PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
LOCKWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT #26
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, BILLINGS, MT
Special Meeting


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November 11, 2004

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CALL TO ORDER                                                                  

Vice-Chairperson Teresa Stroebe opened the meeting at 7:10 p.m., reminding those in attendance that this was a work session only. The topic of discussion would be the Future Growth Committee for the Lockwood School District.

The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Teresa Stroebe, Gayle Walker, and Barbara Forrester Frank. Trustees absent were Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, and Thomas Jones. Superintendent Eileen Johnson was present; district clerk/business manager Diane Brook was absent.

Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Art Anderson, and Becky Conner.

Barbara Forrester Frank suggested that taking five minutes to review the survey information that was gathered from the Future Growth Committee (FGC).

Teresa Stroebe read letters addressed to the Board regarding Lockwood Schools Future Growth. She suggested taking a few minutes to read through the other compiled results silently. (The letters and compiled results are attached).

Eileen Johnson informed those present that we have been received grant money and MAC Medicaid money to cover the salaries of three teachers for the second half of the school year. She requested feedback from those in attendance to start the selection of the types of teachers that are most needed by the school. This is needed so the advertising, interviewing and hiring of said teachers can be implemented as soon as possible.

Mike Bowman supported staff proposals to permanently reinstate a physical education teacher for the Primary School. He also thought the caseloads of Title 1 should be reviewed and two tutors could possibly be added. They are currently down one tutor from the previous school year and current caseloads are not realistic.

Eileen Johnson’s concern is that Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for the 2003-04 school year was not met in the Intermediate School.

Dave DeBoer expressed concerns that third grade has a tremendous need for classroom space, Title 1 and Special Education. The need is vital and classes are overloaded. AYP may not have been met due to the high number of children in Special Education.

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He felt that fourth grade classroom sizes were adequate, but unable to meet the needs of the Title 1 kids. Also noted was that eight of 15 children were recommended for retention in third grade.

Fifth grade numbers are also high, and a qualified, certified teacher is essential in the K-5 grade levels.

He felt that while no one is against P.E. or Art programs, vital needs must take priority to achieve AYP.

Teresa Stroebe felt that it was important that the session not be used to make emotional decisions. All facts need to be gathered to make an educated decision.

The third grade staff, as a whole, made a statement at this time. They detailed their concerns in a letter written to the Board. They feel that their hands are tied with so much to accomplish to prepare their students to advance and AYP. They feel that a para-professional would be a real help to the teacher, however an additional teacher would be better. Additionally, they feel that adding a paraprofessional to the mix, instead of an additional teacher, is not feasible due to space considerations and the time it takes for a teacher to prepare work for the paraprofessional to present.

Teresa Stroebe expressed concern that we have the space for an additional teacher, even with the addition of the new classrooms.

Eileen Johnson said that we have enough funding and space to hire three teachers for one semester, and we would have to look at the issue again for next year. She felt that the money would best be invested in teachers.

Teresa Stroebe agreed, and asked where the new staff would be put.

Eileen Johnson informed us that they could occupy rooms 404, 405 and 406.

Teresa Stroebe asked if space was available in the Primary School, for example, for a PE teacher.

Eileen Johnson stated that space is available in Room 307, the Primary Gym.

Barbara Forrester Frank felt strongly that the Primary needs to have a reading and math specialist.

Dave DeBoer brought up the idea of dividing students into two rooms for a multi-grade class

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Eileen Johnson discussed the possibility of putting students from multiple grades in a high needs classroom which would serve several grade levels.

Mike Bowman’s concern was to keep the number of students in individual classrooms low.

Eileen Johnson informed that this allows multi-grade levels for numbers below accreditation.

Barbara Forrester Frank informed those present that she is not a fan of this idea, and research does not support that it helps low kids. She expressed her desire for a third grade teacher because class sizes are too big and the need for skills support for teachers, especially in reading and math, in the primary and third grades.

Eileen Johnson commented that math is a real concern with Average Yearly Progress.

Barbara Forrester Frank brought up the possibility of a math coach; they have had great success with this at Ponderosa School in the Billings district. Their math coach works throughout the school district. Barbara reiterated that her priority would be an additional third grade teacher.

