Kindness Committee spoke on behalf of the group. The festival will take place on the front high school parking lot and will include various small businesses selling their wares and the Random Acts of Kindness group providing face and pumpkin painting. A basket raffle and snacks will be for sale with all proceeds going to the Rustic Hope organization.

The board accepted the resignation of Angela Siefring and the hiring of Stefanie Hall as the evening custodian. They also approved Michael Burns as pre-school bus driver, Michelle Muhlenkamp as cook’s helper, Holly Mertz as substitute cook’s helper, Sydney Clark as substitute student healthcare aide and Vickie Scherer as substitute custodian. The board also approved Barb Plieman as the junior class concession adviser and Seth Harmeyer as an assistant football coach.

The Board adjourned to executive session, but had nothing to announce when they returned to regular session.

The next regular board meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in the large group meeting room.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.