The facilitating team to bring a recommendation to the February board meeting.
By ARIANA R. CHERRY
The principals from the ALAH District were dismissed from having to attend the most recent meeting of the school board that took place on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. “I appreciate the board’s understanding about giving our administrators an excuse for the evening… They have been really busy lately,” commented Superintendent Shannon Cheek.
Recently, the district has been responsible for having to do their own contact tracing with COVID19 cases since the health department is no longer doing them, and after returning from Christmas break, the schools experienced a surge in cases. Many of the district’s teachers, principals and other staff have been finding themselves doing multiple duties throughout the day as there have been absences either because of positive COVID19 cases, quarantines, or other seasonal illnesses, etc.
Cheek also informed the board that nothing had changed when it came to transportation funds during the Treasurer’s Report. “One payment was received from last fiscal year, one from this year and one is in the queue. It could be in that queue for a long time. Nothing new on that front,” he said.
Cheek also reported that there would be some new changes coming to the high school gym that included a new sound system that had blue-tooth capabilities, new microphones and new pads. “Nathan has also been busy making sure that all of the new banners have been getting put up,” he informed.
An update was presented on the latest facilities planning from the U-Knight 305 (a community lead master planning program tasked with identifying the current and future goals, aspirations and facility needs of the Arthur CUSD #305 School District.). “It has been pretty exciting. We are to the end of the process. We hosted a total of three engagement sessions and had about 30-40 participants that showed up. Our final meeting was held on January 12 where there were two scenarios presented, although we have not received the results yet,” stated Cheek. The first scenario labeled: “5a 6-12” is estimated at a cost of $30 million dollars. It includes changes to the kitchen area, stem lab area and fitness/weight room. There are also plans for a new competitive gymnasium at the Arthur Elementary School. There are upgrades to the Lovington Grade School which include a secured entry renovation and addition to stem labs. For the Atwood-Hammond Grade School, there are also plans for upgrades to the library/media center, stem lab and an addition to a secured entry and administrative area. “The gym space (Arthur Grade School) was something that came up over and over again in the community,” commented Cheek.
The second scenario (labeled 5C- Phase 1 H.S. Addition) has an added cost at $30.6 million dollars. It includes a new addition to the high school. It includes similar updates as listed in the first scenario, along with an addition of an elevator, learning space remodels and updates to the media/library center. The facilitating team will bring the board a recommendation at the February board meeting. The scenarios information and suggested development ideas can be seen on the U-Knight 305 website at https://sites.google.com/bldd.com/u-knight305/home.
After speaking about the new possibilities to come with the facilities planning committee, Shannon went on to speak about recent COVID19 updates in the district. “It’s been an incredible effort for our teachers, our aids, our janitors, and all administrative staff. One day we had a teacher at the Lovington Grade School that was teaching fourth and fifth grade at the same time and they had been combined,” he commented. Cheek went on. “Our high school was hit pretty hard. It has a lot of mobility and movement going on and isn’t as separated. This past Tuesday was pretty hectic in our buildings. It was a day that a significant number of our students were returning to class and they all had to be tested in order to return. We did about 87 tests that day. We were able to catch a few positives and keep the spread down,” he informed the board. As of Friday, January 14 in the school district, there were 223 students in quarantine and 73 positive cases. There were some lingering positives during testing protocols. The district continues to utilize the recommended mitigating strategies and measures that are suggested. “Everybody in our district is willing to put their time in. I am hoping these numbers are going to start trending differently – I am relatively confident that we are going to trend in a different direction,” Cheek commented.
January 19, 2022
Accept the letter of resignation of Mrs. Jill Wulf effective at the end of the 2021-2022 school year
Accept the letter of resignation of Mrs. Amber Crothers effective at the end of the 2021-2022 term
Recommend for hire, Mikayla Graham as a pre K aide at AHGS.
Accept the letter of resignation of Mrs. Dana Tinkle as the Assistant High School Softball Coach