2020-2021 Board Meetings

May 27, 2021 - Board Meeting recap

The Board

Personnel Report

Board honors Speech and Theatre students

On May 27, 2021, the Ray-Pec School Board honored four students for their achievements at the state Speech and Debate Tournament.

At left is Spencer Barr, who placed 7th in Dramatic Interpretation. In addition, Spencer won the state championship in Original Oratory. With his championship, Ray-Pec High School now leads the state of Missouri in all-state state championships in Speech and Debate with 31.

Paige Showen, second from left, and Maddy Busby, placed 5th in Duo Interpretation. The students are pictured with Board Member Deanna Olson.

Not pictured is Bailey Martin, who placed 5th in Prose Interpretation. 

BOE honors Speech and Theatre

Board honors Scholar Bowl Team

On May 27, the Ray-Pec School Board honored the Ray-Pec High School Scholar Bowl Team, which won the Class 6 state championship on May 8 in Columbia. From left are team members Audrey Mitchell, Joel Miles, Brendan Fuller, and Alissa House, and Board Member Deanna Olson. Not pictured is Andres Arreola.
BOE honors Scholar Bowl team

Board honors Blue Star Award winner

The Ray-Pec School Board tonight honored Senior Nate Caskey for winning the Blue Star Technical Achievement Award for Lighting Design and Scenic Construction. 
He was also a finalist for the Dream Production Award in the area of lighting design. Blue Star awards are presented annually through Starlight Theatre to honor excellence in high school musical theatre from schools around the Kansas City area. He is pictured with Board Member Deanna Olson.
BOE honors Nate Caskey

Board honors All-State Journalist

The Board tonight on May 27, 2021, honored students who received All-State awards at the Missouri Interscholastic Press Association State J-Day competition. These awards are presented to the top 1 percent of entries. 

Sydney Heriford (pictured here with Board Member Deanna Olson) and Sierra Gatz were honored in the Online Overall category for the RayPecNOW convergence website.
Kylee Kingman and Em Blackstone were honored for Yearbook Mods (This category is defined as a smaller amount of text with accompanying photos or illustrations that support a page’s main story.)
Maddyson Berg was honored in the category of Newspaper/Newsmagazine Infographic.
Emma Gomez was honored for Student Life/Organization Photo.
BOE honors Sydney Heriford

Board honors FBLA National Qualifier

The School Board on May 27 honored Junior Audrey Huffman, who has qualified for the FBLA National Leadership Conference for the third consecutive year. This year, she qualified for nationals in two events. At the State Leadership Conference, Audrey placed first in Hospitality and Event Management, and placed third at the state conference in Organizational Leadership. She is pictured with Board Member Deanna Olson.

BOE honors Audrey Huffman

Board honors Citizens 4 RP Committee

The School Board on May 27, 2021, lso honored the Citizens 4 RP Committee. This group donated their time and effort to encourage support for the Proposition S Bond Issue in April. Pictured with Board Member Deanna Olson (at right) are committee members, from left: Cathy Wansing, Larry Dobson, Matt Davidson, and Eric Collins. Not pictured are Phil Parke and Brent Ewert.

BOE honors Citizens for RP

May 13, 2021 - Work Session

The School Board on May 13, 2021, heard an update about the three large projects being funded by the Proposition S bond issue: the Ray-Pec LEAD Center, Performing Arts Center, and Freshman Center. (See more details here.)

New facility to be called Ray-Pec LEAD Center

On April 29, 2021, the School Board approved a name for the new district facility at M-58 Highway and Foxridge Drive. It will now be called the Ray-Pec LEAD Center. 

LEAD stands for Learning, Experiences, And Discovery.

In February 2021, the District purchased the building, which had been vacant for several years.

The District plans to use the Ray-Pec LEAD Center, which has about 41,000 square feet, to provide additional opportunities for students in the area of career oriented education and Real World Learning education experiences. Renovation of the facility and implementation of career education programs will be funded through proceeds from Proposition S, the $72 million bond issue approved by voters in April 2021.

