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Cozad School Board Approves Of Newly Hired Paraprofessionals To Meet Demands Of District

Melanie Nutt
Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, October 15th.
Board members approved four classified hires: Sierra Friedly, Elementary Special Education Paraprofessional, effective, 9/21/18; Storm Remmenga, Special Education Paraprofessional, effective 9/28/18; Maria Everett, High School English Language Learner Paraprofessional, effective 10/1/18 and Kristy Strohmyer, High School Secretary, effective 10/22/18.
Friedly and Remmenga, the two Elementary Special Education paras, will be paid with funding from the IDEA (Individuals Disabilities Education Act) Program.
The larger number of students in the ELL program made Everett’s position necessary this year.
Strohmyer was hired to fill the secretary’s position vacated by Jessica Lewis in September.
Under Reports, Technology Director David Evertson reported on the new book that will be used by the district, “Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement” by Victoria L. Bernhardt, PH D.
“This is the book that has been adopted statewide by the Nebraska Department of Education for school improvement,” Evertson said.
“We have an awesome staff and great programs in our school system, but we are all going different directions,” Evertson noted.  “We need to try to align our programs so as to provide the best instruction for our students,” he continued.
Evertson went on to explain that the biggest hindrance right now is the data profile. There has been a good amount of data collected on student achievement, but there needs to be demographic, program and perception data gathered as well as data from our stakeholders according to Evertson.
“We need to believe in what we’re doing together,” Evertson concluded.
Evertson plans to continue explaining the school improvement process promoted by Dr. Bernhardt at the board retreat on October 24th.
Superintendent Joel Applegate reported that some of his staff members would be attending a security summit and others on a new evaluation tool for the district.
Applegate also reported that he had met with personnel from Kucirek Engineering last week and that the HVAC in the high school is almost completed.
“We should have the capability to turn steam into hot water with the option of air conditioning in the auditorium and gym by the summer of 2019,” Applegate said.
Applegate reported that he was happy with Snell Services, Inc. and that there was now heat in the high school rooms.
Bruce Hird, High School Counselor, appeared to explain the proposed 2018-2019 Multicultural Education Plan.
Hird had facilitated a committee meeting on Google Drive last Friday. New members were appointed and an updated plan and survey will be shared with all staff members.
Recommendations include:
—Attitudinal surveys that need to be administered by building principals to help staff understand the goals of the plan.
—Administration of the survey and use as school improvement date if necessary.
—Look at data and ascertain if it is advisable to try to conduct some professional development.
—Remind staff of the resources available to them such as translation devices.
The board approved the 2018-2019 Multicultural Education Plan as explained.
In other business, board members approved a payment from the Building Fund to Snell Services, Inc. for partial completion of the Boiler Room Mechanical Revisions in the amount of $44,731.13.
Board members also approved the policy on inclement weather that had been in conflict with the classified handbook and now is in alignment with the handbook.
Also given approval was Classified Handbook for the 2018-2019 school year and the action to repeal some of the current policies in the Classified Handbook to bring it to compliance with the state.
The board adopted the Nebraska Department of Education’s Academic Content Standards.
Under Discussion Items, Dr. Applegate discussed the Strategic Plan Proposal from Marcia Herring, NASB.
Dr. Applegate explained that he will be setting up a retreat to explain the plan to board members and that it is a six to eight month process that involves getting all stockholders in place including teachers, parents, businesses and industries and making it available to every stakeholder.
“This five-year plan will make us accountable to the community and gives the school district transparency,” Applegate explained.
Amanda Rossell, HS Social Studies teacher and Cozad Education Association President appeared to ask the board members to set a date for the first negotiations meeting that is required to be done prior to November 1st. The meeting will take place in HS Principal Bill Beckenhauer’s office at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 26th.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 12th at Noon. The Hayrack Athletic Banquet necessitates this change in time that evening.