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Dierks School District’s report to public


Mr. Jody Cowart, Superintendent of School, welcomed those in attendance.

Mr. Cowart discussed the 2018-2019 ESSA School Status Report. Cowart noted that due to COVID-19, students were unable to test last year. 

Cowart discussed The Dierks School Board members. Those members include: Dillard McSpadden, Jeffrey Mounts, Trey Eckert, Brad Garner and Wendell Garner. All board members have received required training hours, as required by law. 

 Dierks School Districts goals and objectives reflect those listed by the JoAnn Walters Elementary School and the Dierks High School with a district-wide vision to Empower Lifelong Learners.

Mr. Cowart reported that the district has 53 certified staff and 27 classified staff.  The district had a net legal balance of $775,000.00 as of June 30, 2020. The district’s building fund balance was $1,746,526.96 as of June 30, 2020. The 2019 Total Assessment Value was $38,552,567.00. Debt service expenditures totaled $164,793.19. 

Mr. Cowart discussed updates on the elementary expansion wing.  The six classroom addition will be completed in the spring of 2021. Other renovation projects across the district include HVAC and roof replacement/repairs, security enhancements, paving projects, and other needed updates will be prioritized following the completion of the classroom expansion. The board approved e-rate project of replacing all data cabling and switches across the district is planned for the summer of 2021.

JoAnn Walters Elementary is making playground improvements. The district will continue to upgrade technology devices and infrastructure. 

The 2018-2019 audit report was conclusive with no findings. 

The district will budget more than $440,395.83 in federal funds this school year. 

Title I allocation this year is $115,131.88. The district transfers the Title II-A allocation of $10,000, and Title IV allocation of $16,932.85 into Title I to budget a total of $142,064.73 for the Title I program.  

Title VI, Part B for Small Rural School, also referred to as REAP monies total $26,246.55 for the 2021 school year. The district has been awarded $36,715.00 for the 2022 school year. 

VI-B Pass-through funds dedicated for the special needs students total $110,738.42. Other special needs monies come through Medicaid claims for speech services, physical and occupational services and through ARMAC. Other federal funds awarded this year include ESSER funds which are part of the CARES Act. The district received $94,829.38. ESSER II preliminary allocations show the district receiving $373,794.22.

Mrs. Lori Finley, Principal at JoAnn Walters Elementary, presented the annual report for the 2019-20 school year. The schools’ accreditation status is Accredited. There are no teachers currently working under an Alternate Licensure Plan.

Oct. 1 enrollment at the elementary school is 262 students in K-6 with 30 students in Pre-K. Current class sizes are: K – 33, 1st – 38, 2nd – 39, 3rd – 35, 4th – 37, 5th – 40, 6th – 40. 

Mrs. Finley noted that the student handbook and parent involvement plan are available on the school website. A hard copy will be provided upon written request in the office. Policies are reviewed annually and revised as needed. 

Elementary programs include gifted and talented, special education, speech, migrant education, dyslexia, therapy, and intervention and enrichment. Other programs available are chess, FCS Jr., Quiz Bowl, Robotics, Pre-Band, Pre-Athletics, and Battle of the Books.

The elementary schools’ goals and objectives for 2020-2021 include implementing the science of reading as part of an effort to have all students reading on grade level, reduce absenteeism with a primary focus on lowering at risk and chronic absenteeism, special education subgroup will exhibit growth on state mandated test and meet exceed the set ESSA School Index Value. 

JoAnn Walters Elementary will accomplish goals by including further development of Professional Learning Communities K-6, science of reading training and implementation in all classes, use of assessment data to drive instruction, as well as focus on meeting needs of all students through daily intervention/enrichment.

Another goal for the 2020-2021 school year is improving attendance. The ADE defines chronic absenteeism as missing more than 10% of the school year for any reason. Improving attendance not only increases students’ chances for success, but it is an essential strategy for reducing achievement gaps. Building relationships, following up with families, educating students and parents, recognizing good attendance, and making school a place children want to be are some of the strategies we are using. 

Mr. Gene Strode, Dierks High School Principal, reported the school was fully accredited. Three Licensed Professional Teachers are working under an Alternate Licensure Plan. 

Oct. 1 enrollment at the high school is 244 students in 7-12. 

Current class sizes are: 7th  – 41, 8th – 40, 9th – 45, 10th – 39, 11th – 35, 12th – 40. 

Mr. Strode noted that the student handbook and parent involvement plan are available on the school website. A hard copy will be provided upon written request in the office. Policies are reviewed annually and revised as needed. 

High school programs include gifted and talented, special education, speech, migrant education, dyslexia therapy, virtual learning, tools for learning and college course offering. Other programs include Quiz Bowl, Athletics, Band, chess, FBLA, FCCLA, FCS, FFA, E-Sports, Shooting. 

The high school’s goals and objectives for 2020-2021 is to increase the number of students who score a 19 or above on the ACT test, and that students will read at their current grade level. Mr. Strode stated to accomplish these goals the high school has implemented Professional Learning Communities. He stated math programs and literacy programs are being utilized and will help accomplish these goals. Programs include: Accelerated Math, Illustrative Math, IXL, Accelerated Reader, MyAccess, as well as Ramp Up to Literacy class. 

Mrs. Lori Finley presented the program outline for the Gifted and Talented program on behalf of Paula Stapp. Finley stated that there are current 38 students currently placed in the GT. There are 17 in elementary and 21 in high school. Program options for elementary include K-2 whole group enrichment once per month with long-term identification. 3-6th grade identified students receive 150 of resource room instruction weekly from Mrs. Stapp. There are also enrichment opportunities such as chess 

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