Mitchell’s Gertie Belle Rogers named an exemplary schoolDesignation means school is among top 5 percent in state.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves announced at Monday’s board meeting that Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School has been named an “exemplary school” by the state Department of Education.
The recognition places GBR in the top 5 percent of the state’s schools.
“It’s amazing,” said GBR Principal Vicki Harmdierks, “but we have a great staff at Gertie Belle, with teachers who are second to none. They come in before and after school, we have a great support staff and we collaborate with parents. It’s a great school.”
GBR, said Graves, received high ratings in student achievement and attendance.
Monday’s board meeting was held at the school.
District report card released
Graves gave the board a taste of the district’s 2011-2012 report card, which highlighted, among other things, a rebound in attendance district-wide.
“Our enrollment recovery continues,” he said, noting that last year’s enrollment was 2,540 students, which was up from 2,482 students the previous year.
Graves said this year’s numbers are not yet certified by the state, “but we believe we’ll be about 2,590 or somewhat better than that, so we’re in pretty good shape.”
Other points noted in the report card:
• Since the 2008 recession, the share of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches has increased by 7 to 8 percent. Last year, 49 percent of elementary students were eligible, 41 percent of middle schoolers and 28 percent of high school students.
• New lunch program requirements are “creating problems for us” said Graves, but the district is doing well at compliance with the new nutritional standards and is working to keep participation up.
• “We’re seeing more ethnic diversity in Mitchell, but it is a very gradual change,” Graves said of the ethnic makeup. In 2007-08 the district’s students were 90.3 percent white and non-Hispanic, and in 2011-12 the district was 87.9 percent.
• Open enrollment is up. Mitchell had a net gain of 15 students last year and is up 32 students this year. It was the district’s “highest-ever” number of surplus students, Graves said.
The board approved a consent agenda with the following personnel items:
Resignations: Brittani Dyce, Child Development Center instructor, effective Sept. 20; Dennis Smith, food service, Longfellow Elementary, effective Sept 11.
New Hires: Kelly Carpenter, CDC daycare, $9,316, effective Oct. 2; Tina Zard, CDC daycare, $8.50 an hour, effective Dec. 2; Linda Glanzer, paraeducator, Longfellow, 7.5 hours daily at $10 an hour, effective Sept. 10; Randall Norgaard, building and grounds maintenance, eight hours daily at $12 an hour, effective Oct. 1; fall semester adjunct instructor, Mitchell Technical Institute, DeAnna Hatch, $2,160; Chris Earl, computer technician, $27,000, effective September 2012; Rhonda Barlean, cook, Mitchell Middle School, 7 hours daily at $9.99 an hour, effective Oct. 11.
Change in hours: Angie Goldammer, paraeducator, Gertie Belle Rogers, from four hours to 5.5 hours daily, effective Sept. 17.
Additional two days a week: DeAnna Hatch, MTI, $7,310, covered by a grant.
Change in duties: Kim Van Overschelde, nine months food service, three months custodial.
Lane changes: salary lane changes reflecting upgrades in educational attainment for numerous employees.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized Mitchell art students who won blue ribbons at the South Dakota State Fair art competition.
• Approved MTI supplemental budgets.
• Approved MTI bids for equipment for the new welding and manufacturing program totaling $286,505. The money used will be from a Governor’s Office of Economic Development grant.
• Approved kitchen renovation bids for the MCTEA Culinary Arts program.
The low bidder was Muth Electric with a bid of $341,247 and the losing bid was from Tessier’s for $363,475.
• Implemented the board’s “lastbest” offer and concluded negotiations with the Mitchell Classified Education Association. The offer gives the maintenance and custodial employees an extra $1 per hour; food maintenance employees 50 cents more per hour; and paraeducators 30 cents more per hour. The percentage of health and dental benefits paid by the district will remain unchanged.
• Appointed Neil Putnam as board representative to the Associated School Boards of South Dakota delegate assembly.