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Changes made to Reading Mastery program PDF Print E-mail

By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican

Elementary Principal Nate Vitosh told Chase County Schools board members Monday he’s made staffing assignments to the Mastery Reading Program for the second semester.
The changes came in response to concerns expressed by parents and teachers at last month’s meeting. The concerns centered on assignments, in which non-certified aides were teaching the program in some of the grade levels, more especially in the third grade.
“We have resolved that,” Vitosh said.
In the third grade class where the groups were being split between a teacher and aide in separate rooms, Vitosh said they will be teaching that class with a second teacher.
He said the progress by some second grade level groups allows them to move into  larger groups, freeing up a teacher.
Kindergarten, first grade and some second grade groups are split into two groups, he said, rotating between a teacher and an aide in the same classroom.
He said it was not his intent to do anything against Department of Education guidelines.
As a result, he said he’ll be looking closer at what can and can’t be done with para-professionals and aides.
With the resolution of the third grade situation, Superintendent Matt Fisher said there were no other situations where an aide and certified teacher are not working in conjunction in the same room.
Fisher said they would evaluate results from spring testing to determine groupings for next year. That will be a key factor in deciding whether more certified staff will be needed.
Fisher said the trend other schools have found about the reading program shows groups more closely align with each other. As a result not as many small groups will be needed, easing pressure on staffing.
Jill Bauerle, who brought the concerns about the third grade staffing to the board last month, wanted to insure the aide situation had been corrected.
Vitosh noted again the situation was corrected.
She asked why the state wasn’t contacted before her son spent half a year in the program with an aide half of the time. “You don’t have to answer that because there isn’t an answer,” she added.
Softball will continue
Activities Director Marc Mrozcek said they plan to continue the softball program, due to interest.
He said they have at least 13 players who have committed to the sport next fall.
He recommended Denise Smith continue to coach the program.
He noted he’s been in contact with a number of schools to line up additional games and tournaments.
In other action, the board approved the lease for a Caterpillar skid steer for a year at $3,750 for up to 250 hours of use.
Kent Silvester, head of school maintenance, said he made contact with local dealers about their leasing programs and none were as competitive or workable.
Silvester said the unit would be especially useful for snow removal and would cut down the amount of time needed to clear snow on the school grounds.
On the recommendation of Silvester and Supt. Fisher, the board decided to create a salaried position for the bus mechanic position.
David Bopp, who was paid on an hourly basis, resigned from the position, effective this month.
Silvester said that person could also help from time to time with some other maintenance duties at the school.


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