School district adding Jump Start section
Staples-Motley Elementary School will have a second section of Kindergarten Jump Start and the high school will have a career advisor, thanks to action taken by the Staples-Motley school board at their July 18 meeting.
The Jump Start class is limited to 12 students and as of July 18 the elementary school had 10 students on a waiting list. Elementary principal Kathy Johnson was hopeful that two more students would enroll before the beginning of the year.
The program is tailored for those five-year-old students who may need an extra year before starting kindergarten. This will be the third year of the program and so far the indications are that students are more successful when they do go into kindergarten.
“Looking at the big picture, long term, I think we’ll see savings,” said board member Bryan Winkels, adding students won’t need as many interventions or special services.“This is one (expense) I feel we really need to consider. Bottom line, it’s good for kids. I’m convinced it’s the right thing to do.”
Three days per week of a career advisor position at the high school is available thanks to funding awarded to the district by National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA). Staples-Motley High School will have 2.5 days and Connections High School will have half a day.
Superintendent Mary Klamm is asking CEP (Concentrated Employment Program) to add two days to the position to make it a full time guidance counselor position.
“We may get a licensed guidance counselor, we may not,” she said.
She noted that the last legislative session approved funding for school guidance counselors through a grant process. However, the guidelines were to be released too late to apply for the coming school year. The district will apply for funding the following year.
For the coming school year she was proposing changes in the high school office that could help fund the additional two days for a guidance counselor.
“Can we get by without two days of a counselor?” asked board member Dave Hoemberg.
“We have been getting by,” Klamm replied, but it was because the high school social worker was also having to act as the counselor.
The elementary school and the middle school both have full time social workers, she said, adding “It’s a big hole in our high school.”
A high school receptionist position was being changed to include clerical duties for the activities director and the community education director. Some savings were being realized because of a retirement.
Business manager Marci Lord reviewed the financing with the board noting that the bottom line addition to the budget would be $2,400.
In other business the board:
o Approved the school meal prices and fee schedule. All pre-K through grade 12 lunch prices will be $2.55. Breakfast remains free. Adult lunches increase to $3.60.
o Approved offering the former southside tennis court property for sale to the City of Staples. If the city declines, the finance committee will set a price and put it out for bids.
o Approved hiring Laurie Trout and Cathy Evans as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) teachers and Carrin DeLong as the school nurse.
o Accepted the resignations of Kassie Martin, school readiness teacher; Joan Holmberg, bus driver; and Kelly Johnson, elementary receptionist.
o Introduced Jill Schneider as the new president of the Staples Motley Educaton Association.