The Mineral Point School Board conducted a rather unique meeting Monday night in the sense that, other than some straight forward business items, there were no action items on the agenda.
Rather the meeting was filled with items for information and discussion.
Video of the meeting can be viewed here (continue scrolling past the video for more article text):
– Superintendent Luke Francois presented a detailed report to the board regarding the district’s state assessment data for 2014-15. A detailed article has appeared prior indicating how Mineral Point students are exceeding state averages, in some cases significantly.
At the time of that article’s release, comparable numbers for CESA #3 were not available from DPI. Although they are still not available on the DPI’s website and won’t be until later this spring, CESA #3 put out a request to its 31 school districts to submit their data so results could be compiled.
Not all districts complied, with 19 of the 31 districts responding.
Of those 19 districts, Mineral Point (70.23%) trails only Benton (74.18%) for the percentage of students who are proficient or advanced in English/Language Arts on the Badger Exam for grades 3-8.
In math on the Badger, it is Mineral Point leading the pack with 65.15% of students scoring proficient or advanced. Benton is second with 60.90%.
On the ACT exam, only 14 districts have submitted their results to CESA #3 but Mineral Point is first for English/Language Arts proficiency with 66% and second to Dodgeville (52%) for math proficiency with 47.2%
A few weeks ago, the Wisconsin State Journal, through an open records request, received Dane County school data and Francois shared these comparisons with the board as well to showcase how favorable the district stacks up against districts with much larger enrollments and more resources available.
On the Badger for English/Language Arts, Mineral Point’s 65.15% proficient or advanced ranks them 4th in all of Dane County behind Middleton, Waunakee, and McFarland.
For English/Language Arts, Mineral Point trails only Middleton in comparison with Dane County schools.
Francois also shared a slide that wasn’t as flattering, but recognizes this is a place of opportunity for the district to improve. Looking at the ACT combined score, Mineral Point ranked 13th compared to Dane County schools with a 19.7 average ACT score, compared to the leader, Waunakee, with a 23.9.
Francois reminded those in attendance of an area in the district’s strategic plan that stated Mineral Point would lead CESA #3 in state assessments, mentioning upon his arrival in 2011, the district was near the bottom of CESA #3 rankings.
Board member Lisa Hay stated the results show a big improvement and Board President Larry Steffes said, as a parent, he is overjoyed with the results and know the work hasn’t been easy.
Francois stated the results are very promising and gave credit to all staff who challenge students every day to reach their full potential.
– An item that again generated much discussion centered around school safety. At a special board meeting January 25, members present began to compile a list of ideas on how safety could be improved. The list was before the board Monday night with the ability to modify, if desired.
Items on the preliminary list include:
- Implement a second layer of doors to secure entry at both buildings and force visitors through an office area to sign in. Francois reported the middle/high building architect Potter & Lawson has been contacted and will be visiting both buildings this week for a review of the facilities.
- Increase police liaison presence to full time.
- Move police liaison from main hallway to front office.
- Implement the Sandy Hook Promise strategies.
- Remove deliveries to the school buildings during school hours.
- Allow students to carry access cards to be used as keys to enter the building.
- Utilize drug-sniffing dogs more frequently.
- Conduct regular lockdown/active shooter drills.
- Ensure all interior doors are lockable from inside the classroom.
- Review procedures for locked doors after school hours.
- Gather student input on school safety.
- Secure safe entry to and from the agriculture building.
- Student awareness that opening doors for others is prohibited.
Board member Glenn Kinch stated he thinks the most likely threat should be identified and then find the easiest way to prevent it, stating an examination of the odds of an Isis attack, disgruntled student, enraged parent, etc. should be looked at.
Hay added she would like to see a police presence at the elementary during arrival and dismissal times to be visible.
Board member Larry Dolphin questioned how many schools have a police liaison around here, believing the numbers to be low. Francois stated he would ask area superintendents and return with an answer.
Board member Jeff Basting stated he would like to know the students’ feelings on the police liaison and if it is beneficial.
Dolphin and Kinch re-voiced their concerns with the board policy surrounding guns in vehicles on school property, wishing to see more flexibility for hunters and their ability to leave their guns in vehicles while on school grounds. Francois suggested waiting until more action is taken at the state level, which could be soon, that would give the board direction on what could, if anything, be updated as far as board policy goes surrounding this issue.
For any interested community members who have security suggestions they would like to see the administrative team and board look at, please contact Francois at firstname.lastname@example.org or 987-0740.
– On its limited action item list, the board did unanimously approve leave of absence maternity requests for Amy Flannery, middle school language arts teacher, and Lesley Macaulay, middle/high school art teacher.
– In other action, the bills payable were approved with Dolphin, Hay, Julie Stephenson, and Steffes voting yes with Kinch and Basting abstaining. Matt Lindsey was absent.
– Basting brought a concern before the board that said he has heard complaints the music being played at basketball games is too loud. Dolphin and Kinch stated they’ve heard the same concerns.
Athletic Director Vickie Dahl stated the people playing the pre-recorded music have been asked to turn it down but she will make sure that it happens.
– Iowa County Judge candidates Tim Angel and Peg Koehler spoke to the board informing the audience of the reasons they feel they are qualified to serve in this capacity.
– The board also had discussion around its policy regarding building usage fees. Some members said they would like to perhaps update the policy, specifically around for-profit groups using the buildings and if they should pay for use of the facilities.
The current policy does not distinguish between non-profit and for-profit groups, just local and non-local.
Steffes wondered if charging for building use would then give the district flexibility to eliminate annual student fees.
Basting questioned how surrounding districts handle this matter and asked Francois to contact local superintendents for feedback.
– Francois invited and encouraged board members to join school staff during their Wednesday afternoon PLC process for a visit and sit in on intervention teams to see the power of collaboration.
– According to Wisconsin Statute 118.57, the district is required to notify parents about the educational options available to children who reside in the resident school district in addition to notification about the school district’s accountability report. This information was e-mailed to families in January and has been posted on the district’s website.
– Four board members completed the Wisconsin Association of School Board’s Development survey tool. Francois will share the results with board members in an upcoming correspondence.
– Francois and Communications Director Joelle Doye presented a slideshow as a summary of their attendance at the State Education Convention in Milwaukee in January.
-Francois’ Superintendent’s Report included a legislative update and mentioned a large sign has been placed in the gym listing the donors to the stadium project. He also congratulated student-athlete Cassie Bossert and thanked Doye for the article submitted to the WIAA as a feature last Friday. The inspirational story on Bossert has reached 21,000 people via the district’s Facebook page.
– The board adjourned to executive session to discuss performance, evaluation, and related compensation of the Elementary Principal and Director of Pupil Services. No action was taken upon return to open session.
– Due to the length of the meeting, the board postponed its book discussion.
– The next regular monthly meeting is set for Monday, March 14 at 6:30 pm.