CASD discusses upcoming changes|
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield Area School District discussed preparations for upcoming building projects, the reorganization of the high school administration and the hiring of an in-school suspension coordinator for the middle school, at yesterday's committee meetings of the Clearfield Area Board of School Directors.
After reviewing the bids, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Otto said the administration is recommending the district hire Reynolds Construction Management Inc. of Harrisburg to serve as the district's construction manager for the district's high school building project at a cost of $455,000 pending review of the contract by the district's solicitor Aimee Willett of Andrews and Beard of Altoona.
The district approved a $34 million renovation and expansion project at the high school that would allow the district to relocate its 7th and 8th grades and its administrative offices to the building.
The district is also considering the expansion of Clearfield Elementary School and, in preparation for this, Otto said the district's architect HHSDR Architects, Engineers of Sharon recommended the district hire Fike Associates of Clarion to conduct a topographical survey of the land surrounding the elementary school.
The district has not yet approved the expansion of Clearfield Elementary but Otto said the survey is needed to start the PlanCon (Planning and Construction workbook) application process for the district to receive reimbursement from the state if the board decides to move forward with the project.
The district is considering expanding Clearfield Elementary at a cost of approximately $9 million to allow it to consolidate all of its grade K-6 classrooms into the building and close the Clearfield Middle School, Centre Elementary and Bradford Elementary.
Girard-Goshen Elementary has been temporarily closed since October 2010 and the board will be voting on whether to permanently close the school at next week's regular school board meeting, according to board President Dave Glass.
The administration also recommended reorganizing the high school administrative staff to allow it to eliminate one assistant principal position at the high school.
Last month the board promoted Tim Janocko as interim principal to replace former Principal Kevin Wallace who resigned in April. Previously, the school had a principal and two assistant principals, one that worked 11 months of the year and one that worked ten months of the year, Otto said.
To save on costs, Otto is recommending eliminating one assistant principal position and increasing Assistant Principal Heather Prestash's days from 200 days to 240 days; Janocko would also work 240 days per year.
Otto said the move would save the district approximately $100,000 per year in salaries, benefits and costs such as unemployment insurance, retirement fund contributions etc.
Middle School Principal Fred Redden also asked the board to create a new full-time position, an ISS (In-School Suspension)/school-wide positive behavior coordinator at the middle school to provide assistance to students with disciplinary problems.
Redden said data compiled by the school on its disciplinary referrals shows that the school's biggest category of discipline problem is defiance, disrespect, and insubordination and said the main cause of this are students who are struggling academically and socially.
According to Redden, in 2011-12 the school had 710 students enrolled at the school and 27 placed in alternative education.
And last year there were 947 disciplinary referrals for administrative action ranging, which could from warnings, detention, Saturday school, in-school suspension or out of school suspension.
Last school year, 61 students received in-school suspension and 70 received out of school suspension, Redden said.
The district instituted in-school suspension last January as a possible alternative to out of school suspension so students would miss fewer days in school and fall behind academically as a result.
The school staffed its in-school suspension program by having teachers rotate during their education collaboration period, Redden said.
To improve the productivity of the time students spend in in-school suspension, Redden is recommending the district hire an ISS/school wide positive behavior coordinator who would tutor students that are in in-school suspension and act as a mentor to these students.
He said the ISS coordinator's goals would be to decrease unwanted behaviors, and foster relationships with the students, teach socially appropriate behaviors, improve attendance and reduce the affect suspensions can have on the dropout rate, provide academic support and increase academic engagement and performance, provide conflict resolution skills, counseling and behavioral support, improve school climate and decrease the number of students needing to be placed in alternative education or outside services.
Redden said the coordinator would also try to improve parent involvement with these students. Redden said the district often has difficulty getting parents of students with disciplinary problems to show up for meetings.
Middle School Principal Andrew Brickley said many students who have discipline problems are not being taught how to behave appropriately at home so the district has to do it. For example, he said for some students it is appropriate for them to sit around the dinner table at home and curse and when they come to school and do it they get written up.
Brickley said the ISS coordinator's job would be to teach these students what is appropriate behavior at school as well as provide academic support to increase their changes of graduating down the road and not drop out of school.
"Our goal is to keep students in school," Brickley said.
When asked by school board member Dr. Michael Spencer if the ISS coordinator would have a background in school counseling, Redden said yes it is recommended the ISS coordinator have a background in either school counseling or special education.
Glass asked the administration to have a job description written up for next week's meeting so the board can discuss it and to provide absent school board members with the information packet he provided to them yesterday.
Absent from the meeting were board members Tim Morgan, Jennifer Wallace and Philip Carr.