KND board receives state grant funding

BRETHREN — Grants have become a vital part of the the educational process, and on Monday evening the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education members received the news from superintendent Marlen Cordes about state grant funds coming to their district.

Members of the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education take action to approve the Video Surveillance agreement at Monday's meeting. The agreement will allow law enforcement to access their camera video in the event of an active situation in the school.

Members of the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education take action to approve the Video Surveillance agreement at Monday’s meeting. The agreement will allow law enforcement to access their camera video in the event of an active situation in the school.

One of those included a letter from Michigan interim state superintendent Sheila Alles notifying the KND district of an early literacy grant. Third grade reading has become a priority for all school districts following recent legislation.

“I am pleased to inform you that the Kaleva Norman Dickson School Distirct has been awarded an initial grant of $4,824.33 for the Acceptable Assessment Tools for Early Literacy Grant,” wrote Alles.

Funding for this grant was authorized Section 104d of the School Aid Act P.A. 265 of 2018.

“This grant has been awarded to reimburse districts on a per-pupil basis for students to whom the assessment was administered to for the cost of a computer-adaptive test, diagnostic tool, screening tool or benchmark assessment that is on the Michigan Department of Education approved tools list,” said Alles.

That tool must be used to monitor the development of literacy and reading skills of pupils in grades K-3. The benchmark assessment must be used to monitor the development of literacy and reading skills in grades K-8.

Alles also delivered the good news that KND has also received from the MDE an Instructional Time and Interventions Grant for $7,142.58.

KND superintendent Marlen Cordes also informed the board that the Michigan Department of Education Summer Food Service Program recently conducted an administrative review of the KND Summer Food Service Program.

This is standard procedure and no findings were identified when the MDE did the site review and none were identified in the audits. Twenty five areas in the food service program were looked at in the audit and only one small issue of needing to submit a procedure that outlines the steps that the school will take when the meal patterns are always the same was requested.

Cordes also brought to the board a recommendation from The Thrun Law Firm P.C. which serves as the KND legal  representative and they presented an updated policy for the board to consider on teacher reduction and recall. The update resulted from a recent lawsuit that took place in the Southfield Public Schools.

In that case the school district consolidated its two high schools and its teachers interviewed to obtain positions at the newly consolidated school. Staffing reductions were then based the scores the teachers received in those interviews and not the teachers’ effectiveness ratings.

A lawsuit was brought by the teachers  in the Southfield School District saying their teacher effectiveness ratings should have been used and the court agreed with their position on the matter resulting in the policy change from Thrun.

The new policy states: “Once a teacher earns a rating, the school district ought not to deprive the teacher of its benefits by disregarding it when making staffing decisions, changing the hiring rules contrary to the Revised School Code, without prior notice and opportunity to be heard.”

The board approved the measure on a 7-0 vote.

A similar vote approved the Video Surveillance Agreement that was brought together by the Manistee Intermediate School District. Under that agreement it will grant law enforcement access to the school district’s video feeds in their building.

“This is a result of our school safety committee that we formed with the state, city, county, tribal police and school districts,” said Cordes. “We discussed a number of options we can do to make our schools safer and one of the things is in a worst case scenario they are not going to be familiar with our facility.”

In the event such of an incident it would allow law enforcement to tie into the the school’s camera system during emergency situations.

“We have to bring this agreement because there is student images on that video and they often don’t have permission to view those images,” said Cordes. “So the ISD contacted Thrun who created this document to allow 9-1-1 and law enforcement access to view the video from the cameras.”

The board approved the request on a 7-0 vote.

Principal Jakob Veith also reported to the board on several topics in his monthly report.

“Earlier tonight we had an excellent holiday band concert,” said Veith. “When you hear that progression from fifth grade all the way up it is just incredible with the improvements that they make. The band also did great in the Sleighbell Parade.”

Veith also reported that at 6 p.m. on Dec. 18 they will be holding the elementary holiday sing for the students at the school. The K-5 grade students will be performing music and the sixth grade will be there ushers.

“It is always a great event with a packed house and the doors will open at 5:45 p.m.,” said Veith.

Board members also heard that the Parent Teacher Organization will once again be sponsoring a trip for the kids and this year they will be going to the Vogue Theatre to watch a movie on Dec. 18 and 19.

The National Honor Society is also going to be doing something different with the Giving Tree this year.They are including Homward Bound Animal Shelter this year.

Veith also told the board that the winter break is rapidly approaching.

“December 20 will be the last day and we will be coming back on January 2,” said Veith. “Often we return on January 3, but not this year. Both the last and first day will be full days of school.”

 

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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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