Mount Ida School District holds annual meeting


    web annual meetingThe Mount Ida School District held their annual meeting to the public Tuesday, November 10.
    During the meeting they stated that the mission of Mount Ida Public Schools is to engage students in advancing their own learning through a process of instructional strategies that establish pride, respect, involvement, and dedication to an education that prepares for their success in the future. The district uses “Something to Roar About”-Lion PRIDE as its vision slogan.
    The district goals include:
    (1) Provide a safe learning environment for staff and students.
    (2) Curriculum and data will drive instruction.
    (3) Strengthen relations between home and school.
    Guests and board members were welcomed to the meeting.  The 2015-16 board members were introduced, beginning with the board president, Phillip Carr. Jim Jones is the vice-president and Crystal Carlton is the board secretary. Other members are Shane Forga and Jeremy McCullough. All board members will receive 6 hours of board training for 2015.  The board trainings have been scheduled for October 27 and December 2, 2015 to complete the 6 hour requirement.
    A detailed description of the district was given.  Mount Ida School District encompasses 332 square miles with 66% being National Forest land.  The valuation assessment for 2014 was $72,076,264 and the millage rate is 34 mills.  Our Average Daily Membership (ADM) was reported as 486 students with 94% attendance, and the district spent $8,763 per pupil for educational purposes in 2014-15. The legal balance for the end of 2014-15 was $1,122,023.13. This amount represents the district, state, and local obligation to carry over a percentage of the district’s budget for emergencies and to cover shortfalls in case of serious economic times and/or a decrease in student population. As of October 1, 2015, the district enrollment was 474 students, and the poverty rate for the district, based on the number of students who qualify for free/reduced meals, translates to 70% of the student population. A percentage over 70% means the district will receive more money in state funding for the next school year to spend on programs and materials for students.
    Licensed Staff — Ninety-one percent of the licensed staff employed at Mount Ida Public Schools is certified in their subject areas. The appropriate waiver has been granted for the four staff members not fully certified and letters have been sent to parents to notify them that the teacher is working toward certification.  Forty-nine (49) percent of the faculty holds a Master’s Degree and fifty-five (55) percent have a Bachelor’s Degree. The beginning teacher salary for a BSE is $30,250 and a MSE is $34,640 with an average teaching salary at Mount Ida of $42,977.
    Three facilities house grades K – 4, 5 – 8, and 9 – 12. During the summer, general maintenance on all facilities in the district include stripping, cleaning, and waxing all floors, general grounds care, and inspections of all roofs, HVAC, fire suppression, electrical, and plumbing.  Maintenance projects are reported to the state facilities department through a web based system called School Dude.  The transportation department conducted routine maintenance by cleaning, washing, waxing, and repairing all district owned equipment and vehicles.
    Improvements include:
    (1) Baseball field: drainage and dirt work
    (2) Softball field: dirt work, dugout repair, new bleachers
    (3) 2016  77- Passenger Thomas Bus
    (4) Security cameras now installed district-wide.
    Elementary — Bobby Barrett Elementary (formerly Mount Ida Elementary) was fully accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education Department (ADE) for 2014-15. Seventeen (17) licensed staff members are highly qualified to teach in their assigned positions. Thirty-nine (39) percent have a master’s degree.
    Seventy-two percent of elementary students were eligible for free and/or reduced meals.  The attendance rate is 92% which was calculated by the total number of students present for 178 days of school.  The present enrollment for K – 6 totaled 249 students. No expulsions, weapon incidents, or assaults were reported.  Each year teachers are required to attend professional development to assist them in instructional content and strategies.  Literacy teachers have attended Dibels, Electronic Dibels, and Daily 5 training.  K-6 teachers received training in Google Classroom and Chromebook usage.  Each year all staff members are provided with the appropriate student discipline training and parents receive the school’s discipline policy in the Student Handbook.
