Trenton Board of Education adopts school calendar for 2020-2021 while dealing with very busy agenda

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 school calendar on Tuesday evening. The first day of school for Trenton next school year will be August 25th, and the last day will be May 19th, 2021.

Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels said the calendar includes eight make up days for days missed for inclement weather. He noted the district misses an average of four and a half days each school year due to inclement weather, but the 2018-2019 school year had more. He also reported the earliest school districts can start for 2020-2021 is August 24th due to a new law.

The board approved Trenton High School Counselor Lanie Beetsma submitting a GEC grant application for a $1,000 non-matching grant for a large storage cabinet with a lock to be used for the Bulldog Closet. The Bulldog Closet provides clothing and personal hygiene items to students who cannot afford to purchase them.

The Guidance Counselor Handbook was approved. Trenton High School Principal Kasey Bailey reported the changes mainly dealt with updating names and job descriptions as well as a few housekeeping items. Changes involved crisis response, counselor calendars, and a suicide prevention policy.

The board approved the payment of funds to the Grundy County Jewett Norris Library for $2,021.44 from the Frank Drake Library Fund, of which the Trenton R-9 School District is the steward.

Construction Project Spokesperson Dennis Gutshall gave an update on work at the construction sites. The footings are complete at the Performing Arts Center, and structural steel is scheduled for January 22nd. Precast walls are now scheduled for February 3rd, which Gutshall noted was two weeks later than originally planned. However, he said the delay for the precast walls should not affect the overall schedule.

A safety planned has been created to relocate students in some locations at the Trenton High School and Middle School for about two weeks when they cannot be in a 150-foot area while work is being done on the precast panels. Superintendent Mike Stegman noted the relocation would be in effect from 7 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The relocation involves moving some classes to other classrooms, THS lunch to the TMS gym, and band and choir to the First Baptist Church.

Gutshall reported a staging area for panels will be at the Trenton Municipal Airport. The concession stand block work is complete, and work on the roof framing is being done. Gutshall said the weather in December was better than he expected it to be for the project, and overall the project is on schedule. He explained cold weather does not affect the construction, but wet weather does.

A committee was created regarding Trenton Summer School, and it is to present a report on policy or the handbook at the next meeting. Committee members include board of education members Marcie Cutsinger and Dorothy Taul.

Stegman said board members received calls after last month’s meeting about proposed changes to the Summer School Handbook. The proposed changes involved transportation, an enrollment deadline, and consequences for students’ behavior.

Election filing dates were reviewed for the April 7th election. The last day to file for the three positions on the school board is January 21st at 5 o’clock. Those filing so far are incumbents Corey Leeper and Brandon Gibler as well as Andy Burress.

Director of Special Education Tara Hoffman gave the Early Childhood program and Parents as Teachers evaluation reports. She said 129 students are served by the Early Childhood program. Seventy-three are in four-year-old classes, and 56 are in three-year-old classes. There are six openings left. One hundred six students use busing as transportation, and the Bright Future Site Council provides weekly snack packs to 15 students.

Hoffman reported 68 children have home visits for Parents as Teachers, and there are 33 high needs families with home visits. She explained high needs are based on income and children’s needs.

Trenton Middle School Principal Daniel Gott presented the Health Services Evaluation Report. He said there were 7,853 health office visits at Rissler Elementary, and 126 visits by preschool students. The middle school had 3,692 health office visits, and the high school had 1,549. Gott noted the visits could be for anything, including taking daily medication, checking blood sugar, or scrapes. There are now six students at the middle and high schools with diabetes and one at the elementary school.

The health offices partner with the Green Hills Wellness Challenge for faculty and staff. The district keeps track of participant weights and reports them weekly to the Grundy County Health Department. Gott said the nurses do a “fantastic job.”

Two retirement letters were accepted, two instructors were hired, and the Superintendent’s contract was extended during the personnel-related executive session last night of the Trenton R-9 Board of Education.

Letters of retirement are from Trenton middle school instructor in family and consumer science, Suzi Beck; and from R-9 athletic director Wes Croy.

The R-9 school district announced the hiring for the next school year of Lauren Boswell for 7th-grade math and Sheridan Mounce for middle school art.

The board of education extended by another year, the contract for Superintendent Mike Stegman. The salary for next year is to be determined at a later date.

Approved as substitutes were Garrett Peterson, Matthew Michaels, Carol Seidel, Whitley Richman, and Shelly Milner.