I attended the February 28, 2022 School of the Osage Board of Education Meeting at 6:00 p.m.
This meeting was held in the Osage High School field house which was the fourth different location we’ve had for a meeting in the last four months. The Board was in the familiar U-formation and they didn’t tape off the first three rows of chairs so you could sit up close if you so desired. No microphones were used.
Board Member Vance was not present for this meeting. Board Member Steen showed up during the meeting. Page, Schnieder, Law, Whitman, and Miller were present.
We stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and then they recited the mission statement for School of the Osage.
At the beginning of the meeting, Superintendent Nelson informed the Board that the Facility Usage Request and Scholarship Request Approval were going to be removed from the agenda. It appears that there is some issue with the proposed scholarship offer.
During the Public Comment section, two students from the Vision Council spoke before the Board.
Old business was for approval of the 2022-2023 Student Academic Calendar. There were three versions developed. Board Member Miller moved to accept the version the SOTO Administration recommended: Version B. Version B is very similar to the 2021-2022 calendar. Schnieder seconded it and it passed unanimously.
First new business was for Contracts/MOU’s/Agreements. Superintendent Nelson mentioned for the second meeting in a row that this section was added to the Board Agenda in the interest of transparency. I think it’s interesting that explicitly getting Board approval before signing these types of contracts has been mentioned by Nelson two months in a row now.
The first one was for the Head Start MOU. This is an MOU between Missouri Ozarks Community Action (MOCA) Head Start and the school district. The Superintendent told the Board that Head Start sent this MOU to the district. According to her, it’s their standard MOU.
It was passed unanimously
The Athletic Director spoke to the Board and said they needed a new software system for scheduling athletic activities. The company who designed their old system is out of business. The new system is called “rST.” The initial cost for the first year will be $1,745 and the recurring annual cost for it would be $1,045. Board Member Law wondered if the kids at Osage High School could develop software to track facility reservations and activities. It appears that the development costs alone would be more than the cost of this software.
This was passed unanimously.
The next agenda item was the School Counseling Program Evaluation. This was presented by Paula Niemeier, a school counselor from Osage Middle School. I’m going to do you all a favor and summarize this presentation. If you want to read the whole thing, it’s online on the Board of Education website.
In 2016, the Missouri legislature changed guidance counselors to counselors. They are now responsible for School Counseling Curriculum, Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services, and System Support.
The conclusion of the assessment is that the school district needs more counselors. They are having to devote so much time to Responsive Services that they are having a difficult time providing their desired level of of School Counseling Curriculum. One of the aspects of this curriculum that she mentioned was “cross cultural understandings”. I’ll let you look that up on your own.
I’ve included some of the pages from her presentation for your reading pleasure.
And here is the School of the Osage Strategic Priorities. Panorama is still on it.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the presentation.
The next agenda item was the Mid-Year Academic Report for the district which was presented by Dr. St. John. As usual, the tenor of this presentation was that everything is going great. It was all highlights across the board.
In the audience, we didn’t have a copy of the presentation, so we had to take her word for it. Board VP Schnieder asked a question about the 4th Grade which I assumed meant their achievements weren’t mentioned in the highlights. Dr. St. John stated, “We’re searching for those bright spots and peeling back the layers.” Sheesh.
I wish Dr. St. John was a medical doctor. She would be great. She could probably deliver the most dire diagnosis and still manage to find the silver lining for any terminal condition. “We’re going to have to amputate your leg, but the upside is that you can look forward to significant weight loss in the future.”
On that note, I’ve noticed that in school administration, they go out of their way to call themselves “Doctors” all the time. I have a Bachelor’s Degree, but I didn’t walk around my police station telling everybody to call me “Bachelor Dave.” I don’t think Monica would have appreciated that very much.
Anyway, the Board approved the report unanimously.
The next agenda item was the Summer School Plan. This was presented by Osage Middle School Assistant Principle David Harris. They have worked hard to get the planning for Summer School done early this year. It will be from June 7 through June 30. The session will be full day and will include field trips and service learning projects. They will also increase the financial incentives for teachers to participate.
This was approved unanimously by the Board.
The next agenda item was the iPad Surplus Vendor Selection.
There were three potential bids from vendors who are willing to buy the district’s old iPads. They have all been wiped and the recommended vendor was Total Technology. Based on the condition of the iPads the district could recoup over $100,000 with the final amount based on the vendor’s evaluation of the iPads.
This was approved unanimously by the Board.
The final item was the March meeting date.
The Board of Education decided last month to break their monthly working session up into three committees that would meet at various times. Suspicious minds would suspect they did this to make it harder for people to attend these meetings. It turns out it actually made it harder for the board members to attend the meetings because of weather cancellations. President Page seemed to leaning toward going back to the monthly working sessions, but she said the Board will discuss this after the upcoming Board of Education election on April 5, 2022.
They voted to have the next meeting on March 11 at 7:30 a.m. In the Archive Room, but I’m pretty sure that also was cancelled also because of snow.
They then voted to go into closed session.
And that was that.
As for the upcoming Board of Education election, there are two seats on the Board that will be open. Dr. Kelly Frisella and Stacy Neal are running for those positions. Both of them are parents with children in the school district. Check out their pages on Facebook for more information.
Darrick Steen is the lone incumbent. Steen is the third generation of his family to serve on the Board of Education. It sure would be nice to get two new points of view on that board.