Career education is an important component of Proposition S. Some of the programs being considered for the LEAD Center include HVAC, electrical, and technology certifications.

Former Orscheln building

Board approves go-to-market resolution

Also during the April 29, 2021, meeting, the School Board approved a go-to-market resolution authorizing the district to offer for public sale the general obligation bonds in the approximate amount of $72 million.

The Board also:

  • Heard a report about the Microschool - Ray-Pec Enterprise & Design
  • Heard a report about additional interventions planned for the 2021-22 school year
  • Approved proposals for banking services for July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, from UMB Bank and Country Club Bank
  • Approved the purchase of 390 student desks from Office Essentials for a total of $40,563.30
  • Approved the district's Summer School application
  • Approved tuition and program offerings for Panther Pride Before and After School child care for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Approved JE Dunn Construction as the construction manager-at-risk provider for the major construction projects from Proposition S.
  • Approved the bid for surveillance camera server replacements from Federal Protection Inc. for $47,240 plus a 5% contingency
  • Approved the proposal from All Systems Designed Solutions, Inc., in the amount of $118,662, for an intercom upgrade at Eagle Glen Elementary School.
  • Approved the proposal from All Systems Designed Solutions, Inc., in the amount of $28,239, for an intercom upgrade at Raymore Elementary School.
  • Approved the alternate bid of roof materials from Tremco/WTI for the Administrative Services Center in the amount of $10,301.46.
  • Approved the alternate bid of roofing labor from Kirberg Company for the Administrative Services Center in the amount of $37,150 plus a 5% contingency.


Board honors All-State Wrestlers

The Ray-Pec School Board honored the high school's two All-State wrestlers. Although they finished the season several weeks earlier, they were unavailable to attend the March Board meeting because they were both selected to participate in the KC Metro Classic. They helped Team Missouri defeat Team Kansas 28-27.

Senior Tyson King placed 4th in the heavyweight division of the Missouri Class 4 wrestling tournament. Senior Coleton McElliott placed 5th in the 182-pound weight class. McElliott is a two-time state qualifier during his wrestling career at Ray-Pec.

Tyson (left) and Coleton (center) are pictured with Board Member Paul Coffman.

Wrestlers at April BOE

School Board honors Joel Miles

The School Board honored senior Joel Miles for qualifying as a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation program. Joel is pictured with Board Member Paul Coffman.
More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Joel now has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered throughout the spring.
Joel Miles at April BOE

Board honors poster contest winner

The Ray-Pec School Board on April 29 honored 5th grader Amelia Zernickow for winning the 2021 Missouri Department of Public Safety National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest. Amelia is a 5th grader at Eagle Glen Elementary School. She will represent Missouri in the national contest. She is pictured with School Board Member Paul Coffman.

Amelia Zernickow at April BOE

Board recognizes All-State Cheerleaders

The Raymore-Peculiar School Board on April 29 honored seven Ray-Pec High School cheerleaders who received All-State recognition at the state tournament!

Back row, from left: Senior Sierra Gatz (base),
Junior Kendra Schulmeister (base), Board Member Paul Coffman, Senior Ashlyn Martin (base), and Senior Kayla Jones (base).

Front row: Sophomore Lily Braswell (flyer), Senior Hailee Teeter (base - 2nd time All-State), and Senior Kendall Dobrin (flyer and tumbling).

All State Cheer at April BOE

Recognition for Outstanding Beginning Teacher

The Raymore-Peculiar School Board on April 29 honored Ashley Rowland, who was selected as one of Missouri’s Outstanding Beginning Teachers. She teaches 9th grade English Language Arts at Ray-Pec High School.

Every two years, the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education honors exemplary new teachers across the state for their work with Missouri’s youth. Avila University and Ray-Pec High School nominated Ashley to receive this honor. She is pictured with Board Member Paul Coffman.

