New members join the Stratford school board

Chad Smith and Allison Weidemann , newly elected board members for the Stratford community school, were administered the oath of office at the start of the monthly school board meeting on Wednesday evening.

Board members then re-elected Julie Patterson president of the board. Board member April Schwering will be the new vice president. Board meetings will continue to be held on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30.

Several of the agenda items centered on technology in use at the school. Supt. Sarah Binder reported on the first Sandbox Night, a workshop for teachers to work on creating Google documents to engage students and extend it to real world applications. “I was very impressed with how hard the teachers worked to identify new concepts and turn around to use that in the classroom,” Binder remarked.

Four training nights are scheduled. Binder has met with a new technology integrationist from the AEA, who will work with Stratford.

“Other districts haven’t been able to keep pace with our hardware and with professional development for the staff,” she said. “I’m glad we are able to do what we do and realize it’s a commitment over time and resources.”

In her report to the board, teacher Gina Monroe echoed Binder. “I am just really pleased with all we do here with technology,” she noted. Monroe, a teacher in the grades 1 and 2 classroom, told the board that it has been a “very, very busy start to a new school year.” There are 26 students in her classroom, where she team teaches.

Although the day for certified enrollment count isn’t until October 1, Binder reviewed tentative figures for this school year and made comparisons with previous years. Binder said that number look good. “We are in the process of confirming open enrollment in and out and the actual count of our 7-12 students attending Webster City.”

Another agenda item on Wednesday was to look at rates for the after school program. Binder recommends setting a block rate for students in grades 3-6 who participate in the homework assistance program for about 35 minutes and then transition to the after school program. The current fee for participants in the HAPI program who transition to the after-school program is $4.30. Binder recommended setting the fee at $2.00, which the board approved. It will affect a limited number of students.

Informal meetings with school boards from Webster City and Northeast Hamilton will be held three times this school, alternating among the three locations. In October the meeting will be in Webster City, in January it is scheduled to be in Stratford, and in April NEH will host the informal meeting. .Members include business, community, parents, grandparents, one school board member, and students.

Binder told the board that the school was chosen for a behavior study by the AEA because they would like more schools to function like Stratford does. “We are a model school for the AEA district. This is where schools should be coming to see what’s working here,” she pointed out.

In property matters, the board approved a bid not to exceed $1,000 from Widick Roofing for gutter work. Four new benches have been ordered for the sidewalk area in front of the school in the Butterfly Peace Garden. Made of recycled plastic with wood grain and red metal, they will replace worn benches at a cost of $1,440.

The board also reviewed the list of invited members of the School Improvement Advisory Committee.