NEW BREMEN – A slight decline in enrollment and a continuous improvement report that may be a preview of the state report card grades were part of the discussions at Wednesday night’s meeting of the New Bremen Board of Education.
The board heard that a total of 752 students were enrolled for the 2018-19 school year. Last year the total was 766. Broken down, the K-8 numbers were 514, down from 525 the previous year. In grades 9 – 12, 238 students enrolled this year, down from 241 the previous academic year.
Diane Kramer, K-6 principal, also presented the board with Continuous Improvement report, which provided and overall comparison between the 2017 and 2018.
The report showed only 1 decline in district grades, from C down to D under the area of Prepared for Success, which looks at how well prepared students are for all future opportunities. All other areas either held steady or showed improvement.
In the area of Achievement, which signified students who passed the state tests and how well they performed, the grade stayed at the same grade B level. In Gap Closing, which shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable student populations, the district grade improved to an A level from a B. Grade K-3 Literacy, which tracks how successful the school is at getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in 3rd grade and beyond, the district improved their grade from C to an A. On the Progress scale, which looks at the growth all students make based on past performance, the grade held at B for both years. The Graduation Rate remained at A for both years, which measures the percentage of students who successfully finished high school.
Kramer said the district and building State Local Report cards will be out later this week.
In other elementary news, Kramer said many programs were off to a good start.
Title 1 Reading and RTI classes have begun for students who were selected for intervention at the end of last year. A Title 1 parent meeting will be held the end of September.
To better track student growth throughout the year, STAR Early Literacy Assessments for grades K-1 and STAR Reading and Math assessments for grades 2-8 are being administered.
Kramer said that the 5th grade students are preparing for their annual field trip to the Bruckner Nature Center in September. Also, she said the elementary school will celebrate Spirit Week with a district wide pep rally Friday, September 21.
She also said that collaboration among the elementary teachers will include meeting with all grade level teachers in K-3 to review diagnostics tools needed for assessments and full and partial evaluations of teachers. Also, on Sept. 19-20, all K-8 staff will be see the 3D imaging of the interior of the new K-8 building. Finally, Kramer said high school and junior high students are being encouraged to tutor younger students during study halls.
Under community engagement, she said 20 people came to the first of four Cardinal Pride parent organization meetings. Officers for this group are Ambie Lennartz as president, Renee Paul as secretary, and Angie Sunderhaus as treasurer.
Grade 7-12 Principal Marcus Overman reported that in regards to continuous improvement, he had consulted with Director of Technology Brian Puthoff on how to have one-on-one implementation and decided a committee would allow a way to gather teacher input.
Overman also said he attended a Gifted Regional Meeting which provided insight into changes for the 2018-19 school year. He said he’d meet with school gifted coordinator Vaughn Ray to discuss what he learned.
The principal also said that teachers will now be able to access Study Island, a program that allows teachers to set up practice tests and other review material. In other software opportunities, the teachers will be receiving webinar training of Edge Factor, which allows teachers and students to explore career opportunities.
Also, Overman said he has been in contact with juniors and seniors who are short of EOC points needed for graduation, making them aware of remediation work opportunities.
The Board approved the $100 donation from the Community Backpack+ program to be put toward the “No-Shame Lunch Fund.” The Board also thanked the New Bremen Fire Department and Cross-Country team for power-washing the Visitor’s bleachers so that they could be painted.
In an update on the new elementary building, Superintendent Jason Schrader said that despite the rain, the site improvements continue. In response to questions from other board members about what will be included in the overall plan, Board member Scott Bertke said that once they meet Friday, they would have a better idea of what alternatives could be included. The architectural and contractor firms must come up with a firm maximum cost to fulfill the basic building plan. Once that cost is determined, then the 13 alternative options can be considered for addition in the building project. Bertke pointed out that the new Tri-Star building was able to include all 24 alternative options they wanted for their building once the final cost of the basic structure was determined. Schrader said some savings were realized when the State requirement for a full storm shelter had been eliminated.
The Board approved the Superintendent recommendation to hire Shawn Brown, Lisa Tobin, and Vaughn Ray to the Auglaize Educational Service Center. In related news the Board approved entering in a yearly agreement with ESC to receive services from that organization.
The Board also approved the hiring of Kacie Pape as freshman girls basketball coach, and Kathie Kelley-McDermitt as a bus driver.
Schrader also said that the school has nine certified and four classified employees whose contracts expire at the end of the academic year.
In other board action, in lieu of providing bus transportation for their children to Sidney Christian Academy, they agreed to pay Dan and LaRita Condon and Ben and Becky Schmiesing each a total of $725 at the completion of the school year.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.