Ashley Rowland at April BOE

Recognition for Spelling Bee champion

Fifth grader Mac Northcraft was recognized by the Ray-Pec School Board on March 23, 2021, for winning the Ray-Pec School District and Cass County Spelling Bees. He is pictured with Board Member Bill Lowe.

BOE 032621 Mac Northcraft
BOE 032621 Alden Trageser
BOE 032621 Lilah Manning

Recognition for All-State Honorable Mention Band

Junior Alden Trageser was recognized for being selected 6th chair, French horn, in the All-State Honorable Mention Band. He is pictured with Board Member Bill Lowe.

Recognition for All-State Orchestra

Senior Lilah Manning was recognized for being named first chair, piccolo, in the All-State Orchestra. This is Lilah’s third time to receive All-State honors. She is pictured with Board Member Bill Lowe.

March 23, 2021, Board meeting

The Board on March 23, 2021, approved the salary schedules and employee benefits for 2021-2022. The Board approved 2021-2022 staffing requests. The Board also approved a variety of bids, including:

  • Machining equipment
  • Administrative Services Center mechanical equipment
  • Administrative Services Center controls proposal
  • Mowing services
  • Stonegate Elementary carpet
  • Generator
  • Interactive flat panel display
  • MacBook Air computers

March 16, 2021, Special Meeting

At a special meeting on March 16, 2021, the Ray-Pec Board of Education voted 4-2 to continue with the current hybrid schedule (A/B day) for middle and high school students through the end of the school year. Board Member Billy King made the motion to remain in the hybrid schedule. It was seconded by Aaron Howlett. Also voting in favor were Ruth Johnson and Kim York. Voting against the motion were Paul Coffman and Bill Lowe.

Tonight’s decision followed several weeks of information gathering. Board members received a report that included:

  • An assessment of the current middle school and high school hybrid model.
  • The impact and scheduling of COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.
  • Requirements needed to change the learning model at the secondary level.
  • Survey information from parents, students, and staff. 
  • Written comments submitted with the survey.
  • Information on learning models in use by other school districts

Read the presentation: Learning Model Report to the Board of Education

Board honors student for service project

The School Board tonight honored Ray-Pec High School Senior Tamia Schiele for implementing an inter-generational service project. Students at Raymore Elementary School created Valentine's Day cards for senior citizens. On Feb. 12, Tamia delivered 150 cards and snacks to Foxwood Springs Living Center in Raymore. Tamia is pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett.

Tamia Schiele with Aaron Howlett
Ashleigh Easton with Aaron Howlett
Special Olympics with Aaron Howlett

Honoring Polar Plunge team

Student Senate Co-Advisor Ashleigh Easton, left, is pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett.

Recognition of Polar Plunge

Sophomore Karley Sprankle raised $650 and was the 2nd place fundraiser for Ray-Pec. Senior Lucian Howlett was the top fundraiser. He raised about $2,500 and participated as a “Super Plunger,” which means that he plunged into the lake once each hour for 24 hours. They are pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett, at right.

Recognition for service project

The Board on Jan. 28, 2021, recognized High School Junior Paige Showen for her work to plan, organize, and implement a toy and food drive in December. Paige invited children in the community to visit Santa in a drive-thru social-distance setting at Ray-Pec High School. Families who attended donated food, toys, and clothing to be donated to organizations in the community. She is pictured with Board Member Billy King.

Paige Showen with Billy King

Recognition for All-State Football Players

The School Board tonight recognized football players who were named to All-State teams by the Missouri Football Coaches Association and Missouri Media. Both organizations also selected Head Coach Sean Martin as the Coach of the Year. Pictured from left: Coach Sean Martin, Ethan George, Ben Einess, and Board Member Billy King. Also named to the All-State teams, but not in attendance: Jaidyn Doss, Tucker Miller, Parker Bowen, Philip Fager, Gunnar Griffin, and Conrad Hawley.

