Boards hold informal meeting

STRATFORD – The regular meeting of the Stratford school board was preceded on Wednesday evening with an informal joint board meeting at the Stratford school with the Webster City and Northeast Hamilton school boards. Agenda items for the joint meeting were updates on the iPad rollout and professional growth and development, school calendars for 2013-14 and 2014-15, and also an update on sharing.

The joint boards looked at whether to count school days by the number of hours or days for the school year. This is the first time school districts have been able to count a school year by 1,080 hours or 180 days.

Also, the Webster City board members shared an update on their school’s crisis management plan, which Stratford Superintendent Sarah Binder indicated she was working through to see if there are some things Stratford should include in their plan.

Binder also shared information with the board the schedule for Iowa Assessments, formerly Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. The tests are required for every student. She is encouraging students to come to school well rested during test week.

The teacher report this month came from preschool teacher Linda White, who shared with the board a successful strategy in use to teach reading to preschoolers and in very early childhood.

In other agenda items, Binder updated board members on recent testing to monitor student progress.

“The teachers were very pleased to see the progress students have made,” she reported. “Some students have already made their end-of-year goal.”

She also told the board that she will apply for an early literacy grant of approximately $12,000. Plans are for the grant money, if awarded, to be used for training on how to administer two assessments as well as expand on the summer program and the homework assistance program.

In an update on the teacher leadership and compensation proposal, Binder reported that the Student Improvement Advisory Committee reviewed the proposal and provided feedback.

Looking at building projects, Binder commented that there are no big summer projects planned for the summer of 2014. One project may be to patch cracks and paint the hallway and cafeteria.

“It’s important to focus on maintenance of the building so it looks good and is in good repair,” she said.

In a related matter, the school is applying for a Hamilton County Foundation Grant to be used for a community garden, picnic tables, and pavers on the school grounds in wasted space near the kitchen.