The Clay Community School Board was inundated with important reports during its first meeting of 2008 Thursday night at North Clay Middle School.
In the midst of the presentations, an important personnel decision was reached.
The board approved the job description for an assistant superintendent 5-2, and gave Superintendent Dan Schroeder the go-ahead to post the position and start the interview process.
Schroeder said he hopes to screen candidates in February, complete interviews in March, announce the new assistant superintendent in April and officially start them at central office on July 1.
Job duties include taking over the safe schools coordinator position, working on curriculum, staff development, and being the coordinator for the Title 1 grant.
Because of funding from Title 1, and the possible retirement and part-time re-hire of a current central office employee, the corporation will be saving money in comparison to two years ago, when both positions were full time.
Ted Jackson and Len Fischer voted against approving the position.
Russ True, president of the Clay Community Classroom Teachers' Association addressed the board during patron comments, and advised the board to see if the money being used to hire an assistant superintendent would be more worthwhile if used on hiring more classroom teachers.
Another patron, Dr. Forest Buell, asked the board what they had addressed since a member of the department of education gave a presentation last year on 19 goals for the corporation.
Schroeder replied that a member of the Indiana State School Board Association had narrowed the list down to four goals, which guided the creation of the Goals, Strategies and Activities long-term plan last spring.
Kathy Knust, curriculum director for the corporation, give a presentation on what the corporation had achieved in terms of the plan.
She also presented the board with a 25-page detailed report of the corporation's progress.
The major focus of the goals was for all schools in the corporation to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and all state accountability plans.
Some of the ways the corporation moved toward that goal was implementing summer remediation, NovaNet and Success Maker computer programs in the secondary schools and programs like Jump Start.
Knust also made presentations on ISTEP+ scores and the progress of the remediation program as a way to judge how these measures have worked, especially for at-risk students.
Knust broke down the ISTEP+ scores by gender, free-lunch recipients, special needs and in comparison to other area corporations.
Although there is major concern about declining test scores when students are promoted from eighth- to ninth-grade, an overall improvement on scores was seen by the corporation.
Also, in a comparison of 13 local school corporations, Clay Community Schools ranked sixth in percent of students passing the English/Language Arts test, and seventh in percent of students passing the math test.
Julie Romas gave a presentation on the work Kids, Families and Community (KFC) is doing for at-risk students and their families.
KFC, which is partnered with five elementary schools, helps students who are struggling in school by reaching out to their families and the community to help the student in all areas of life.
Romas said last year, KFC assisted 92 families on 172 home visits by partnering with 32 local agencies and nine professionals, such as dentists and doctors.
She hopes the program will continue to expand, and feels it is on "the cutting edge of education."
Jeff Allen, principal of North Clay Middle School, gave a presentation of what his school had accomplished so far in the school year.
He reiterated Knust's praise of the Success Maker computer program in assisting students who were falling behind in class.
Also, Allen shared Thursday morning, the school completed a lockdown procedure and fire drill.
Lynn Stoelting added in her School Safety report that she was at North Clay at the time, and the two drills occurred simultaneously.
She said the confusion of two drills at once was great practice for the type of chaos that can occur during a real emergency, and congratulated the staff and students of North Clay for reacting appropriately.
Stoelting told the board about Ray Azar's visit, where principals were able to ask the Vigo County School Safety Specialist for advice and improving procedures.
In other business, the board approved a $1,000 donation to the Brazil City Police Department K-9 unit, in addition to the money already approved for the Clay County Sheriff Department's K-9 unit.
K-9 officer Forrest and handler Josh Clarke thanked the board for the contributions in person.
The board also approved a new standard-based report card for all kindergarten classes, which were created by kindergarten teachers and Knust. Schroeder added the report cards would be continually worked on through the current semester.
Financial housekeeping and field trip approval were also addressed.
A special work session for the renovation project will be held Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m., at North Clay Middle School.
The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, February 14, at 7:30 p.m.