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Marshfield School Board Recap

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The Marshfield School Board gathered on Sept 15 to reflect on the district switch to a four-day school week and address a back-to-school agenda.

Starting the evening off was the highly anticipated  Early Learning Center. Mike Henry, Superintendent of Marshfield schools, gave a report, thanking the board for approving the Early Learning Center construction. Henry shared that while the building is open, it is not officially complete. The district is still waiting on playground equipment and outside construction. Henry was also pleased to report the Early Learning Center is under budget. After everything is completed for the Early Learning Center, any unused money will go towards the school's next project, a storm shelter for the High School and Shook Elementary. 

Henry reflects on the project's impact, stating to the school board, "Just thank you again. I think this is something our community will be proud of for a long time." 

Henry, along with Dr. Rocky Valentine and Dr. Garrett Lowder, gave their executive reports, each providing an overview of the schools and their respective focuses. Henry was happy to see people back in the buildings and while there are still some learning opportunities, given Marshfield is now on a four-day school week, Henry is happy with how things are going for the school and looks forward to working with every faculty member for the new school year.

Dr. Garrett Lowder, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services, had a brief report on professional development for the faculty. He highlighted Southern Baptist University has been working with the Marshfield School District. Through this collaboration, SBU launched a master's degree program, which saw 12 faculty members from the district attend the night prior. 

Lowder highlights, "There was lots of energy in the room, people were excited even though it is going to be a journey. I feel the learning there will feed into the work we are doing here in the district".

Dr. Rocky Valentine, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Facilities & Maintenance, had the floor as he provided his report and others who could not attend. Valentine reviewed the bus cameras' positive impacts since their installation. The cameras assist administration when they must take disciplinary actions. He continued that the need for bus drivers is still present, but the drivers they have now are doing fantastic work. The board approved the purchase of four new buses for the district last year. Valentine informed the board that the buses could arrive in the next month or two but suspects it might be closer to January. 

After speaking on transportation, Valentine very briefly commented on the progress of the Early Learning Center and the surrounding schools, each with its own needs. 

He credited the faculty and janitorial staff for working hard to make things run smoothly, especially on Mondays. "I will say this, the Mondays have been very beneficial for those guys to get some projects done thus far," Valentine mentions.

Valentine then gave the health services report, which showed a surprising number of how many visits to the nurse's office occurred: 30,000 from last year. These range from medical needs to stalling for time and/or avoiding class. He also highlights all the nurses that work for the district are all registered, which is something not every school district has the privilege of. 

Valentine finished his reports by discussing food services. Meal preparation as a whole has been going well with little to no issues getting supplies. He mentions that since meals are no longer free to everyone, some of the students' balances are starting to fill up. In the next few weeks, the schools will communicate to parents, informing them about meal balances. 

The treasury report followed which reported the district is in great shape and everything is within or under budget. 

The school board then gave attention to the principals from each school, who gave their own reports. Everyone echoed the same thought- “they are excited to be back in school and enjoy the opportunities to learn and grow.” The faculty all love the extra day, allowing everyone to work and collaborate with other teachers and faculty members. The additional work day helps build stronger relationships, making everyone happier. The board was pleased to hear the reports.

Henry brought the last item on the agenda, Career Ladder. Under this voluntary program, teachers can earn additional money, half from the state and half from the school they work for,  by working outside the classroom. In the past, this has included after-school clubs and tutoring. Missouri removed the program in 2010, but it has recently been brought back, albeit with some additional strings attached. 

Henry had sent out a survey to all the certified teachers to gain feedback and interest. The results were inconclusive as most seem hesitant due to several unknown factors such as how long will the program last and how much time can the teacher give. 

Henry opened the topic up to board members to discuss what should be done. It boiled down to whether Marshfield should participate in the Career Ladder, and if so, should the board put restrictions or not on what they want the teachers to do? Board members and the school principals all weighed in on the topic. They ultimately decided that Marshfield will participate in Career Ladder but will have an action plan laid out next meeting. 

With all of this completed, the board checked the schedule for the next meetings. The board will gather again Thursday, Oct 20, and then on Nov 17, both starting at 6:45 pm. 

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