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MCHS council discusses attendance incentives, logistics of freshman center and renovation

Messenger Staff

The school based decision making council of Meade County High School held its last meeting of 2006 Dec. 11. Principal Bill Adams began with the good news report, sharing new of band and choral concerts, a successful start to the new wrestling program and state tournament participation for Special Olympics bowling. The football program made it to the final 8 in the state’s 4-A playoffs, and Coach Larry Mofield was named Area Coach of the Year by the News Enterprise.

Senior testing was conducted offsite, and Adams said he felt it went very well. Taking testing offsite, said Adams, conveys to the students the importance of it and has less effect on the regular school day.

Social studies teacher Mike Schwartz and assistant principal David Dailey took a group of students to the Kentucky Youth Assembly Dec. 1-3. They had the opportunity to participate in the judicial and legislative process, present bills and argue on their behalf. Brittany Neben was the Speaker of the House during the debate of bills and did an outstanding job. Teacher member Alison Taylor noted several students had shared their experiences with her and had been excited about the event.

Anthony Blanford, a student in the HVAC program at the Meade County Area Technology Center, won a full scholarship from Northwestern University.

An additional instruction allotment for section 6 funds was received. Adams recommended placing the $3,766.50 in the contingency fund, to which the council agreed.

Construction on the addition and renovation is moving along with block being laid and the footprint of the addition taking shape. The emergency exit for the music room held up progress for a time, but it is now in place.

Taylor advised some of the students have expressed concern about prom and Wave Revue next spring as the gym will be under construction. Teacher member Roxanne Sydnor indicated she had heard rumblings about the date for prom as it conflicted with a Madrigals trip. Adams said plans were being worked on for both these events but had no specifics to offer at the time.

“We will have challenges, but we will work through them,” he said of these and other issues bound to arise while dealing with running and school and working around a construction project of this magnitude. However, he added, “I cannot tell you how excited I am about this project and the ability it gives us to forward the arts which are crucial to the success of Meade County High School.” The addition and the Smaller Learning Communities Grant, said Adams, will go a long way toward addressing issues of space and money.

Adams traveled to Washington, D.C., last month for conferences regarding the Smaller Learning Communities Grant which MCHS recently received. While there, he received general information about administering the grant. Bob Schrader will serve as the SLC coordinator, spending at least 50 percent of each day working on grant-related issues. The council approved the hiring of Chad Butler as the assistant principal for the freshman center. He will begin his new duties in January with the start of the second semester He will backfill the position created by Schrader’s move to SLC coordinator, and this will create a vacancy in the social studies department.

Taylor stated some freshmen center teachers are concerned about how everything will work with new schedules and the team teaching approach. Adams stated Butler would begin working with them on professional development during the second semester and encouraged the teachers with questions or concerns to bring them to the administration.

The grant, said Adams, begins with freshmen, but it will address issues at all grade levels, including a program to address the achievement gap in math, emphasis on a more rigorous curriculum and preparation for college.

Department chair meetings continue on a regular basis. The last meeting focused on the Learning Centered School initiative which will start with the second semester. With more and more teachers coming from the workforce with knowledge of content area but no teaching training, said Adams, it is crucial to address the formation of clear learning objectives coupled with assessment to ensure learning is taking place in the classroom.

Coupled with the focus on learning objects is making sure grades are updated so parents and students are aware of where they stand. Grades are updated on the Web site. Schwartz recommended sending a letter home to parents outlining how the STI home component works and explaining the lag in reporting grades on this system.

A climate committee report lined out three possible options for improving attendance – final exam exemptions, buddy calls and a competition among first-block classes with a reward for the best attendance. Adams will meet with the department heads regarding these suggestions prior to the climate committee making a recommendation to the council.

The next council meeting will be Jan. 8, 2007.

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