FB with Billy King

Recognition of All-State Softball Players

The School Board on Jan. 28, 2021, recognized All-State Softball Player Laney Killpack. Laney is a senior and was the team's catcher. She has signed a letter of intent to play softball at the University of Central Missouri. She is pictured with Board Member Billy King.

The Board also recognized Freshman Hayden Kurtz, but she was unable to attend the meeting.

Laney Killpack with Billy King

Dec. 17, 2020, Board Meeting recap

The School Board on Dec. 17 heard a presentation about planning for a $74 million no-tax-rate increase bond issue for April 2021. Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, reviewed the planning timeline and outlined priority projects. The funds would be used for: additional capacity at the high school level with the construction of a freshman center, facility updates at all schools, the construction of a performing arts center, and space for more career-oriented opportunities for students. Review the presentation.

The Board also heard reports about first semester learning, including grades and student achievement. In addition, the Board heard about plans to begin second semester following the same schedule and learning mode as first semester.

In action items, the Board approved changes to the 2020-2021 school calendar. The start of second semester moves to Jan. 11, 2021, and three Fridays during second semester will be designated as virtual instruction days for all elementary school students. The Board voted to select Kerstin Randolph as Ray-Pec's nominee for the John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarship. The Board also approved a resolution about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which provides for paid sick and family leave for COVID-19 related absences. The Board extended the leave through Jan. 31, 2021. The Board also approved an internship agreement with Avila University.

Proposed Bond Projects 2020

Personnel report

Board honors football team and coach

The School Board on Dec. 17 recognized the Ray-Pec High School varsity football team for winning the State Championship - the district's first while competing in Class 6. The Board also honored Varsity Football Head Coach Sean Martin on being selected the Class 6 Coach of the Year by the Missouri Football Coaches Association. 
Coach Martin and the four varsity captains represented the team at the meeting for the recognition. Coach Martin is pictured at right with Board President Ruth Johnson.
This was Coach Martin's first year as head coach. He has been a physical education teacher and coach at Ray-Pec High School since 1997, and has chaired the Physical Education Department since 2004. Martin is a Ray-Pec High School graduate. 
RP BOE Dec. 2020 Sean Martin
RP BOE Dec. 2020 Conrad Hawley

Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Team Captain Conrad Hawley, the quarterback. Hawley was selected First Team All State and was named the Class 6 Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, Conrad received the Thomas A. Simone award, which is presented annually to the top football player in the Kansas City metro area.

RP BOE Dec. 2020 Parker Bowen
Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Team Captain Parker Bowen, a linebacker. Bowen was selected First Team All-State.
Ashlyn Smith with Ashley Jones
RP BOE Dec. 2020 Gunnar Griffin

Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Team Captain Gunnar Griffin, a defensive back. Griffin was selected First Team All-State.

RP BOE Dec. 2020 Tyson King
Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Tyson King, an offensive lineman. Although injured earlier in the season, King has been an important part of the team throughout his high school career.
Luke Voelker with Ashley Jones

All-State Cross Country

The Ray-Pec School Board on Nov. 19 recognized Freshman Ashlyn Smith for placing 8th in the state cross country meet for Class 5 girls. She is pictured with Board Member Ashley Jones.

All-State Cross Country

The School Board on Nov. 19 recognized Junior Luke Voelker, who placed 6th at the state cross country meet for Class 5 boys. He is pictured with Board Member Ashley Jones.

Board honors 8th grader for 3-D printing project

The Ray-Pec School Board on Nov. 19, 2020, recognized 8th grader Ezra Robertson, who used engineering skills to solve a problem at his school.

Using a CAD program and a 3-D printer, Ezra helped to design and create a plastic part to fix hand sanitizer dispensers at South Middle School.

Some of the hand sanitizer dispensers in the school were not working correctly because a small part was broken. When the replacement part could not be obtained, Lead Custodian Angela Trueblood asked Teacher Bill Harrington if a part could be made using the 3-D printer.