    The K-4 has implemented a new phonics program, Saxon Phonics.  K-4 has transitioned from Dibels to Electronic Dibels assessments.  Ms. Laurie Whisenhunt is leading the implementation of K-4 Dibels Math assessments.  The K-4 RTI program is being redesigned in order to identify students with learning needs.  The Iowa Assessments (IA) is administered to students in grades K – 2. The IA is a norm-referenced test covering reading comprehension and mathematics problem solving. The entire test is multiple-choice. The ACT Aspire end-of-year summative assessment will be used to assess all students beginning grade 3. Each student will participate in English, reading, writing, math and science tests.
    2015 % of Students at/above 50th National Percentile Rank (NPR) on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills
    Reading     62%
    Math         64%
    Reading            38%         Math         72%
    Reading            59%
    Math              60%
    Reading      57%
    Math         57%
    Reading            72%
    Math              72%
    High School — Mount Ida High School was cited for one teacher not being fully certified by the Arkansas Department of Education for 2014-15. Average daily attendance for MIHS is 96%. Twenty-four (24) teachers are employed at the high school and all that are required to be are highly qualified. Fifty-eight (58) percent of the high school teachers hold a Master’s Degree. Our present enrollment is 225 students in grades 7-12 and 68% are eligible for free and reduced meals.  The graduation rate for Mount Ida students is 100%.
    The ACT Aspire end-of-year summative assessment will be used to assess all students in grades 7-10 unless they qualify for an alternate assessment.  Each student will participate in English, reading, writing, math and science tests.   Students in grades 9 and 10 will receive a predicted score for the ACT?. Computer-based administration will be set by the district to be sometime between April 11-May 13. Grade 11 students will be given the opportunity to take the ACT? during the spring of their junior year. The exam will be paper-based and given on March 1, 2015. I t can be used for all scholarship and college admittance purposes. The ACT multiple-choice tests are based on what students have learned in English, reading, math, and science.
    Math and literacy committees continue the transition to Common Core Standards and Technology Integration.  Teachers meet regularly to discuss curriculum, instructional strategies, and classroom activities.  Teachers are developing lessons to integrate technology into the classroom. We focused on all core teachers becoming Advanced Placement Trained. This professional development enables the core classroom teachers to be trained in differentiated learning for all students while partnering with the GT instruction. We will send a fourth team to LDC/MDC next summer. The goal is for all core teachers to be trained AP and in LDC/MDC (Literacy and Math Design Collaborative).  This professional development focuses on the Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy and equipping junior high and high school students with the necessary reading and writing skills to be college and career ready. Teachers in ELA, Social Studies, Science, and Career/Technical Education use the LDC framework to build content while teaching students to achieve high-level literacy skills. Teachers attended eight days of in service training before school started.  Content areas included CPR, suicide prevention, anti-bullying, child maltreatment, safety, wellness, technology, ethics, and google classroom, and active assailant. Administration was trained and given the task of implementing the Smart 911Panic button at all campuses. Student Handbook and discipline policies are all online.  Students and parents received the school’s discipline policy in the Student Handbook and signed a form indicating they had received and understood the policy.  Parents are encouraged to visit our parent center, participate in our school programs, and be a partner in their children’s school experiences by volunteering for activities listed in the parental involvement plan. Parents are also informed of the Home Access Center to obtain student grades and our Mount Ida Website for information. A new system for school phone and text messaging is in full operation.
    The high school offers 38 courses.  The distance education lab provided a wide variety of classes for high school students.  Endorsed concurrent credit courses include on-site College Algebra, and English Comp I& II through Rich Mountain Community College. Online Advanced Placement courses are offered as well through Arkansas School for Math & Science and Virtual Arkansas.  Act 1280, Digital Learning, is being met through a digital Health class offered to all 9th graders. Students are encouraged to bring their technology to school and be registered to use the school’s internet and WIFI. An enrichment period of 20 minutes added to the daily schedule between first and second periods for 7-8th and 9-12th grades and allows students to study, read, and improve math and literacy skills. Mr. McGuire discussed the after school tutoring opportunities for students.  Mrs. Sandy Crawford and Mrs. LaShawn Neighbors offer after school literacy tutoring for grades 9-12. Mrs. Sheila Roberts and Mrs. Beverly Smith conduct the after school math tutoring for grades 9 -12.  Mrs. April Scurlock and Mr. Jeff Warden offer after school math tutoring for grades 5-8.
