Bennett Co. School enrollment up slightly from last year

By Tim Huether

According to Superintendent Stacy Halverson, the Bennett County School District enrollment is up by 10 students from last year following the annual count day with a total of 480 students enrolled in the district.

Halverson updated the board on buildings and grounds, the new shop building, business office windows and the tv channel for the school.

She said the tv channel was working last Thursday, then quit and they have people working on getting it back up and going.

The contract with the County for the library expires Dec. 31, 2016, and Halverson recommended they meet with the county and continue a contract. 

“I think it’s working very well and we should continue with it and visit with the board on it,” said Halverson.

She also commended the food service personnel for doing a great job.

Board chairman Mike Olson said he sat in on two classes and heard Go Math presentations and was impressed. He said he encourages all board members to visit classes and said the teachers were very welcoming and glad to see he was there observing.

Bennett County Jr. High Principal Belinda Ready discussed professional development opportunities and said there was a Parent Involvement  meeting Tuesday night (Oct. 18), and a Jr. High Night of the Notables Oct. 25.

Ready said the school report cards are on the SD DOE website and each building has a hard copy as well as copies at her office. All three buildings are in Focus status. 

The South Dakota Department of Education (SD DOE), as part of its ESEA Flexibility Waiver, identifies Focus Schools by their Gap Group performance, rather than the total SPI score.  A school is identified as a Focus School if it meets one of the following criteria:

• Title I schools that are contributing to the achievement gap in the state determined by the school’s Gap Group’s performance on select indicators:

- Student achievement and attendance for elementary and middle school

- Student achievement and graduation rate for high school

• Title I schools with any subgroup whose combined reading and math proficiency rate is 75 percent lower than the Gap Group at the same school (Safeguard).

The total number of Focus Schools must equal at least 10 percent of the Title I schools in South Dakota. Only Title I schools are identified as Focus Schools.

At the elementary and middle school levels, SD DOE will rank order all Title I schools based on three factors:

1) Percentage of students in their Gap Group scoring at the Proficient or Advanced levels in math;

2) Percentage of students in their Gap Group scoring at the Proficient or Advanced levels in reading;

3) Attendance rate percentage of their Gap Group.

Each will be factored and ranked separately, and then summed together for a final rank for each school. The schools whose final rank is among the lowest 10 percent of Title I elementary and middle schools across the state will be identified as Focus Schools. Any school that is already a Priority School would not be included on this list; nor would any school that has less than 10 students in its Gap Group.

At the high school level, SD DOE will rank order all Title I schools based on three factors:

1) Percentage of students in their Gap Group scoring at the Proficient or Advanced levels in math;

2) Percentage of students in their Gap Group scoring at the Proficient or Advanced levels in reading;

3) Graduation rate percentage, using the Title I four year cohort calculation, of their Gap Group.

High School Principal Nick Redden said Jon Pierson, Cindy Knecht and himself attended a National Dropout Prevention Conference in Detroit and came away with some great ideas to work with. 

Redden said the Parent Teachers Conference went well and there was positive feedback from parents saying the teachers are doing a good job and said their kids enjoyed school.

He announced that the State Cross Country Meet is in Huron this Saturday with Elliot DuBray competing for Bennett County.

Parent’s Night for Cross Country and Football is Thursday night before the high school football game between Bennett County and St. Francis.

Martin Grade School Principal Amie Kuxhaus said nine staff members will be attending a Positive Behavior Conference in Chicago Oct. 27-28, with the emphasis on strategies on how to develop, implement and support schools and families in PBIS process.

Kuxhaus reported the Parent Teacher’s Conference was a success at the grade schoool with an 82 percent parent attendance. She also said parents had good comments and that the kids were enjoying school.

Red Ribbon Week activities are being planned with high school students coming to present material on Thursday. She said when the high school students have come over in the past they have been real good role models for the students.

On Nov. 15, Martin Grade School will host a Math/Science Curriculum and Showcase.

The board approved several board policy changes that put them in compliance with state and federal laws.

The board recognized Joe Wilson as a wrestling volunteer.

The board approved sick leave bank days for Christie Laverack for the 2016 school year.

The board approved moving the November regular meeting from Nov. 21, to Monday, Nov. 14, at 5 p.m.

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 • booster@gwtc.net