Teresa Stroebe felt that the options should be presented to the full Board of Trustees.

Barbara Forrester Frank would like to look at hiring tutors, in addition to adding another teacher.

Mike Bowman informed that the population in the second grades is the most over accreditation standards.

Teresa Stroebe asked what our options would be to fulfill the needs of the school and meet the grant requirements.

Mike Bowman presented the following list on the dry erase board:

1. Hire a qualified third grade teacher
2. Hire a qualified third grade reading/math teacher
3. Hire a qualified math coach
4. Hire a PE teacher
5. Hire a qualified second grade teacher
6. Hire a qualified reading teacher for the Middle School

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Barbara Forrester Frank felt the choices had to be based on what would help us make AYP.

Eileen Johnson reiterated that we can afford three teachers.

Gayle Walker expressed a concern in the difference in cost to hire an experienced teacher, or someone out of college.

Eileen Johnson reviewed some figures for pay for certified teachers at different levels on the salary matrix. She advised that a teacher could be hired that has both an Elementary Education and Health Enhancement endorsements, for example, and they could do both jobs by serving part-time in each.

Marie Anderson, speaking on behalf of the third grade staff, asked if it would be possible to have a third grade and fourth grade reading/math coach.

Eileen Johnson felt that while this is a consideration, it would be difficult to find a teacher with that specialized training, especially at this time in the school year.

Mike Bowman reiterated that it would be difficult to find a multi-level specialist at this time of year.

Eileen Johnson informed us that if AYP does not improve, the state can take matters into their own hands. They can require the district to hire specialists or coaches assigned to our low areas.

Barbara Forrester Frank expressed concern that we may want to add a second grade teacher.

Mike Bowman noted there are a lot of logistics involved in this, including the disruption to students who have bonded with their teachers; it is a difficult transition for students.

Teresa Stroebe feels strongly that we need to follow a “whole child approach” and find a way to include Art and Health Enhancement, as well as meet our AYP goals.

Mike Bowman supported a second grade Title 1 class to lower the number of children in these classes.

Eileen Johnson asked what direction the members and those in attendance from the committee felt we should be going, as time is growing short to fill the positions.

Barbara Forrester Frank felt that an additional third grade teacher was essential.

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Teresa Stroebe suggested recessing to gather and review facts in order to make a knowledgeable, “whole child” approach, that includes Art and Health Enhancement.

She felt that input from the full Board was needed, and perhaps come up with a decision at the next full Board meeting.

Eileen Johnson reminded us that time is short and we will need to make a decision as soon as possible.

Teresa Stroebe asked about current overcrowding and other lack-of-space issues.

Eileen Johnson informed those present that even with the addition of the six new classrooms, we are at overcrowded levels. We would need an additional eight classrooms to meet state classroom size standards for just this school year.

Barbara Forrester Frank felt that prioritizing students’ most important needs was important. She said perhaps we should look to volunteers at recess time for organized Health Enhancement.

Gayle Walker felt that this might be a feasible alternative.

Barbara Forrester Frank suggested that we need a plan to work from. The Board needs to plan and facilitate a set of priorities, so that when money becomes available in the future, we are ready to put it to use. We need a plan for the growth of the school, additional classroom space, AYP goals, and shrink the number of students currently in classrooms.

Teresa Stroebe felt that we should be working in conjunction with other committees in the community, such as the Lockwood Steering Committee, on a 20-year plan. We need to set goals and priorities.

Eileen Johnson reiterated that she would like to advertise as quickly as possible to see who is available to add to the staff at this time.

She also informed us that there is supposed to be a member of the Board who attends the Steering Committee Meetings.

Teresa Stroebe felt that it is important to look at the long range option of not staying on the current campus.

Eileen Johnson felt that we need, for the purpose of this work session, to stay focused on the current task.

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No decisions were made at this meeting.

Teresa Stroebe called for closing the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

 

__________________________________           ________________________________

         Timothy Trafford, Chairman                            Diane M. Brook, District Clerk

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