Posted 10/21/09 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
With an elementary school buzzing with students, the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 acted quickly during its Oct. 12 meeting to fill a first grade teaching position which had become open following the resignation of a teacher as well as to add additional teaching support.
“We received a letter of resignation from Debbie Erickson, a longtime district teacher, requesting that she be allowed to resign her teaching contact because of health issues,” stated Holen. “Because Debbie was asking for her resignation to be effective Oct. 15, the administration contacted several teachers in the area as well as advertised for the position vacancy as soon as we received Mrs. Erickson’s letter.”
Based upon the administration’s recommendation, the board approved hiring Kadie Sorenson for the balance of Erickson’s teaching contract at a prorated salary of $34,000.
In a separate action to help with the educational needs at the elementary school, the school board also approved the hiring of Julie Gronos as a part-time reading coach.
“As a reading coach, Mrs. Gronos will work with the kindergarten and first grade classes primarily,” stated Sherry Lervick, elementary school principal. “But she will also work with all of the elementary school teachers with their reading programs.”
“This will be a half-time position starting Nov. 1,” stated Holen, who informed the board that Gronos’ position would be a Title 1 funded position. “Adding personnel is not easy but we have the numbers at the elementary school. “We want to add personnel that impacts the students the most and where we get the most bang for our buck.”
According to Holen, the district will be applying for reallocated Title 1 funds to help defray the cost of the new position.
“This is a good time for our district to look at adding a reading coach,” stated Holen. “It would be a proactive move.”
In a final staffing shift at the elementary school, the board authorized the administration to reassign a teacher aide to the kindergarten class.
“With the number of students that we have in kindergarten, if we can have one aide working directly with each teacher, it would be a better utilization of our staff,” stated Holen.
While most of the board meeting’s attention has been on meeting the teaching needs at the elementary school, Holen also informed the board that future consideration may need to be given to hiring a tutor at the high school.
“While we are not yet ready to recommend hiring a tutor at the high school, it is an option we may need to explore,” stated Holen. “It’s an area where we need to look at how to improve our Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) score and to help students succeed in high school.”
In other business, the school board:
• Referred final negotiations of an easement agreement request by the City of Watford City at the elementary school to the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
• Approved the purchase of a new stove for the high school kitchen at an approximate cost of $5,500.
• Approved hiring Heggen Equipment to install ramp railings at the athletic field at an approximate cost of $7,500.
• Approved hiring Kathy Aberle to assist with special needs pre-school students at Wiggles and Giggles Daycare and assist at the elementary and high school. The position’s cost will be reimbursed by WilMac.
• Approved the second and final reading of an electronics devices policy governing the use of cell phones and other devices within school district property.
The next meeting of the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 school board will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.