Stratford official optimistic about school enrollment

STRATFORD – With the new school year off to a good start, according to Superintendent Sarah Binder, the Stratford school board had a routine agenda in front of them when it met for regular monthly session Wednesday evening.

Sharing with the board enrollment projections for 2013-2014, Binder said that numbers look good.

“It looks like enrollment could be up this year, so I am encouraged,” she stated. “We have welcomed some new families into the district.” Binder also said that annual maintenance to the school building was completed in time for the start of the new year.

Retiring board members

With school board election coming up next month, board members Vance Cook and Toni Larson announced they will not be running for re-election. The term of board chair Julie Patterson has expired, and she will run again. Candidates for the two open seats are Allison Weidemann and Chad Smith.

Binder commended Cook and Larson for their contributions as board members.

“You’ve done a fantastic job, and I’ve been glad to work with you,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to work with people who are committed to working hard for the benefit of the district.”

In an update on professional growth and development for school faculty, Binder reported that all classroom teachers attended concept-based curriculum and instruction this summer. Stratford will be partnering with the AEA to continue to work with Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction.

The expansion and renovation of the Early Learning Center is complete. Final inspection was Aug.14. The staff is enthusiastic about the improvements to the facility,

Looking at property matters, the board looked at a parking lot update and a report from an engineer who had made several conclusions in his report. Based on them, Binder recommended to the board that the whole parking lot be paved, with necessary roof rain gutter/downspout added along the east side of the bus barn for adequate drainage.

Other business

The board approved the recommendation.

Also on Wednesday, the board:

Approved the resignation of Bea Martin from the ELC staff.

Accepted sealed bids on used appliances from the ELC. Neil Swedlund bid $50 for the refrigerator and $25 each for the washer and dryer, which were approved.

Discussed improvements to the wooden benches outside the school main entrance.

Looked at possible agenda items for the October informal board meeting with Webster City. Meeting sites will rotate among Webster City, Northeast Hamilton, and Stratford.

Reviewed the school’s homework assistance program (HAPI), which will continue to be offered because the benefit to students is evident. HAPI demonstrates the importance because the majority of the students attend regularly and help to set the tone that homework is important and homework can be fun. The school booster club has agreed to pick up the cost of incentives for HAPI, which will begin on Sept. 3.