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An update on a facilities assessment study currently underway in the Clarinda School District was given to the Board of Education during its meeting Wednesday, Aug.14.

Buildings, classrooms and other physical components in the district are being evaluated by CMBA Architects to determine if they are adequate to meet existing and future needs of students in the district.

The study was launched earlier this year, and initial information-gathering sessions were conducted with school administrators, board members and residents of the community.

Since that time, “we have surveyed your faculty and staff, held focus groups with them, and also surveyed students,” CMBA representative Courtney Koch said the Aug. 14 meeting.

Sixty-one faculty and staff members were surveyed, 27 from Garfield Elementary School and 17 each from Clarinda Middle School and Clarinda High School.

In general, respondents indicated a preference for a building that would be “flexible and adaptable” to address changing requirements for educational goals, said CMBA representative Lee Beukelman.

There was overwhelming support for having classrooms that included adequate instructional space, “hands-on” space and space for small groups to interact.

Survey respondents expressed an interest in making sure that the instructional methods implemented in the classrooms “are the best fit for the students,” Beukelman said.

The number of high school students surveyed totaled 190 -- 62 freshmen, 51 sophomores, 45 juniors and 32 seniors.

The respondents favored more room for extra-curricular activities, and about two-thirds of the students listed a “quiet” space as a top priority. “This was not necessarily a direct learning space,” Koch said. Rather, it was a place where they might be able to go to study.

.The survey also revealed that the library ranked highest as a location favored by the students.

In the focus groups, teachers expressed opinions on what they would like to do with particular classrooms or other spaces.

“Variety and flexibility” were two key features that were desired, Buekelman said, especially if they can provide “places where teachers would be able to learn from other teachers through collaboration and communication.”

Based on the information gathered from the surveys and the focus groups, he said, the “elementary and middle school [building] seems to be the tightest of the space needs, on classrooms, too, but more on the extra-curricular areas.”

He said an addition at the high school probably was not needed, but the building “has the potential to reconfigure space,” depending on “different approaches to curriculum and how we teach.”

Koch said that for the next phase of the study, “we would like to get together with a task force from each school” to discuss how the buildings are currently being utilized.

The groups would be composed faculty and administration representatives, and recommendations would be made regarding specific plans for effective use of space.

In other matters at the Aug. 14 meeting, the board approved the acceptance of a donation of $2,660 for 70 Guardian football helmet covers for the middle school; $1,1665 for nine retro-fit helmets for the high school; and $16,080 for 40 new helmets for the high school.

The funds came from the Clarinda Regional Health Center, the Clarinda Booster Club, Clarinda Youth Tackle and an anonymous donor.

In a related action, the board approved an agreement with CRHC for the services of athletic trainer Logan Wood, who was present at the meeting.

Wood will be at the high school from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide treatment and rehabilitation services, and at the middle school as needed. In addition, he will be present at all high school football practices.

“I am there to advocate for [an] athlete’s safety,” he told board members. “That is my number one priority. Winning is great, losing isn’t great, but to me it doesn’t really matter as long as the athlete is safe.”

Incorporated into the new football helmets is software that records a “hit” to the head and the force of the impact of the blow. That information is then forwarded to the manufacturer and used to help determine if a concussion has occurred.

Wood said only impact data are recorded and submitted. “No personal information about the athlete is sent,” he said.

The helmets, which have a “shelf life” of 10 years, are reconditioned annually and new batteries are installed.

  In other business, the board:

Heard a report from food service director Tracy DeBolt on the 2019 summer food program at the middle school. The average number of meal participants in June was 60, and the figure for July was 39.

Approved the activities budgets and the activities handbook for the 2019-2020 school year.

Approved the reactivation of the Business Professionals of America club, with James Hash to be the sponsor. There had been a BPA group at the high school in the past, but it was disbanded due to lack of interest.

Approved an agreement with West Central Community Action to pay the district $450 per month for students qualifying for the Head Start program.

Approved the first draft of the 2019-2020 Extended Learning Program, formerly known as the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program. The STEM program is still being offered in the district.

Approved the trade-in of a 2009 Chevrolet Impala toward the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Malibu from Shore Motors for $16,653.26. The trade-in value was $1,200.

Approved the trade-in of a 2006 Chevrolet Suburban toward the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Suburban from Shore Motors for $37,653.49. The trade-in value was $3,500.

Approved the first reading of updated district policies that have been reviewed and presented.

Approved the resignation of Jennifer Wolff as a high school paraprofessional.

Approved the transfer of Rebecca Miller from middle school assistant girls’ track coach to middle school head girls’ track coach.

Approved hirings of Denise Ascherl as assistant high school girls’ track coach; Alyssa Biery as assistant high school volleyball coach; Jaedra Moses as middle school assistant girls’ track coach; Dale Fulk as a part-time bus driver; and Lisa Nellis and Billie Miller as paraprofessionals.

  Approved an operational sharing agreement with Green Hills Area Education Agency for the services of a social worker one day per week.

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