SIKESTON - As the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education continues to contemplate a bond issue for the district, several faculty members gave the board some things to consider during Tuesday's regular meeting.
In compliance with a requirement of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, representatives of the district's library media, health services, at-risk services and transportation department, were all on hand to deliver information about their programs to the board.
"One of the concerns brought to the library media department 2004 MSIP review - and it was no surprise to us - was adequate space," Senior High School librarian Libby Caskey told the board. "We are always aware that we are limited in space."
Currently Sikeston R-6 does not meet the minimum space requirement by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education -1,800 square feet in the library, reading reference and storage areas, Caskey said.
"I would encourage the board's consideration for construction, renovation and plans for the district," Caskey said. "We strongly urge and support - professionally and I'll speak for myself personally - to move forward with the bond issue. And hopefully that will go forward."
Following Caskey's praise of the board of education's support of the library media over the years, board President Greg Colwick gave Caskey some reassurance.
"We're on track for our bond issue," Colwick told Caskey. "And I want you to know that one of the first things we went into in all the high school buildings was the library - and we got some great ideas on high school libraries."
Caskey also noted the district's library media program now has full coverage at the elementary level, which was a 2003 MSIP concern. There are five part-time and three-full-time library aides.
Upgrades were also made to Spectrum, which is the district's library automation program, and the senior high school will pilot a Web-based research tool for the district as early as the second quarter, Caskey said.
"It will allow students, faculty, anyone who would like to, including parents, to go online," Caskey said. "And they can look at not only our library collection, but they can search any databases we subscribe to."
During the At-Risk Services report Lynn Crader, principal at New Horizons High School, said 31 students received diplomas at the school's first graduation last school year. This year there's a potential for about 40 students to graduate, he said.
At-risk services include the New Horizons High School, Bulldog Academic Resource Center and Alternative Center and serves students grades three through 12.
"Basically our goals are similar (in the three areas) because we are trying to provide services for those students who are at-risk. Basically those are students who are in jeopardy of dropping out of school or maybe some have dropped out and come back," Crader explained. "We provide a new beginning for students."
One of program's goals is to raise reading and math scores by a grade level, Crader said. Last year the program did that by averaging a 1.9 grade level increase in reading for grades 3-8. In math the average increase was 1.05 grade level.
District nurse coordinator Nikki Vaught reported the nurse's offices have been really busy.
"We saw 13,497 more students this past year than we did the year before, which is a great increase, but we did give 1,529 less Tylenol than we did the previous year so I was very proud of that," Vaught laughed.
Among issues Vaught addressed were every school was compliant with state immunizations and a diabetic support group for students will start up again this year. She also said health services is starting a newsletter for the staff with one nurse writing an article each month.
Randy Thompson, transportation director, noted last year 4,924 eligible students were transported each day and eligible route miles were 219,904. Thompson noted one of the 2004-2005 goals is to create a master grid for all elementary bus stops for Sikeston, Miner, Mini Farms and Heckemeyer Acre areas.
Another goal is to install seat belts on all buses that transport 4-year-old students.
"This has been a point of interest by the state and federal government for the past couple of years," Thompson said. "This is the first year the state has decided it is going to be a real point of interest. In the past they've always suggested 4-years-old be belted in, but this year they made it very clear they will not look for it, but if something should happen, they're going to make sure all 4-year-olds have seat belted passages."
Also during the meeting, the board awarded the annual diesel fuel bid to Keller Truck Service of Sikeston and the gasoline fuel bid to MFA Oil Co. in Sikeston for .045 cents per gallon and approved an amendment to the Reading Improvement Plan, which including updating its pre- and post-testing plan instrument.