The Trenton R-9 Board of Education Tuesday evening, November 10th approved a policy involving searches of students and hard surface bus routes in case of inclement weather.
Superintendent Mike Stegman reported the policy involving searches of students was actually split in two, and part was adopted at the last board meeting. He explained he discussed some concerns with the Missouri School Boards Association. He noted police must have a reason to interview students.
Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels said the hard surface bus routes mainly apply to the rural area.
Stegman reviewed winter weather procedures. Announcements about cancellations, early outs, late starts, and/or the use of hard surface bus routes will be made via the Trenton R-9 Twitter account, the district website, the district Facebook page, the Bulldog text alert system, KTTN, and the Republican Times. If time permits, they will also be announced on Kansas City TV stations WDAF Fox 4 and KCTV 5.
A late start means schedules for students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be on a two-hour delay. School will begin at 10 o’clock, and bus routes will be delayed by two hours. There will be no breakfast served.
If school is released early, after school activities and programs will be canceled. The preschool schedule will vary. There will be no morning sessions of preschool on late start days, but afternoon sessions will meet. On early out days, there will be no afternoon sessions of preschool. District personnel will use information from local, state, and national weather organizations to determine if school should be dismissed or canceled. Road conditions, wind chills, and student safety will also be evaluated.
Stegman provided an update on COVID-19 stating Trenton R-9 has had an uptick in cases the last couple of weeks. Close to 200 individuals were in quarantine as of the evening of November 10th. Groups of students at all levels are quarantined as well as staff. He said some incidents outside of school involved students. Stegman said going completely online was not the answer to stop the spread because staff members cannot teach any better online than in person if they are ill. He believes the district is accomplishing more educationally by having the doors open for those who can attend in person. He believes the principals have done a great job dealing with the pandemic.
For winter sports, the district plans to control the size of its crowds. Each athlete will be given four tickets, and visiting athletes will receive two tickets each. There will be no admittance without a ticket. The maximum number of tickets will be 400, which is 50% capacity in the high school gym with the balcony open. The district also has to account for the band and cheerleaders. Stegman was not sure when the tickets would be given out. He realizes it will put a strain on some families, but not all athletes will use all of their tickets. Tickets might be passed around. Board Vice President Brandon Gibler and Member David Whitaker said they would like to see extra tickets made available.
Ockenfels commented the Grand River Conference website has attendance policies for schools.
Stegman has looked into enhancements for the district’s wireless network. Access points will be the next thing to be updated to help with online activities. The district can get funding through E-Rate to help with the upgrade of the wireless system. E-Rate is through the Universal Service Fund. Stegman said there is a timeline and process Trenton R-9 must follow to receive funding. The district’s time for updates is coming up in the late spring or summer. He said the district’s internet is working well for online learning. He thinks issues relate to wifi access.
Ockenfels noted about 50 wifi hotspots are out, and about 40 more are in supply. They can be checked out to students in quarantine. The hotspots are through Verizon and AT and T. He said internet service is also available in the parking lots of school buildings for students who can not get internet service where they live. The district can get more hotspots if they are needed. Stegman added that more than one student in a household can use the same hotspot.
Some iPads have been sent in for repair. He said the program the district is enrolled in will replace the iPads every four years. He noted there has been a mixed reaction to students liking the devices. Ockenfels mentioned some students do not turn in assignments online, even if the district provides them with hotspots and iPads. Whitaker said he thought students attending classes online should have to turn in assignments like those attending in person to get credit.
Stegman reported the district will need to hire a new summer school director to replace Trenton Middle School Assistant Principal Jackie Price. She will not be available for the position next summer. He hopes to advertise the position to staff soon.
Election filing dates were announced. Candidates can file from December 15th through January 19th. The election will be held on April 6th. The terms of Cliff Roeder and David Whitaker will expire at the April 13th meeting.
Director of Special Education Tara Hoffman presented the Gifted Program evaluation. There are currently 47 students participating, and 20 are being tested.
Dennis Gutshall provided a tour of the Performing Arts Center and Ag Hall. He reported the seats are to arrive in December for the PAC. Things are on schedule to be done by February.
Rissler Principal Tiffany Otto reported Halloween activities went well. Students were allowed to wear their costumes all day.
Calvin Brown expressed appreciation to the board for allowing his family to install a bench at Rissler in memory of Rhonda Brown. Rhonda Brown was a paraprofessional at Rissler Elementary School.
The Trenton R-9 Board of Education took action on personnel items in a closed session.
Superintendent Mike Stegman reports resignations were approved for Rissler Paraprofessional Alexandria Neighbors and Joel Hultman with high school softball.
Hirings included Wes Croy for high school boys track and Levi Marley as assistant varsity boys and girls wrestling coach.
Croy was also approved as a special education paraprofessional at Trenton Middle School.
The board approved Savannah Hert as a substitute.