Meeting: Greater Jasper Schools

The Greater Jasper School Board met Monday and:

• Heard an overview of the continuing learning plan for the corporation following the school closure this year due to COVID-19. The plan is required by the Indiana Department of Education and covers how each grade level will address grades for this semester and how learning gaps will be addressed when traditional learning resumes. A copy of the plan is available on the school’s website.

• Approved a policy change for Advanced Placement classes at Jasper High School. The change waives the requirement for students to take the AP exam to earn a credit for the class for this semester. The AP exam is organized outside of the high school and is the way students earn college credit for AP classes. School administrators expect most AP students will take the AP exams online.

• Approved a policy to award high school physical education credit for eighth grade physical education for the 2019-20 school year only. This is being requested due to the inability to conduct physical education classes during summer school. The IDOE has determined that summer school will be done online this year.

• Approved textbook adoption for various high school classes and Jasper Middle School language arts.

• Heard an update on e-learning. Superintendent Tracy Lorey said there has been a learning curve for everyone, but students, parents and staff have taken on the challenges to keep education going. For the most part, feedback has been positive. Board member Arlett Jackal, who has students in the corporation, said she is thankful that the corporation chose to move to having each student have a device and to start practicing e-learning and having teachers attend professional development for snow days before COVID-19. She said she’s heard positive feedback from other parents about teachers reaching out and making sure students are supported and getting their work done. Overall, it seems to be going well, though educators do expect there to be gaps in learning when traditional school resumes.

• Heard that bus routes have been mostly planned for the 2020-21 school. Most routes will be shorter, so students will be able to get on the bus later in the morning and get off earlier in the afternoon.

• Heard that construction of Jasper Elementary is winding down. Furniture has begun to arrive, and asphalt work on the exterior will be done this week. There were some delays due to COVID-19, but the project is still on track.

• Approved a bid for security systems at Ireland Elementary, the middle school, the high school and the administration building from Architectural Sales of Evansville for $608,000. The updates will put the entire school corporation on the same key fob security system as Jasper Elementary.

• Approved a bid from Kern’s Excavating of Bicknell for a base bid of about $589,000 for repaving the south parking lot of the high school. The bid also includes several alternates that can be added if it’s determined they are necessary after digging up the current pavement and in coordination with The Stenftenagel Group, which serves as the school’s clerk of the works.

• Approved the tentative budget timeline for the 2021 budget. The process will begin in July.

• Approved printer/copier leases with Hoosier Business Machines for printer/copiers at Ireland Elementary and Jasper Elementary.

• Approved holding the summer feeding program at Fifth Street Elementary and approved bids for food, paper and other supplies for the program.

• Approved seeking bids for food items for the 2020-21 school year.

• Heard that the school corporation donated personal protection equipment to the Dubois County Health Department for use during the COVID-19 emergency.

• Approved changes to the staff performance evaluation rating system for the 2019-20 school year only. The changes affect performance evaluations for teachers and administrators and are based upon Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order and guidance from the IDOE.

• Heard that the May board meeting will be held at the high school and broadcasted over Facebook Live. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 18.

• Heard that high school staff is looking at how to celebrate graduates but has not made final plans.

• Approved increasing Kirsten Prechtel’s base salary by $3,000 for completing the master’s degree incentive program.

• Approved the following appointments: English teacher Julie Schubert at the high school; special education teacher Mark Giesler and cafeteria staff Pam Seibert at the middle school; music teacher Kristin Gayso and teachers Mindy Sendelweck and Kendra Seger at Ireland Elementary; and teacher Audrey Nordhoff, special education teacher Alexa Rasche and preschool teacher/coordinator Angie Sander at Jasper Elementary.

• Approved the following retirements: Ireland Elementary teacher Cheryl Sermersheim, Tenth Street Elementary secretary Donna Uebelhor and Tenth Street cafeteria staff Marilyn Wolf.

• Approved the resignation of middle school basketball coach Kevin Schipp.

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