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Verndale School Board

 by Trinity Gruenberg

    The board received the final revised budget for the bus garage  construction. It was received at their regular November meeting. The total for the garage came in at $467, 280 which was $23,743 over budget due to the rise in cost for building supplies, concrete work, electrical and sheet metal. 

    The fuel tank totaled $62,952, which is $9311 over budget. They had to purchase a double-walled fuel tank due to its proximity to the building and electrical work.

     The parking lot came in at $51,173 which is $1215 over budget. The small increase in price was due to dirt work and an additional four feet added to the west side for wider parking space.

    The total cost for the garage and other related work was $581,346. The cost was approved.

    Budget revision

    Last spring, they set the budget for 533 students. They currently have 547 and have enrolled two more. There is also an increase in the long term facilities maintenance formula.

    “It’s supposed to be $292 per pupil, but they are still have the old formula of $193,” said Brownlow.

    They had originally budgeted $4,707,483 in state general education aid. That has increased to $4,825,421. Special education was increased from $600,000 to $625,000. They approved the amended budget.

    Administrative Reports

    Principal Arick Follingstad shared some of the plans they implemented from Marzano Research for the High Reliability Schools. The leadership team and staff helped to create a chart of behaviors and disciplinary actions.

    “We use this to communicate to students in terms of if they’re hitting a mark which would be unexpected behaviors that would require discipline intervention, in a consistent way. It is posted in every classroom,” explained Follingstad.

    The behaviors are categorized in five levels. Level one being above and beyond behavior, two would be expected classroom behavior, three would be behaviors addressed in the classroom, level four would be teacher assigned consequences with documentation and level five is an automatic referral to administration. 

    “We’ve been doing this for two months. I think it’s been a good system that could be improved, but the consistency has been good,” said Follingstad.

    The teachers and paras fill out a Google form that is sent directly to Follingstad for him to track and assist with when necessary.

    They are also developing a school wide instructional model. It is based on teacher actions and student mental states. It is broken down into three catagories: context, content and feedback.

    “None of these things are complicated, it’s for  a consistent approach,” he said.

    Follingstad and several teachers had a webinar with Phil Warrick on one of these topics, providing communication and clear learning goals, and how to achieve that.

    They also changed their Professional Learning Communities  (PLCs) this year to better fit the Marzano model. The PLCs are done among the teachers to work on their growth and learning goals. It is typically based on grade level and content area taught. Now, it is based on the 10 categories under the school wide instructional model and which one interests them.

    “Eventually, we are hoping to have a video library of examples of what this looks like so people that are interested in the other categories can watch the video and get a snippet of it,” said Follingstad.

    Walk the Plank raised over $7600 this year. Brownlow will work with NJPA and the Initiative Foundation to create and education foundation.

    “We probably have well over $30,000 in that Walk the Plank fund. We have purchased some things, but we would like a more uniformed, consistent approach on how people use it to cover expenses. Such as the Numbers and Nachos, parent involvement activities, transportation costs and all the elementary students will receive a Power of Yet shirt. We want to make sure that money goes back to the kids,” said Brownlow. 

    The football team held a Tackle Cancer fundraising event and raised $597 for the Randy Shaver Tackle Cancer that was set up by Alicia Jones and Brenda Weniger.

Other business:

    •  Approved maternity leave for Katie Tackman.

    • Approved the following donations: St. John Lutheran Church donated $100 for Adopt a Class, Verndale Lions donated $300 for Santa’s Workshop, $100 for Community Festival and $500 for Walk the Plank.

    • Approved Youngbauger’s Landscaping for snow removal for $75 per hour.

    • Approved teachers on special assignments, Heather Arroyo and Rachel Johnson letter of intent. The letter protects them that if their current position is cut, they will have an elementary position and keep their seniority.

    • Approved an extension on maternity leave for Kelli Marquardt. 

    • Approved Brian Hagen for junior high basketball coach.

    • Approved Mark Biberg to fill the assistant wrestling coach position. 

    • Approved Larry Heltemes for the education assistant position.

    • Approved a lane change for Vanessa Waldahl from BS to BS+20. 

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