    Science results from 2014-2015 Benchmark testing show the number of students Proficient or above in:  Biology-48%, 7th-42%, and 5th-90%.
    PARCC Testing was used for Reading and Literacy for the 2014-15 school year.
    Our results compare the School, State, and PARCC Averages:
    Math Department:  Geometry Scores: 740 school, 730 state, 732 PARCC
    Algebra I Scores: 742 school, 733state, 734 PARCC
    Literacy Department:  Grade11 Literacy Scores: 738 school, 43state, 730 PARCC
    Grade10 Literacy Scores: 734 school, 735 state, 735 PARCC
    Grade 9 Literacy Scores: 741 school, 737 state, 730 PARCC
    Gifted and Talented Program — K-2 students are serviced through Enrichment classes during the one hour Library class each week.  These Enrichment activities are geared to develop their potential creativity and higher level thinking skills.  Third- Sixth grade students are serviced through a pull-out twice a week for an hour and through Pre-AP in their regular classrooms for 30 minutes.  Seventh- eighth grade students are serviced through pull-out class twice a week for 20 minutes and their Pre-AP in their regular classrooms.  Ninth- twelfth grade students are serviced through a pull-out once a week along with their Pre-Ap and AP classes and Secondary Content classes.
    These students have the opportunity to participate in Quiz Bowl competitions, Chess Tournaments, and Battle of the Books along with their pull-out activities of research, critical thinking activities and competition practice. They will also get to attend educational field trips throughout the year.
    This year there were 2 new students placed in the program.  This brings the total to 68 students being serviced in the Gifted and Talented program.  There are 3 students presently being tested.  We also have gained another certified teacher for the 5-12 grades this year.
    Students in the Mt. Ida Schools Gifted and Talented Program are responsible for mastering the same concepts that the regular classroom students master.  They are expected to maintain above average grades and complete quality projects in the GT classroom.  They are also expected to participate in the various projects and activities that the GT program offers.
    Federal Programs — Mount Ida School District is a Title I School wide program based on our percent of low income student population, but all students benefit from these services. We were funded for 69% free/reduced this year based on 2014-15 student numbers.  Each category has rules and regulations on how the monies can be spent, and actions must be written into the ACSIP Plans accordingly.
    This year, our district received the following Federal funding:
    Title I: $157,967.98
    Title II-A: $31,787.35
    Title VI (REAP): $28,326.00
    State categorical funding received:
    NSLA (National School Lunch Act): $171,216.00
    Professional Development: $12,654.00
    Based on our district’s greatest needs, we have added four 30-Chrome book mobile labs to 5th- 12th grade classrooms for teacher and student use, one 30-Chrome book mobile lab and replaced existing computer lab with 30 Chrome books in the K-4 building. The district will purchase additional web-based programs that assist in reinforcing skills in math, language arts, and science. Additional math supplies such as calculators and manipulatives and supplemental reading supplies such as class book sets will be purchased as needed. Expenditures from these funds are also used for parent involvement, professional development, and to supply items for district students if identified as in need.
    The district offers before and after school tutoring in Math and English and an enrichment period during the day for students needing extra practice. The district employs five teacher’s aides, two full-time counselors, a full-time registered nurse, a Federal Programs coordinator, and a full-time resource officer to help bridge- the- gap between our student populations.
    Website Requirements — Additional reports for the district can be found on the district’s web site under the link “State Required Information”. The web site also contains district news items; campus and faculty information; items of interest for parents and students; a district calendar; schedules of events; and additional links for more information concerning education and the district.

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