The Abilene School Board of Education heard the first read of USD 435 2020-2025 Strategic Plan at its May meeting from Assistant Superintendent Chris Cooper.
Cooper gave a brief review of how the plan was originated. The Plan has five Strategic Pillars being Student Development, Facilities and Technology, Community Engagement, Learning Partnerships and Professional Learning and Staff.
• Student Development – Continuous improvement of student learning and productivity to prepare them to excel in an ever-changing world. The child is valued as an integral part of the community. Instill the benefits of life.
• Facilities and Technology – Become technologically literate to leverage and use tools appropriately to compete in job markets. Keep all facilities updated for maximum learning environment. Develop and utilize facilities to ensure high academic, social-emotional and behavioral expectations can be met.
• Community Engagement – Create community support through involvement in schools to help each child. Develop community partnerships through relationships and sharing of resources. Maintain and demonstrate mutual respect and self-worth.
• Learning Partnerships – Expose students to broader opportunities and accelerate them into the work force or higher education.
• Professional Learning and Staff – Keep staff passionate about instruction to develop a positive and challenging learning environment. Provide high-quality evidence based professional learning. Ensure excellent staff through continued growth, collaborative planning and competitive benefits.
The board also heard from Superintendent Greg Brown about two pass-through grants from the Community Foundation of Dickinson County.
One was a $5000 grant for Summer Science Academy. The Summer Science Academy is subject to COVID-19 prevention restrictions, but is currently scheduled to run from June 29 to July 2 for first and second graders. Other age groups through sixth grade are scheduled in the weeks following.
A second pass through grant in the amount of $3,948.25 was received to cover the debts owed by members of the Class of 2020. Brown recognized the Donald and Edwina Anderson Fund, the Holm Foundation Fund, the Sarah and Jeremy Hoffman Educational Trust Endowment and the Walter and Virginia Hoffman Charitable Giving Fund as donors for this grant.
Board President Kyle Becker accepted the grants on behalf of District 435 and thanked each of them for their continued generosity. Brown and Becker both expressed gratitude to the Community Foundation of Dickinson County for being a wonderful reflection of the selfless folks who generously support our school system and the community at large.
During a special meeting on Friday, May 15, the board heard from AHS principal Ben Smith with an update for graduation. Smith indicated that it is believed that the Class of 2020 will be able to have the traditional amount of allotted seats per student during the ceremony. Smith said visualizing plans within the gym should allow for that number of people while maintaining social distancing restrictions.
The board also approved two resolutions for funding of the Cowboy Stadium renovations that enables Brown to work with Government Capital for funding.
In personnel action during the two meetings, the board accepted resignations from Kiley Crider, AMS 7th grade girls basketball assistant coach; Madeline Reynolds, K-3 art teacher; Jamie Marshall, DDE lunchroom supervisor; Tyler Bryson, AMS 7th grade girls basketball head coach; and Steve Freed, AMS head custodian.
The board approved the employment of Vicky Gill, transfer sub to AHS food service salad Bar; Tearney McGivney, Hannah Willey and Zoe Cooper as members of the summer paint crew; Jeff Austin as AMS assistant cross county coach; Dallas Meneley as AMS 6th grade science teacher; Allison Buechman, transfer from DDE Media Center to AHS secretary and Erik Graefe as AHS boys head basketball coach.