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School Board Hears Summer Wrap Up, Looks Ahead to New School Year

Sheldon, Iowa – One of the highlights of Wednesday evening’s Sheldon School Board meeting was a presentation given by Melissa Wenthe and several of the students who recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica.

Jason Groendyke, East Elementary Principal, and Cindy Barwick, Middle School Principal, shared updates on their respective summer school programs. Groendyke said East had 42 students in summer school and stated that enrollment for the upcoming school year is up from last year, with approximately 390 students expected to attend at East this Fall.  

Barwick reported that 38 students attended summer sessions at the middle school, up from 30 students last year, and that all were able to meet the requirements to advance to their next grade. Barwick stated that she believed the increase is due to a change that has been made in the requirement of critical skills for students, who have to achieve 100% of the skills taught in most of their classes now.

A point of interest shared by Barwick concerned discipline referrals. There were a total of 167 incidents during the 2017-18 school year, but the majority were NOT taking place in the hallways between classes, as was first thought. These incidents occurred most frequently in the commons, during recess, and in classrooms. She says that after analyzing the data, they will introduce a new behavior matrix this year with the hopes of decreasing the number of disciplinary referrals.

One change from last year involves the Open Houses for both East Elementary and the Middle School. While the Open Houses have typically been held the night before school starts, this year they will take place on Tuesday, August 21st, from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, and the first day of school will be on Thursday, August 23rd. Parents may also want to note that registration for school is coming up quickly, and will be held in Sheldon on August 2nd, 6th, and 7th.

Sherrie Zeutenhorst, the High School principal, was unable to attend the meeting to share her information but did provide it for review by the Board.

Cory Myer, Sheldon’s new School District Superintendent, reported on graduation and dropout prevention rates. While dropout prevention program costs are slightly higher than last year, they ARE effective. In Iowa, the percentage of districts with graduation rates at or below 90% has dropped 5.5% from 2010 to 2017.

Three open enrollment applications for students to go from the Sheldon Community School District to the Boyden-Hull School District were approved. Also approved was the resignation of First Grade teacher Ashley Jaspers. There will be some adjusting of roles at East, and they are now in the process of seeking a Special Education teacher to fill an open position. Three contracts for Elementary Instructional Associates were also approved for the 2018-19 school year.

The Board agreed to set the dates for their meetings as the second Wednesday of each month for the 2018-19 school year, and they also approved the additions to the District Leadership Team and confirmed dates for those meetings as well.

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