The Newtown-Harris R-3 Board of Education set and approved the local tuition rate on September 18. Any out-of-district student wishing to attend the district is eligible upon payment of the $13,500 tuition fee.
The board formally approved a $17,000 payment to Central Restaurant for a freezer. Stacy and Nevin Hamilton are working on the freezer project and anticipate its completion around October 9, pending materials and weather conditions.
The local testing calendar was approved for the period from April 3 to May 25, 2024.
Activity drivers were approved; they are Breanna Millar, Carolyn Hood, and Jack Hood.
Sandy Busick received approval as a substitute teacher.
The board approved the Local Compliance Plan certification statement. Superintendent Dr. Matt Copeland reported that the statement assures Newtown-Harris is using federal money appropriately in compliance with laws related to special education.
Copeland said that three of the four district buses are operational. Lonny Lovett from the Princeton R-5 School District contacted the Highway Patrol regarding Newtown-Harris’s safety inspection for the final bus that was repaired for the school year. Newtown-Harris is now back in compliance with the state.
Lovett plans to monitor the brake pads. Copeland noted that it’s not urgent, but they will be assessed again before the district’s annual inspection in March.
The Missouri United School Insurance Council has not yet provided a full report to Newtown-Harris about the district’s out-of-service bus.
The district’s application for a Clean School Bus Grant for an electric bus is under review by the federal government. Lion Electric will inform the district about the next steps when they are ready. More information is expected in November.
Missouri Consultants for Education policy and regulation changes were discussed. Copeland noted that it was the board’s first opportunity to review the policies and regulations sent to districts on September 6. The board will delve deeper into the topics in October. Several of the topics are discussed in the Missouri Association of Rural Education board refresher training.
All board members, except Dustin Lewis, must complete the refresher training. At the October meeting, the board will attest to the training as stipulated by Missouri statute.
The district is working on a beta version of its website. Copeland stated that there is a lot of information to add or switch over. The yearbook group has been assisting with the project, and SpringHive has been working on behalf of the district to ensure the website is of high quality.
Newtown-Harris has compiled Missouri Assessment Program and End of Course exam data for spring 2023 testing. Copeland reported several areas of improvement across content areas and grade levels. He noted that the scores are a key indicator of the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.
The district aims for 80% proficiency and advancement. Copeland said the goal focuses on teaching and learning based on the Missouri Learning Standards in general and the Priority Standards in particular.
Copeland attended a webinar last week hosted by the Success Ready Student Network. The webinar focused on competency-based learning and education. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Board of Education approved the demonstration waiver in August. The application has been submitted to the federal government for approval.
Once approved, schools may be entitled to waivers related to MAP and EOC testing in the future. Newtown-Harris is in line to be the third cohort for the waiver, if and when it is approved.
Karla Matlok from the District Continuous Improvement/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Star Assessment spoke to Newtown-Harris staff during a professional development day last week. She emphasized the importance of collaboration and using the district’s data related to academics, writing, behaviors, attendance, and social-emotional learning. The collaboration focuses on collective teacher efficacy, which is the belief that a community of teachers and leaders can solve challenging problems when they believe in each other and know they can effectively make a difference.
Copeland noted that Newtown-Harris is at the start of this journey and hopes to present its reflections at the summer DCI/MTSS conference in June. Renaissance Star is the assessment tool the district will use to drive its DCI/MTSS processes.
Copeland reported that EOC and MAP scores provide a snapshot of the district’s academic performance. The DCI/MTSS process offers a pathway for students to receive interventions and strategies to improve.
The North Central Career Center Consortium Agreement was discussed. The agreement designates South Harrison School District as the fiduciary for Newtown-Harris’s Perkins Grant money.
Newtown-Harris is sending two students to Career Tech. Copeland stated that the district needs to explore ways to increase the number of students attending career tech education in the coming years.
Copeland reported minor changes have been made to some routines focused on student improvement and readiness. In the morning, after Tiger Care from 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m., students can engage in physical activities in the gym.
Another change is how the district uses its Paws time at the end of the day. The focus is now on rewarding students who are ahead in their work. Copeland said some students focus on choir and yearbook, while others work in a study hall environment or participate in an activity in the gym.
The setup allows staff members to target students for interventions, homework help, or enrichment based on student needs. This time is also when counseling for seventh through twelfth-grade students occurs once a week.
Activity Driver Breanna Millar expressed frustration about pay period processes and procedures.
State Representative Danny Busick and local businesswoman Amy Peterson urged Newtown-Harris to spend more money locally, especially at the Newtown grocery store.
Missouri Consultants for Education and board member training provide insights into what is being discussed for implementation in the legislature. The district will monitor the effects of personal property provisions for seniors and the continued push for open enrollment in schools.
Missouri now offers two high school test equivalency options: the High School Equivalency Test and the General Education Development test. These exams produce an accredited Missouri High School Equivalency Certificate for individuals who pass.