Mr. Harrington, who teaches Project Lead the Way Engineering courses, asked Ezra if he would like to give it a try. Ezra jumped right in. He worked on the project at home and developed a prototype. He and Mr. Harrington then refined the prototype to create the replacement parts for South Middle School and now other schools in the district that use the same dispenser.

After taking the Project Lead the Way engineering class in 7th grade, Ezra became so interested he eventually got a 3-D printer at home. This project was featured in a recent Staff Spotlight video on the Ray-Pec website: http://www.raypec.k12.mo.us/1518/Staff-Spotlight

Ezra is pictured here with Board Member Ashley Jones.

Ezra Robertson with Ashley Jones

Nov. 19, 2020, Board Meeting recap


Long Range Facility Plan

Personnel report

Nov. 17, 2020, special meeting

During a special meeting, the Board on Nov. 17 discussed the learning mode to be used for the three-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Board of Education voted to continue with the current approach, but change December 4, 11, and 18 to limited virtual learning and teacher collaboration for the elementary schools.  

The decision came after a presentation by Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and comments by patrons in attendance at the meeting at Ray-Pec High School. Presentation to Board

Beginning the week after Thanksgiving, students in grades K-5 will attend classes in-person Monday through Thursday. Students in grades 6-12 will continue with the A/B schedule. Early Childhood students will attend 5 days each week.

The Board also approved a change to the school calendar. The semester will end on Dec. 18 for students. Dec. 21 and 22 will be teacher work days.

Nov. 12, 2020, work session recap

The Board on Nov. 12, 2020, heard a review of the Long Range Facility Plan, and a preview of the Capital Projects Plan for Summer 2021.

The Board also heard from Dr. Dan Hocoy, president of Metropolitan Community College - Longview, about the college's strategic initiatives. Hocoy said that MCC plans to place an issue on the ballot to ask residents to consider the Ray-Pec boundaries as "in-district" for MCC.

Board honors Peyton Koper for 4th place finish at state tennis tournament

RPHS Sophomore Peyton Koper was recognized at the Oct. 22 School Board meeting for her 4th place finish at the state singles tennis tournament.

Also pictured: Board Member Kim York, left; Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle, right; and Jason Waltz, Instructional Technology Specialist, seated.

Peyton Koper at 102220 Board Meeting

Board meeting recap - Oct. 22, 2020

School District receives clean audit

The District received a clean audit opinion on its financial statements, compliance with laws and regulations, and internal control over financial reporting for the year ended June 30, 2020. Brad Steele, CPA from Westbrook & Co., P.C., presented the audit results on Oct. 22 to the Board of Education.

Board President Ruth Johnson was pleased with the audit report. "The audit shows that our staff is following best practices in financial policies and procedures."

Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle agreed. "The 2019-2020 school year ended in a way that no one had anticipated," he said. "This included changes and challenges in the area of school finance. The clean audit reflects on the hard work of Chief Financial Officer Cyndee Byous and her staff to make adjustments while ensuring the District continues to be the best stewards of taxpayer funds." Read the audit report

The Board approved an early retirement/resignation notification incentive for certified staff. Those who submit their resignation notice by Dec. 23, 2020, will receive an incentive stipend of $1,000, and those who provide notice by Feb. 5, 2021, will receive an incentive stipend of $500. The early notification assists the Human Resources Department in beginning to recruit replacements.

The Board also heard a recap of Summer School 2020 and Summer School enrollment, as well as an update about the Child Nutrition Program. The Board approved legislative priorities for 2021 as part of Cass County Kids First.

Oct. 8, 2020 - Board Work Session recap

The School Board on Oct. 8 met in a work session to discuss three topics.

1. Discussion with Jamie Grayson

The Board heard about the People of All Colors Succeed organization from Jamie Grayson, Foundation and Chief Executive Officer. Grayson talked about the organization's work to educate and create awareness about and help reverse trends of bullying. He said that POAC is an inclusive organization that works with schools, businesses, and religious organizations to have courageous conversations to create change. POAC emphasizes acceptance for all, no matter the age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other factor. Grayson said that POAC offers a three-week student-led anti-bullying program.

