School board makes offer on property

The Broken Bow Board of Education adjourned into closed session Monday evening, and when they returned the board voted on and approved a motion to make a purchase offer on a piece of property. The offer of $13,000 was made on a property located just east of the practice field. A small house currently sits on the property, which is in the middle of the block. According to board president Michelle Zlomke, the intent for the property is to remove the house and convert the area for parking. The majority of the February school board meeting was devoted to recognizing many of the positive things going on in Broken Bow Public Schools. The board was treated to a presentation by seniors Levi Campbell and Patrick Wright, who in January launched a new school website devoted to providing up-to-date news, school news, photos and much more. The website, IndianNation, is a project of the high school journalism class and is overseen by journalism sponsor Lisa Phillips. However, it was Wright and Campbell who did the legwork for the project and do most of the maintenance of the site. The board also heard from the school’s Rti specialist, Allison Jonas. She explained and showed charts of the progress students are making since the teachers have begun implementing the program. With Rti, students are given “benchmark” tests in the fall, and then those results are analyzed and used to help teachers determine what they may be able to do to help each individual student improve in areas they may be a little behind in. The changes the teachers come up with are then put into practice, and the students are re-tested in the winter with their scores compared to the fall set of scores. Jonas says she was pleased to report that no student’s scores went down from fall to winter, and quite a number actually improved significantly. “The purpose of Rti is to reach struggling students,” said Jonas. “This data shows us it is working. And this is just evidence that we are looking at every single student.” High School/Middle School Principal Ken Kujath advised the board of some small curriculum changes for next year, involving PE/Health and Science. Beginning in the fall of 2012, students will be required to take one semester of PE some time during their high school career. Which year they opt to take it will be up to them. Health will be a one-semester sophomore class, which will run alongside consumer science. However, students can wait and take the class during their junior or senior year if they need to. Kujath says one of the reasons for the curriculum changes is to free up the schedule a little for freshmen. He says right now many freshmen are not able to take some of the classes, such as band, choir or art, because their schedules are full of required courses. These new changes should give freshmen students more of an opportunity to take some of those classes. Beginning in the fall of 2012, juniors will be required to enroll is either physical science, advanced biology or chemistry. They can take more than one of the three if they want, but all juniors must take at least one, which will earn them 30 hours of science credits for that year. In other action items, the board regretfully accepted the resignation of long-time PE teacher, Mary Jo Peterson. She has been a teacher for 32 years, all with the Broken Bow school district. Peterson has opted to take the early retirement she qualifies for. Meanwhile, two teachers who qualify for early retirement requested extensions of the program for the 2012-13 school year. Bev Schwisow is making her third such request, while Reichert is making his fourth request. Both were unanimously approved. The board’s personnel committee has asked for contract extension requests to be made yearly. The calendar for the coming year was approved, which includes a later start to the school year than in years past. This is to accommodate construction being done at North Park. Because of the later start, there will be no fall break next year, and spring/Easter break will be combined. These calendar changes will be for one year only. The next regular meeting of the Broken Bow Board of Education will be March 19.