Morrison School Board: PTO Back to School Night a Success
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
MORRISON – The September 23rd agenda for the Morrison Board of Education included many items. Following the pledge of allegiance, and the approval of the agenda, board members approved minutes from previously held meetings.
Superintendent Suellen Girard reported that the technology committee will be meeting on Wednesday, September 25th, to consider a new company for adoption. Girard noted that all of the bond paperwork had been completed. Calculation on the impact of the potential withdrawal of Sterling from the Bi-County Special Education Coop is still ongoing. Some improvement in the budget was noted, due to some additional information that became available, as well as some increases in revenue. The Knights of Columbus will be granting requests from Special Education teachers for materials.
Girard commented on a pilot program being offered in one classroom at Northside. The program offers breakfast in the classroom, and appears to be a good financial move because of the increased participation. The program could be good for students, with the increasing numbers of free and reduced meals.
The financial audit has been completed, and the budget was positive overall. A request was made by the Lion’s Club to stand in the parking lot at the High School during homecoming for Candy Days. Ona Allison recently participated in a meeting for the School Board Association in Lanark and gave a presentation. “She represented Morrison well,” Girard said.
A report was heard from Elementary Principal Joe Robbins, featuring many topics. “Both schools held open houses, with teachers reporting about 75-80% of families showing up.”
The recent PTO back to school night was successful, with families being treated to hot dogs, chips, and drinks. More than 300 people were served.
The PTO recently purchased a bounce house, to be used at events throughout the year. Two classes in 3rd and 4th grade have been selected to participate in the PARCC field test. Both grade levels will be taking the Performance Based Assessment.
Parent meetings will be scheduled to discuss the many changes that are occurring in the state with standards, assessments, and goals. The meetings will help to better prepare parents for the future of their child’s education.
“I recently attended an area principals meeting to discuss all of the changes going on in the state,” Robbins stated. “I must say that we are much further ahead of the game than many schools that attended.”
Items continue to be received for the free family store located in the basement at Northside. The program has been utilized by many individuals and families so far. A blood drive will be hosted by the PTO on October 9th at Northside School.
Junior High Principal Darryl Hogue noted that approximately 125 parents attended the open house held on September 6th. Type one and Type two assessments have been given.
The Junior High has committed to building academic vocabulary as a whole school. Each subject area is reinforcing the vocabulary in class. The Junior High is putting together one or two Bi-county mini grants to increase some of the software that can be shared with Special Education students.
A coffee fund raiser will be sponsored by the Junior High for the student reward activity account. Money raised will support field trips, luncheons, and other activities that support the students.
“Morrison Junior High School would like to thank the Morrison Athletic Boosters for once again paying for some athletic supplies, tournament entry fees, and basketball carrying stands,” Hogue reported. “Their donation totaled about $2,000.00.”
At the High School level, Scott Vance reported that the High School is in discussions with Sauk Valley Community College about increasing the number of dual credit courses offered by the school.
Several High School teachers will again be attending the Common Core Networking session held at Sauk Valley Community College throughout the year.
The annual check from Target has been received. This money is from a percentage of money spent by Morrison residents at Target stores.
Vance reported that new cafeteria tables arrived, and have been arranged. The freshmen class recently participated in the annual BLIND retreat at Westwood Sports Complex, along with leaders and teachers. AP Literature students will be taking their annual field trip to take in a Shakespearian production.
A Finance Committee Report was reviewed, stating that the committee had received an update on refinancing of the 2004 bond issue from Dr. Girard. The rate is locked in at 3.15%; down from 4.4%. The Board authorized financing an additional $600,000.00 and the committee was presented with a group of projects that the money will be used for. The committee was updated on the audit and proposed budget.
At the Facilities Committee Meeting held on September 17th, the outcome of the Make a Difference Day was reviewed. It was agreed that the event had even more participation than anticipated. Goals for next year’s event were discussed.
The list of facility projects was reviewed. Dean Wallace will go ahead with the purchase of the needed equipment now as sales are going on. Two of the larger projects will wait until next spring or summer for completion. An architect will most likely be needed for the roof.
The well to water the football field and the practice field has been drilled. The pump was also installed. It will be a constant flow with 30 gallons of water at 128’ deep. The committee discussed using air-conditioning in any classrooms during hot weather. Wallace noted that the part-time summer custodians worked out well, and he would like to see them hired back next summer if they are interested.
Discussion items included Financial Report as of August 31st 2013; Treasurer’s Report as of August 31, 2013; Financial Comparisons FY11, FY12, FY13; Cash Flow Projections; Bills as of September 23, 2013.
Enrollment update showed a decline of one student between the 6 day enrollment figures and the end of August was noted.
The 2013-2014 Budget remains unchanged since the first presentation in August.
New School Report Cards will now include data on school climate and data showing the higher grading scale used for State testing. Information has been posted on the District website.
The board heard an update on SAUK collaboration.
Board Members completed Leadershop Academies. Jim Prombo will receive a Master School Board Member award at the IASB –NW meeting on Thursday September 19th.