A good problem to have

WC and Northeast Hamilton learning centers see kindergarten enrollment grow

It’s a good problem to have.

That was the summation of Webster City School Board members when Pleasant View Elementary and Northeast Hamilton Elementary principals Mindy Mossman and Jessica Hector reported at Monday’s regular school board meeting that Kindergarten enrollment continues to grow.

In total, 144 students are enrolled in five sections at Pleasant View and two sections at NEH.

The administrators expect those numbers will continue to grow.  In fact, seven new students enrolled during the first week of January at NEH, said Hector.

In anticipation of this spring’s Kindergarten Round-Up, letters will be sent to parents at the end of January to notify them of the Spring Kindergarten Round-Up and attendance options, administrators announced. Class space at Pleasant View is near capacity while five additional classrooms are available at NEH.

“We have a beautiful facility with day care and after-school programs,” said NEH’s Hector. In addition, busses are currently transporting 22 students to the Blairsburg campus every day from the Webster City bus scramble.

With the large numbers of students in Kindergarten this year, Pleasant View is adding another section of First Grade for next year, said Mossman.

In other business, the board voted to join the Iowa Local Government Risk Pool Energy program. The program would cost the district $42,000 for the remainder of the current school year and can be paid from the management fund. Endorsed by WC School Board Secretary Cathi Hildebrand, the program charges the district an annual flat fee and does not the charge the district if energy prices rise.  There is also a possibility that the district would receive a refund if prices decrease, Hildebrand said.

In observance of Mentoring Month in January, Feleecia Watkins, YSS Mentoring Program Manager and Em Loughry, Webster City Mentor Facilitator, updated the board on the current Webster City program.

Presently, there are mentor matches in fourth and fifth grade with a goal of establishing ten matches by the end of the current school year.

Mentors are screened and receive two hours of one-on-one training which is also done with the student so that expectations can be defined, explained Watkins.  Mentors are asked to make a two year commitment of meeting with the student once a week during the school day. Activities would include eating lunch together, visiting the media center, playing games or visiting the gym to shoot hoops.

“They meet during the school day and do not leave the school grounds,” said Loughry.  “It is in a safe atmosphere so they can learn to trust us.”

Success is measured by academic progress, attitudes and the state of mind with input from the student, the mentor, parents and teachers, said Watkins. Last year, the programs in Boone and Story counties reported that 78 percent of the students participating experienced a boost in their self-esteem.

“We’ve got a great start in the middle school,” noted Loughry of the program at Webster City.  “There is a lot of peer interest”.

In other business, the board approved the Modified Allowable Growth for Drop-Out Prevention request in the amount of $671,257.

With thanks and appreciation, the board approved the early retirement for Cathi Hildebrand, Catherine Schrader, Sally Greenfield, Sue Jaycox and Kathy Davis.

In personnel, the board approved contracts for: Chris Blunk,Title I Reading; Tiffany Landrum, ELL; Sara Brock, paraeducator; and Michelle Lovelace, mentoring program.

In other business, the board approved the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 lease agreements with Prairie Lakes AEA with the option of reviewing the agreement for the 2020/2021 year.

The board approved the contract for education services with Mason City CSD, the 28E Agreement with South Hamilton CSD and the first reading of the board policy which allows school space for students interested in forming clubs or interest groups such as a comic book club, said Supt. Dr. Mandy Ross.

The board accepted with gratitude the donation of yoga mats and storage bins from Mary Fortune of the Shanti Rejuvenation Center.

The board approved fundraising requests for: the NEH Elementary carnival; the Pleasant View and Sunset Elementary cookie drive; and the high school Band Booster’s bake sale and silent auction.

In upcoming employee contract negotiations, Board Directors Richard Stroner and Beth Van Diest will serve on the teacher negotiation committee and Linda Williams and Eric Patterson will serve on the support staff committee.

Williams and Patterson will attend the informal board meeting in Stratford on Jan. 15. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:09 p.m. The next regular meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Office Board Room.


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