Typical of USD 402 Board of Education meetings, Monday's monthly meeting led off with recognitions. The board recognized both Garfield and Robinson Elementary Schools for being named Title I Reward Schools. Also recognized were district teachers Johnna Smith and Leslie Lewellen for being grant recipients from DonorsChoose.org.
High School Spanish instructor Frank Espinoza spoke to the board concerning a proposed AHS Spanish Club sponsored trip to Costa Rica next summer. He explained that 12 students and two chaperones would make the trip and that the trip would be funded by parents/students and fundraisers. The district was not being asked for money and board members were assured that EF Educational Tours offers insurance to the students and the district would not be liable.
"The students will benefit from the trip and learn an appreciation for the language and culture. Being exposed to another culture allows them opportunity, global awareness, which will be valuable throughout their lives," he explained.
The board voted 6-0 to endorse the trip. (Board member Charles Garcia was absent.)
Assistant Superintendent Holly Francis presented the monthly curriculum report to the board. Scores from last year's ACT testing was discussed. She advised that after teachers had reviewed the data they mentioned to her that the high school students do not perform as well on the ACT tests as compared to the state assessments. Because the new Common Core State Standards are aligned with the ACT assessments, changes will need to be made to ensure that Augusta high school students are better equipped with the necessary skills to perform at high levels.
"As the district moves forward with the transition to the Common Core State Standards and continue working to improve curriculum and instruction,these conversations will continue," Francis stated.
From the table you can determine changes in:
The number and percentage of students.
Score changes in subject areas and the ACT composite.
How our graduates compare with state averages.
Through collaborative research with colleges nationwide, ACT has established the following as college readiness benchmark scores for designated courses:
English Composition: 18 on ACT English test
Algebra: 22 on ACT Math test
Social Science: 21 on ACT Reading test
Biology: 24 on ACT Science test
Before the conclusion of the meeting, Superintendent John Black presented an update on district construction projects.
He reminded the board that there are only two months left until keys to the new Garfield Elementary are turned over. Doors are being hung, kitchen equipment installed, mill work is being done, floors are being stained and polished, furniture is being placed, and carpeting is being laid in some areas.
Page 2 of 2 - In reference to the playground area, he explained that the various levels that are seen currently will not exist in the near future. At the far west edge/State St. side, the area between the west and north corners will be graded down about four feet and the playground equipment will be placed near the west corner.
"A fence will be installed and the location will allow observation from State St., which is safer in regards to graffiti and such...details need finalized and equipment needs to be ordered," Black said. He further explained that the playground will slope down toward the parking lot and allow for another larger area closer to the school building. He also advised that the preschool play ground will be on the south side of the building in the "V" area and that will be where the soft surface will be installed.
Work at the Middle School is wrapping up, with equipment, flooring and bleachers currently being installed in the new gym. The FEMA rooms are also near completion.
Two trees recently planted on the south side of Robinson are being removed, per the City's request. An ordinance requires that trees not be too close to sidewalks or streets.
"I received wrong information concerning the completion of the rest rooms at Hillier Stadium. They were not finished in time for the first home game, but will be finished in time for the next one," Black reported.
The rest rooms and concession at the baseball fields are expected to be completed in early September.
The next Board of Education meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8.