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Jefferson School Board retreat touches on class success

POSTED: March 20, 2009 11:36 p.m.

Members of the Jefferson City Schools Board of Education spent the first day of their annual retreat reflecting on the past and planning for the future.

On Friday, the board and system staff spent the first day of the two-day session looking back on how well the system met goals it established last year.

“We redefined what we meant by graduating fully functional adults, we talked about pyramids of intervention and different ways of looking at our students,” said Sherrie Gibney-Sherman, school system associate superintendent.

“The idea here was to slow down the process of putting students in the special education program. In order to meet the needs of all learners, we appointed an oversight coordinator, administered intervention training at all schools and purchased software programs to monitor student performance and provide individualized remediation strategies.”

The strategies seemed to have help boost student achievement. For the 2007-2008 school year, the average student SAT and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests scores were higher than or equal to state averages.

At the retreat, the group also was given an update on future construction projects for the system’s high school and one elementary school.

“The elementary school project started out with 16 new rooms, but it has been upped to 18,” said Craig Buckley, president of James W. Buckley and Associates, the firm overseeing the projects.

“We’ll be getting rid of the existing kitchen and building a new cafeteria, kitchen and stage area.”

The project includes adding more classrooms, bathrooms and storage rooms.

One issue that arose during discussion of the project was whether individual bathrooms should be installed in the new spaces intended for the pre-K and kindergarten classrooms.

As proposed, every two classrooms would share two private bathrooms. An additional group bathroom would be farther down the hall near the new cafeteria.

“It comes down to an issue of safety versus sanitation,” said Diane Oliver, Jefferson Elementary School principal.

“It’s easier to keep the (group) bathrooms clean because everything is right there, but we don’t want to have the little ones wandering down the halls by themselves and possibly getting lost.”

High school renovations would include adding about 70,000 additional square feet of space. That could include a larger gym, renovated cafeteria, 20 new classrooms and two science labs.

Both the high school and elementary school projects would cost around $4 million each and would take 12 to 18 months to complete.

According to Kim Navas, school system financial officer, because the gym and cafeteria portions of the projects are not covered by federal funding, the costs of those pieces would have to be covered locally, most likely Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.



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