Octorara Area School Board Regular Meeting – October 21, 2013

First, I am going to have to apologize. I did not take the best notes this week. I picked up whatever bug my children brought home. My head was in a little bit of a fog. So, there may be some unintended errors and omissions.

Honor Roll of School Board Service

OctoraraSchoolDistrictEmblemThe Pennsylvania School Boards Association recognizes the contributions, in a formal way, of local school directors with long-term service. School Directors are recognized when they reach exactly 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, and so on years of service on a local school board through the Honor Roll of School Board Service.

This year’s  inductees, from the Octorara Area School Board are:

  • Lisa Bowman – 8 years
  • Nelson Stoltzfus – 16 years
  • Samuel Ganow – 16 years
  • Robert Hume – 16 years 

Octorara Heroes

I counted twenty-four high school seniors named Octorara Heroes, members of a mentoring program, with one or two absent. The students serve as role models for 4th grade students, and pledge to remain good students and drug and alcohol free. The honor recognizes student attendance, academic achievement and discipline.
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Action Items

All agenda items list at the October 14th Work Session Meeting were passed by unanimous vote without comment  or debate.

Three additional items had been added, and voted on separately. Two were of note.

The first was to approve Mr. Thomas Stern as Event Security. Mr Ganow questioned the use of this individual verses Signal 88 Security, which the District has a contact with. Will this person be armed? Is this person an independent contractor or a District employee.

Dr Newcome explained for small events, the District uses their own people. Mr. Stern is already employed by the District as a substitute, and would not be considered an independent contractor.

The second item was the approval of an agreement between the OASD and the parents of student “A” to attend Concept School.

The Concept School is an independent school with an educational program for students in grades 5-12. They report to “excel in creating a challenging and supportive environment for students who have difficulty focusing in class, struggle with reading comprehension, find social interaction difficult, or for those who seek a small school environment.”

Approval was unanimous, without discussion or debate.

Policy Committee

Mr Ganow reported the committee has just started to look at Policies 801 Public Records, and 806 Required Reports Of Child Abuse By School Employee. First read should be available next month.

Finance Committee

Mr Ganow reported the audit is complete, and the core presentation will be November 18th for Board Members who would like to attend. The District is now required to have their tax collector bonded. As budget season approached, look for a future agenda item asking to opt-out of the use of exemptions.

I.U./C.A.T. Board Representative

Mr Stoltzfus reported teacher contract negotiations have begun.

In other news…

Dr Scott Rohrer, Principle Octorara Senior High School, reported to the Board about “Team O,” a partnership between the school and The Point, local church ministries, the United Way, and other organizations. The group meets twice a year.

This year “Team O’ is focusing on three topics: Attendance, Drug & Alcohol Use, and Bullying. The group split into three committees, and each will meet on a specific topic. The group will them discuss outcomes at their second annual meeting.

Dr Newcome wanted to remind everyone that there will be an Education Committee Meeting on Monday, October 28th at 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Jr./Sr. High School Multi-Purpose Room to accommodate as many people as would like to attend. They will be going deeper into Pennsylvania School Performance Profile scores, what they think the scores mean, and what others think the scores mean.

Lisa Bowman informed the Board the Office of Open Record dismissed my appeal of their Request for Reconsideration. Mr Norris wanted to know the cost of the District’s Request for Reconsideration. Dr Newcome stated the amount was approximately $5,500 to date.

Mr Norris provided a personal anecdote, recalling a conversation with a teacher form the Pequea Valley School District. This particular teacher believed Pequea Valley’s use of Learning Focus has had a big impact with keeping students interested day to day. Norris hopes the Octorara’s teaching staff will “give it a try.”

** REMINDER **

The Board and Administration stressed (several times) everyone is invited to attend the Education Committee Meeting on Monday, October 28th at 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Jr./Sr. High School Multi-Purpose Room to accommodate as many people as would like to attend. They will be going deeper into Pennsylvania School Performance Profile scores, what they think the scores mean, and what others think the scores mean.

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