Work on a box culvert replacement project on South Adams Street should be completed sometime this week, according to Lexington City Manager Joe Pepplitsch. He told the Lexington City Council at their regular meeting Dec. 12 that good weather had allowed VanKirk Brothers Contracting, Inc., to make good progress. “Work is going well and they hope to have it open sometime next week, after they clean up and allow some time for the concrete to cure.”
With that report council members voted unanimously to approve an $84,064.79 pay request from VanKirk Brothers for their work on the culvert.
During the short meeting the council voted to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance 2400, which amended council salaries, on final reading. No comments had been received on the ordinance following first reading at the Nov. 28 meeting.
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the annual salary for the council president (mayor) will be $4,000 and $3,000 for each of the other council members. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and on the same day of January until 2021 the annual salary for council members and the president will increase by $100.
In other business the council will meet in regular session on Dec. 28 at noon to make appointments to boards and commissions for 2018. A council work session has been set for Jan. 6, 2018 at 8 a.m.
The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, December 18th.
Middle School Principal Brian Regelin introduced Science Teacher HaLea Messersmith who presented information on the second year of Blended Learning in the science curriculum at CMS and CHS. Messersmith and Integration Specialist Patty Wolfe have been working together on the blended learning concept beginning with the science curriculum and it may be expanded to other subject in the future.
“We blend because it allows us to work more one on one with our students, allows students to collaborate and assist in peer teaching an ownership and gives students choices on how to best learn based on their individual learning style,” explained Messersmith. “We utilize the ‘Flipped Model’, mostly in the high school where students get material outside of class and then bring it back to class with questions, the ‘Flexible Play List’ for students who prefer to self-pace and the ‘Station Rotation Model’ that works well and fits our district’s technology model.”
“The Blended Learning Model is working well as we switch our science standards and also fits well with our Marzano program,” Regelin added.
During Regelin’s administrative report he noted that the teacher in-service on January 3rd would be for MS/ HS technology. On January 19th a speaker will be presenting the Ten Action Steps to Help Students With Poverty during the all day in-service.
Regelin reported that middle school students had recently taken the Nebraska Career Connections Survey and that this program will remain in place for each student through their senior year.
“The SMASH Paper Product and Toy Drive was once again successful this year as was the Middle School Book Fair,” according to Regelin.
“Instructional Rounds have been completed for the semester and the middle school has two new students,” Regelin stated.
Technology Director Dave Evertson presented an update on the elementary device program, explaining that students in Grades 3-5 will be ‘ready to roll’ on Chromebooks with one cart available per grade level.
Evertson introduced High School English Teacher Woody Blackmore and student Jade Buss who provided an informational presentation on the usage of Google Classroom and Actively Learn in his classroom.
“There are so many advantages to these two instructional tools,” Blackmore explained. Blackmore can get on Google Classroom at any time and see who is working on their homework and check progress.
Elementary Principal Dale Henderson reported that the 5th Grade Honor Choir, directed by Music Teacher Erica Wieseler has been busy with performances.
“We have started ‘Mindset Monday’s in the elementary this year with a 5th grade student leading the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a staff member making a positive announcement to begin each week,” Henderson said. “We have given out numerous character award yard signs to students with all of these being well-deserved.”
CEEC Director Jill Beckenhauer reported that the scores from the state evaluations were very good. “We are well above the state average in all categories except for hand washing, and we’ve devised a plan to improve in that area,’ Beckenhauer noted.
Beckenhauer commended Tricia Regelin and Brianda Prado for all that they do for our preschool program.
High School Principal Bill Beckenhauer reported that his days have been busy doing evaluations for the nine non-tenured staff. “Each non-tenured staff member needs to be evaluated six times with their summative evaluation completed in March or April,” Beckenhauer said.
“I also walk through each classroom twice per month and have been meeting with Guidance Counselor Bruce Hird and Assistant Principal/Activities Director Jordan Cudney and staff members for academic outreach for our at-risk students,” Beckenhauer stated.
Beckenhauer noted that the Speech Team has begun their season and were successful at their home invite on December 16th.
Superintendent Joel Applegate told members of the board that the administrators want to show them what is going on in their classrooms with presentations like they had tonight from Messersmith, Blackmore and Buss.
Applegate reported that the quarterly Lunch Advisory Board had met and that the goal of less chicken meals was achieved during the month of December. The advisory board and IPAA! Food Service also discussed a possible ‘2nd Chance Breakfast, ‘Grab & Go Lunches’ and more pasta meals for athletes. They will meet in February.
The Consent Agenda was approved as presented.
Under Action Items, the resignation of High School Art Teacher Kent Ross at the end of the 2017-2018 was accepted with thanks from the board members. Ross will be completing his 13th year in Cozad, his 42nd overall.
The request for a donation to OpenSky was denied, as board members did not want to donate taxpayer’s money.
Superintendent Applegate provided an update on the HVAC/Locker Room projects and reported that Engineer Ed Kucirek, from Ralston would be coming to take photos of the present electric and gas lines in the locker room.
“Whoever gets the bid should do it based on the mechanical drawings but also needs to utilize the photos,” Applegate explained.
January bids are sought for the locker and boiler rooms. Applegate hopes that work will begin in May and be completed by October for the boiler room renovations.
The district will be receiving a bid from Weathercraft after inspecting the high school roof. Earlier this school year there was some leakage and damage on the high school roof. Applegate suggested that it might be prudent to complete the needed high school roof repairs and then complete roof inspections at CEEC, Cozad Elementary and Cozad Middle School in the future.
The board entered Closed Session for evaluation of Superintendent Applegate. They then returned to Open Session and shared the results with Superintendent Applegate. Renewal of his contract will be discussed in February.
The next regular meeting for the Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, January 15, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.