CASMAN Academy receives clean audit report

MANISTEE — Members of the CASMAN Academy Board of Education were informed on Monday afternoon that the school has received a clean audit for the past year.

CASMAN Academy board of education members listen to the director's report from Shelly VanVoorst at Monday's meeting.

CASMAN Academy board of education members listen to the director’s report from Shelly VanVoorst at Monday’s meeting.

Manistee County Business Cooperative finance director Kris Mauntler delivered that information to the board and gave them a short report on what was contained in the audit. The annual audit was performed by the auditing firm of Dennis, Gartland and Niegarth of Traverse City.

“The audit went well and there were no issues as it was a clean opinion,” said Mauntler.

Mauntler also pointed out that CASMAN finished with a $6,000 surplus after the audit. She said they also have a $290,000 fund balance which is exceptional.

“That was really good considering we were projecting a $20,000 deficit this year, so it is a good reflection on how well CASMAN is being run,” said Mauntler.

Board members also heard a report from CASMAN director Shelly VanVoorst on her goals for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.

VanVoorst’s first goal is to improve student achievement. This is to be accomplished by monitoring and providing specific data based on student growth on academic measures.

VanVoorst provided the board members a written report on how she plans to take the following actions to achieve that goal.

“I will report baseline data at the September board meeting including baseline data on NWEA interim assessment for science and social studies only, attendance, CASMAN complete grades and graduation progress,” reported VanVoorst. “I also will provide updates on data at November, February and June board meetings and provide updates on what strategies are being implemented to improve results.”

VanVoorst said she will also report once each fall on the district-wide state testing results.

Her second goal is to continue to work toward increasing academic growth rates. That will include working with teachers and staff to increase academic growth rates of students below proficiency standards for their grade level in reading and in math while at least maintaining the growth rates of student at or above proficiency levels.

“We plan to achieve that with using NWEA to track academic growth, continue to coach and provide professional development to staff for reading and math, observing and providing feedback for teacher instructional strategies,” said VanVoorst. “We also plan to work with teachers to analyze data regarding math and reading scores and to set improvement targets for each student.”

Other ways she plans to address that issue is to implement a system of support for interventions and additional instruction for students who are identified as needing it. Administration also plan to communicate with the board, school improvement teams, parents and the community on the progress of student achievement.

Board members were also given VanVoorst’s monthly report on a variety of items taking place at CASMAN.

One of the items she touched on was about hiring a building consultant for the CASMAN building.

“I have contacted Mark Niesen and he has agreed to act as consultant for us on our building and possible upcoming building projects,” said VanVoorst. “Mark has been to the building a couple of times and has taken pictures and done walk throughs. He is working on writing up his suggestions for a presentation to the board.”

VanVoorst told the board that they will not need to worry about having the math position filled for the rest of the school year.

“Deb Nichols has agreed to work in the math teaching position for the remainder of this school year,” said VanVoorst. “We also have an aide in the math room for small group working two days a week. We will continue to advertise online and start to heavily advertise again in the spring.”

The board also heard that science teacher Cynthia Corey is looking at and utilizing a trial of a techbook for her science classrooms which is an online textbook that is updated regularly through Discovery.com.

“This is an online platform that can be utilized in a multiple different ways including in a more traditional classroom type setting,” said VanVoorst. “We have a free trial for 90 days and will revisit it again after the Christmas break and decide how many seats we would like to purchase at that time.”

VanVoorst also told the board the breakdown of their students this year.

“We are sitting comfortably at 70 right now (budgeted for 62 students),” said VanVoorst. “Of that 70 there are 38 students from last year and four are siblings of either current of graduated students. Six were returning students who had been with us before and then went back to a different district and now returned again.  All of the other students are new to us this year.”

VanVoorst also pointed out that at the annual school Thanksgiving feast this year they had 96 pounds of turkey and 50 pounds of potatoes that were consumed by the staff and students.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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