The enrollment count for the Atchison schools has decreased by more than 100 students according to the news USD 409 Superintendent Renee Scott delivered to school board members when they Monday at the board office.
Scott said the drop in numbers was more than she anticipated, but is aware most other school enrollments statewide have declined in comparison to the counts from 2019-20 school year. COVID-19 is a likely a factor, Scott said.
“A lot of kids have moved away,” Scott said of multiple family displacements she is aware due to job losses and/or other reasons associated with the pandemic. Some students might have transferred to virtual schools accredited to other districts elsewhere, meaning they would be ineligible to be part of the USD 409 enrollment count. As of Sept. 20 the headcount reported to Kansas State Department of Education is 1,615 students and the FTE count reported is 1,585.4 reported for 2020-21 schoolyear. The headcount reflects 112 less students from the previous year and FTE count was down to 101.3 in its comparison. All numbers are subject to audit that usually occurs after the first part of the year. The funding formulas are based on the highest enrolment count from a two-year cycle, Scott said.
The administrative staff from Atchison Elementary School introduced themselves to board members and offered some insight about the new model implemented this year at the facility as one of the scheduled reports highlighted on the agenda.
Head Principal Lisa Pierce, Primary Associate Principal Andrea Coppinger, kindergarten through second-grades, and Intermediate Associate Principal Andrew Lillie, third-through fifth-grade, all agreed the AES mantra newly implement mantra is One Team, One Vision, One Goal. Their offered a power-point presentation indicated 82 percent of the youngsters are on-site learners, one percent are hybrid learners only present in the school two days of the week on Mondays/ Thursdays or Tuesdays/Fridays. About 17 percent of the pupils are remote learners. Social, emotional, and character development are key areas of emphasis for the youngsters that have showing improvements from the previous years. Pierce said that about this time during the previous school year the 129 behavior referrals. Thus far for this schoolyear there have only been 34. The AES administrative trio also showed comparisons in math and reading. They showed videos and highlights from remote learning students.
Pierce said the number of their on-site learning are increasing for various reasons like some parents are more comfortable to send children to school with the current health protocols in place, or some felt it was too challenging to keep up with the remote learning requirements.
In other matters, board members:
Observed a moment of silence in memory of Jason Robert Tomlinson, 47, a USD 409 paraeducator. Tomlinson unexpectedly died Sept. 22.
Unanimously accepted the following donations from: StressCrete and Urban Lawncare LLC for Atchison High School Football Program; and for AHS Campus Cupboard from Westside Veterinary Hospital and Steven and Karin Walz.
Unanimously reaffirmed Board policies GAM through GARID and reviewed policies Policy GAS to Policy GBRF. Scott said some of the policies might have to be modified somewhat to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reviewed Bad Weather procedures Scott told board members there are three snow days built into the school calendar and that sometimes contingent on weather forecasts school can be cancelled the night before. Sometimes there might be some early dismissals due to weather-related circumstances. Recessed from regular session to go behind closed doors for 15 minutes to discuss personnel matters about non-elected personnel related to employee performances; recommendations for employment; and confidential student information. After the public session reconvened, board members unanimously: Approved the following supplemental contracts for: Misti Wilson — Interventionist Team Department Head at AES; Rachel Crosswhite — AES spelling bee sponsor; and Jamie Tate — assistant AMS assistant volleyball coach. They also approved a recommendation to hire Dana Moody, to serve as a paraeducator at AES, effective Oct. 1. The following resignations were accepted for respective supplemental contracts from: Eliot Smith — as AES spelling bee sponsor; Brittany Hess — and Jamie Johnson, both for related services. All three aforementioned were effective at the end of the 2019-2020 schoolyear. Board members also accepted the resignation of a supplemental contract from Karen Glennon, Interventionist Team Department Head, effective Sept. 21. Board members also approved requests from five students to graduate at semester. The requests were approved contingent on students meeting the district’s graduation requirements that includes criteria for individual plans of study and state goals. Board President Carrie Sowers offered congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the 409 Board members. Sowers said she is confident they will do well.
Board members Dr. John Eplee was absent from the meeting.