2. Long Range Facilities Plan

Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, shared the results of the October 2020 community survey. Excellence K12, a Kansas City-based market research firm, conducted a phone survey of 300 patrons.

These were the top identified needs:

  • Phase 1 of second high school
  • Additional ancillary facilities 
  • Deferred maintenance

Respondents especially favored the idea of a freshman center. If the district constructed a freshman center, it could later be expanded to become a second high school. Respondents also supported spending money on deferred maintenance, a performing arts center, and an aquatic center. When asked about varying bond issue scenarios, survey respondents supported the idea of a no-tax-increase bond proposal of $72 million.

Read the Survey Presentation.

3. Schools Update

Dr. Mike Slagle reported on the status of schools during the pandemic.

Board meeting recap - Sept. 24, 2020

The Board on Sept. 24, 2020, heard a report about the District's public relations program, and had a first reading of several Board policies. The Board also heard an update on the start of school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services Dr. Al Voelker reported on the number of students and staff in isolation or quarantine due to the virus.


Public Relations update


Policies for first reading:

1300 - Prohibition Against Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

1301 - Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment and Retaliation under Title IX

2640 - Student Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs, and Vapor Products

5330 - Anti-Israel Boycott Prohibition

6145 - Service Animals in Schools

Board honors Tyson King for 4th place finish at state wrestling tournament

The School Board on Sept. 24, 2020, recognized Senior Tyson King for his 4th place finish at the 2020 State Wrestling Tournament. Tyson competed in the 285-pound weight class for Class 4. Tyson was originally scheduled to be recognized at the March 2020 Board meeting, which ultimately was changed to a virtual meeting with minimal agenda items. Schools were closed for the remainder of the year. He is pictured with School Board Vice President Paul Coffman.

Board honors Tyson King

You can watch the Sept. 24, 2020, School Board meeting here:


Honoring IB Diploma graduates

The School Board on Aug. 27, 2020, honored 2020 graduates Larissa Wratney, center, and Ella Schnake, right, for completing the requirements for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. They are pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett, at left.

Five other students also earned the IB Diploma, but were unable to attend the meeting. Congratulations to:

  • Alec Heriford
  • Jay Schroeder
  • Zoe Shriner
  • Devin Tilawen
  • Te’a White


Board honors IB diploma grads

Recognition of Activities Director

The Board on Aug. 27, 2020, honored Activities Director Kirk Hipple on completing the requirements of the NIAAA to earn the Certified Athletic Administrator designation. He is pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett, at left.

BOE honors Kirk Hipple

Recognition for Acting award

The Raymore-Peculiar School Board on Aug. 27 honored Denton Meehan for receiving the Blue Star award for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Nicely Nicely Johnson in Ray-Pec High School’s production of “Guys and Dolls.” Denton is pictured with Board Member Aaron Howlett, at left.    

BOE recognition Denton Meehan

Board meeting recap - Aug. 27, 2020

No increase in the tax rate. That's what taxpayers will get after the Ray-Pec School Board approved the 2020 tax levy rate at $5.1823 during its Aug. 27 meeting.

 

The approval followed a public hearing. During the hearing, Cynthia Byous, Ray-Pec Chief Financial Officer, explained that this rate is adequate to support the District's 2020-2021 budget as well as long range plans for future projects.

 

Fiscal responsibility has allowed the District to achieve at high levels, while spending less per pupil and levying a lower tax rate than most area school districts.

 

With a tax levy rate that has increased only once in the past 16 years, Ray-Pec continues to make gains in student achievement and graduation rates, and also has an ACT composite score above the state average. The total property tax levy of $5.1823 includes an operating levy of $4.1502 and a debt service levy of $1.0321.

