Bus buy OK’d

STRATFORD – At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday evening, the Stratford school board hired two new teachers, approved the purchase of a new school bus, and reviewed the upcoming extended year summer program, among other business.

The board approved superintendent Sarah Binder’s recommendation to hire two teachers. Alexis Schneider of Ames will fill the opening for a vocal/instrumental music instructor creating with Erica Johnson’s resignation. It is a 60 percent position. Schneider, who is filling the opening created by a resignation, is working on her English Language Learner endorsement and her TAG endorsement.

To fill a new position, the board approved hiring Liz Smith to be a co-teacher. Smith has a primary with special education endorsement.

Binder told the board that instructor Linda Smith will mentor Schneider, while teacher “Katie Johnson will serve as mentor to Smith. “A good teacher can help another teacher, even in a different area,” Binder told the board about why she thinks mentors are important. “A mentor helps first-year teachers be successful in all areas that first year-even in things like scheduling.”

Looking at transportation needs, the board looked at bus bids and approved the purchase of a bus with wheelchair accessibility for the 2014-15 school year. The bus, from School Bus Sales of Waterloo, should be ordered now to be available for fall when a wheelchair lift will be needed to transport a student. The cost is $100,495.

The extended year summer program invitations were issued at parent-teacher conferences. The schedule this summer will be classes will be held for a full week June 9-13, then the next five Wednesdays and another full week starting Monday, July 28. Binder said that 38 students will be attending.

Binder reported on the informal meeting with Webster City and Northeast Hamilton school boards in Blairsburg, which she attended along with Stratford board members Julie Patterson and April Carlson. She said she appreciated receiving information at the meeting about ongoing plans for the Regional Academy that will be headquartered at the former armory in Eagle Grove, which has already been purchased. It will be renovated so classes can begin there in the fall for students in grades 11 and 12 in programs such as core classes for teacher education and ag programs.

At the joint board meeting there was also discussion about NEH sharing Webster City superintendent Mike Sherwood and hiring a full-time principal.

Binder had information about two grants for which she has applied. One is a $10,000 “Maker Space Program” grant, and she is also applying for a Target “Arts, Culture, and Design in Schools” grant.

In other business:

April 25 is the date set for Early Childhood open house and kindergarten roundup.

Teachers are working on wish lists for summer maintenance projects and future projects.

Two teams from sixth grade competed in a math bee in Spencer and did very well.