Incumbent Dan Stover and newcomer Brian Thompson were sworn in during an early 5:45 p.m. open session of the Jackson R-2 Board of Education April 12. After a 15-minute open session to reorganize the Board, the Board went into private executive session at 6 p.m. and then returned to open session at the traditional 7 p.m.
The Board accepted the results of the April 5 School Board election. Thompson was the top vote getter, garnering 2,000 votes (including one vote cast in Bollinger County). Stover collected 1,520 votes to keep his seat for a fourth term. Brad Noel came in a distant third with 802 votes. There were 36 write-in votes cast.
As the Board reorganized itself, Terri Tomlin was elected unanimously to continue as Board president. On a 5-4 vote, Bruce Thomas was elected to be vice president over Dan Stover, who served as vice president last year.
Bonnie Stahlman and Dr. Wade Bartels were reappointed to their positions of secretary and treasurer respectively.
Thomas and Tomlin were unanimously elected as Missouri School Boards Association delegate and alternate respectively.
In other action:
• Girls 8: The Girls 8 singing group was recognized by the Board of Education. The group of eight JHS seniors has performed together since the girls were freshmen. They consist of Ashley Crass, Megan DuPerier, Sara Ghol-son, Megan Hawk, Mabrey McCallister, Emily G. Smith, Sunny Smith and Kacie Walley.
The group has rated a top score of ‘1’ in every competition. “They have certainly left a mark on our choral department,” said choir instructor Beth St. John.
Seven of the eight sang a song for the Board. (McCallister was unable to attend because she was competing in a track meet.)
• Science fair: The Board recognized five JHS students who gave two presentations at the junior high science fair at the Show Me Center.
One project by Bailey Lape, Tyler Brott, and Gabriel Shoemaker was entered in the senior biology division. It checked pH levels of soil at various distances from water sources and temperatures.
The other project by Matthew Snyder and Blake Goehman placed first in the senior physics division. It checked the shielding effectiveness of different substances against microwaves.
“No time in class was allowed,” explained science instructor Dan Brown. “These young people took of their own time. They represented Jackson well.”
• Genius Hour: A presentation on West Lane’s Genius Hour was given by teachers Allison Walters and Emily Young.
During Genius Hour, fifth-grade students work on whatever project they want, but it must 1) be a driving question; 2) involve research; and 3) be shared. The students are passionate about working on their projects because they take ownership of them, Walters said.
• Parents As Teachers: A presentation was given on the Parents As Teachers (PAT) program by Heidi Crowden, Cathlin Hayes and Keely Martin.
PAT in Jackson is in its 30th year, serving children from birth to age 5. The program includes in-home visits, screenings and group connections.
PAT is funded 51 percent by the State and 49 percent by the District.
There were 272 families and 383 children served by PAT in 2014-15, up from 221 families and 346 children in 2013-14.
An evaluation form for PAT received unanimous approval from the Board.
• Safety: Jackson Police Officer Alex Broch, one of two school resource officers, gave a presentation on school safety. Broch and Officer Chad Greenway each have their share of buildings to visit. “We try to get to all the schools once a week,” Broch said. Besides patrolling hallways and making sure doors are locked, the two SROs have been in classrooms teaching about such things as drug and alcohol abuse and search-and-seizure laws.
“All buildings except the high school are locked,” Broch said. Visitors have to be “buzzed in” at locked buildings. The high school can’t be locked because students must pass between buildings on the campus.
As visitors enter schools, they can be seen on high-definition cameras. These cameras may be monitored in the school office and at the police station. Phase 1 involves installing these high-definition cameras in all schools.
Phase 2 will install additional cameras in hallways, making it easier to spot and follow an intruder.
Phase 3 will add security cameras to the parking lots.
Convex mirrors are being installed in school buildings to help police officers see around corners and in stairwells in the event there should be an armed intruder.
Strategos will offer armed-intruder training again Aug. 1.
Dr. Wade Bartels said the District’s safety program is “comprehensive” because it takes into consideration all hazards, including fire, tornado, intruder and mental health. It is “proactive” because it is a constant conversation and “systemic” because there is an agenda.
He praised the two SROs for their enthusiasm. “They’re doing everything they need to be doing,” Bartels said.
The Board unanimously approved the evaluation form for the safety program.
• MSBA agreement: The Board unanimously approved an agreement with MSBA for MSBA to review and recommend changes to Jackson R-2 School District policies.
• Golf tournament: Merideth Pobst, R-2 Foundation director, reminded the Board that the Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament will be June 17. It is the largest fundraiser for the Foundation.
• Strategic Plan: Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Emmendorfer said five groups are meeting weekly or biweekly on the Strategic Plan.
• Upcoming events: Emmendorfer told the Board that last week was Volunteer Appreciation Week and the schools were planning various activities.
Youth in Government Day was set for Friday. During a mock School Board meeting, students would address issues connected with the Strategic Plan.
Saturday School is scheduled for May 7. It’s an opportunity for this fall’s kindergartners to visit their school and learn about kindergarten and riding buses.
JHS graduation, which has traditionally been held on a Thursday, will be Friday, May 20, this year, she reminded the Board.
• Football stadium: Associate Superintendent Jeff Bollinger updated the Board on progress at the JHS football field. A 50-year roof will be installed on the new rest rooms, painting is to be done, new fences and new railings will be installed with new double doors and ticket booth will be placed at the far end of the stadium, he said. Everything is waiting on the weather to stay above freezing and dry. There is “a big bunch of little stuff” to be done between now and August.
• Board etiquette: Superintendent John Link gave Board members a sample tri-fold brochure that will be made available to the public explaining what the Board does and doesn’t do, and how to address the Board during the public comments session. Link wants to make it easier for the public to address the Board during its meetings. Board members were to review the document and suggest any changes before approving it at a future meeting.
• Next meeting: The Jackson R-2 Board of Education meets regularly for open session at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 614 E. Adams, Jackson. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10th.