Property tax rate history

The Board also approved the District's assessment plan and heard about mental health supports for staff and students.

Board meeting recap - July 23, 2020

The School Board on July 23, 2020, heard an update on the District’s re-entry plan for the start of school. The Board also approved a resolution to refinance certain outstanding bonds, and approved bids for fuel and a Ford Transit. The Board scheduled the annual tax levy hearing for 6:45 p.m. Aug. 27.

School re-entry update

District leaders provided the latest updates to the school re-entry plan as Ray-Pec prepares to return to school on Aug. 24. Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle said that a team of teachers, parents and school leaders have been assisting in developing the plan. The District is receiving guidance from the Cass County Health Department, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Disease Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence.

The re-entry plan was first emailed to parents on July 10. Several emails and newsletters have followed.

Two objectives:

  • To provide an in-person learning experience for as many students/parents who want it for as long as we can, while providing a reasonable risk reduction strategy for all.
  • To provide a rigorous and relevant virtual instruction experience for those students/parents who are desirous of that experience.

The plan offered parents a choice of in-person learning or a virtual learning experience.

Dr. Al Voelker, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, reported that of the total expected enrollment of 6,220, a total of 5,503 students have completed registration, with 78 percent selecting in-person school, and 22 percent selecting the Virtual Instruction Program of Ray-Pec (VIPR). He shared a table showing the breakdown by school. Total enrollment in VIPR was 1,205 students.

Alternative schedule

Dr. Voelker described the proposed alternative schedule for in-person classes for grades 6-12. This schedule will provide for smaller classes, which will allow for greater physical distancing. Students at the middle schools and high school will be divided into two groups: Group A and Group B.

  • Group A will have in-person school on Monday and Wednesday, with virtual instruction on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Group B will have in-person school on Tuesday and Thursday, with virtual instruction on Monday and Wednesday.
  • All students will have virtual school on Fridays.

Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, reminded the Board that other alternatives may need to be implemented. There may be periodic classroom or school closures due to positive cases of COVID-19. If further distancing is required, students in grades 6-12 may transition to an entirely virtual schedule, and students in grades K-5 may be spread out further by using space at the middle schools. It is also possible that all students would have to move to a virtual model.

Dr. Lisa Hatfield, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, told the board about staff surveys related to the return to school. One survey, with 500 responses, showed that 15 percent had no concerns about returning to school/work; 77 percent have some concerns but are planning to return; 8 percent have some concerns and would rather not return; and 0.5 percent have significant concerns and do not plan to return to work.

Dr. Hatfield reviewed some of the staff concerns, explaining how the District is addressing those issues. For example, in response to concerns about the availability of substitutes, the District is seeking to hire one permanent substitute per school for the first semester to provide extra support. Regarding concerns about physical distancing in some elementary school classrooms, Dr. Hatfield said that spaces like cafeterias, libraries, music rooms, art rooms, and other larger classrooms will be used as necessary.

Another survey asked staff about safety and curricular needs for this school year. The respondents asked for cleaning supplies, wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, face masks and shields, Plexiglas barriers, individual school supplies for students and other items. The District plans to prepare a basic kit of safety and cleaning supplies for each classroom.

Michele Stidham, Director of Communication, told the Board how the District is communicating about "regular" back to school topics, such as registration, vaccinations, and bus routes, as well as topics specific to 2020. With the registration deadline now passed, the District will focus on communicating about the alternative schedule for grades 6-12, technology, safety measures, and activity updates. Stidham also said that the District was committed to sharing information with staff and families if a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19. That communication would include any schedule changes or closures.

Review the School Re-entry Update presentation here.

Public comment

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Teacher Brett Beneke praised the work taking place to plan for the 2020-2021 school year. He also requested that the Board consider delaying the start of school to allow for more time to plan and prepare.

Other business

In other business, the Board:

You can watch the July 23, 2020, School Board meeting here. Please note that due to technical difficulties, it is difficult to hear the speaker at the podium.