MONTGOMERY — The plan to send students back to school in August was a big part of the discussion during Tuesday night’s Barr-Reeve Community Schools board meeting.
“The state asked schools to put together another COVID plan. There’s a lot more information out there now than what we had last year. We have a year’s worth of data on what worked and what didn’t now,” said Barr-Reeve Superintendent Dr. Travis Madison. “This is just our initial plan and as more guidance comes from the state, there could be some changes.”
Madison said the biggest question the school community has had concerned masks.
“We are not going to require masks. If someone wants to wear a mask, that’s fine. They certainly can,” said Madison adding right now, the CDC is still looking at wearing masks while on buses. “We could still assign seats on the bus or coordinate folks by families. We will continue to clean but teachers won’t have to wipe down desks after every class period.”
The biggest thing Madison stressed is for the school corporation to continue to do whatever it needs to keep its students and staff safe.
“Nothing is going to replace being here every single day possible so we need to keep supporting our students and teachers however we can,” he said.
That support isn’t just for the academic side of things. It’s for social and emotional well-being too.
“Kids and adults have all been through a trying time over the last 18 months. We are still trying to figure out what that impact,” said Madison adding Barr-Reeve will use some of the ESSR funding received from the federal government to help address the needs. “This is not just academic. We are really wanting to dive in and see where our kids are emotionally. The funding gives us an opportunity to do something we hadn’t been able to before.”
Board members also amended the 2021-22 school calendar for the final time. Spring break will now be the last week of March — the same time as Loogootee and North Daviess.
A new evaluation rubric, better suited to rural schools superintendents, will now be used to evaluate Madison. The new evaluation still covers 21 competencies.
Employees will also see a stipend as a token of appreciation for their work during the pandemic.
“There’s no amount of money we could put on what our teachers and staff have done,” said Madison. “They have done whatever we have asked of them.”
Administrators, school nurses and certified staff will receive a $1,000 stipend when non-certified staff will earn an additional $500. The money will be paid out of the rainy day fund but some of that money we will replenished with funding received from the CARES Act.
“We just felt this would be a great gesture to our employees who have done so much for our kids,” said Madison.
Terri Holt, CTA president, said while the teachers are appreciative of the funds, she would like to thank the students for also going above and beyond and practicing flexibility during the uncertain times.
“Anything we asked of them, they did. It was amazing how well we were all able to work together,” said Holt.
Eve Knepp also received a $1,200 stipend to help cover the cost of her schooling to become the ESL coordinator.
The resignation of music teacher Leah Cochran was also accepted. Cochran plans to be on tour with he husband and fellow musician Michael Cochran.
Sierra Redman and Alex Knepp were added to the team of students helping with various tasks at the schools this summer. Krissy Gingerich. Stephanie Egan and Audrey Stoll were moved to full-time instructional assistant positions.
Driver’s education will also continue to be offered at Barr-Reeve for $350. Students can take the skills test with Jeff Doyle for an additional $30. Those teaching the program which is offered throughout the year now, are Mike DeCoursey, Jordan Guinn, Brock Higgins, Josh Thompson and Doyle as a fill-in instructor and skills test instructor. Students complete the class online before doing the behind the wheel portion.
Several coaching and extra-curricular activities sponsors were approved.
The volleyball program will be led by Amber DeCoursey with Courtney Pruett serving as the JV coach. Tyler Schultheis will be an assistant. Leah Bullock will head the freshman program and Hannah Bullock, Craig Overholt, Jennifer Madison and Hillary Fox will serve as volunteers. Abby Knepp will coach the eighth grade program with Remington Graber will take on the seventh grade. A sixth grade coach is still needed but Skylar Lindsey, Ali Gish, Danielle Knepp, Megan Raber, Mike James, Brittaney Derr, Hannah Bullock and Jasye Thompson will help with the elementary program.
Brock Higgins will again take on the boys tennis effort. Gage Knies will be the JV coach with Moriah Bullock as a program volunteer. A junior high boys coach is still needed.
Trey Showalter was named the boys cross country coach with Nate Raber as the junior high leader. Jodi Knepp will again lead head the girls program with Susie Graber at the helm of the junior high program. Conner Heller and Lynn Wagler will volunteer with the programs.
Joe Robinson will coach the girls golf team with Matt Anderson as the assistant and Kadee Claridge as a program volunteer.
Jenniger McWilliams will continue to sponsor the cheer program. She will be assisted by Rachel Anderson and Shawna Miller. Chrissy Hunt will sponsor the junior high program with Jonna Helms assisting.
Abby Warnsman will coach the dance team.
Student Council will be sponsored by Kerri Boyd while Lisa Duncheon will take on the art club. Boyd and Mike DeCoursey will work with the yearbook staff. Stephanie O’Brian will lead the pep band. Trey Showalter will sponsor the Senior Beta while Duncheon will work with Junior Beta. Amber DeCoursey will be the SADD sponsor, Jordan Guinn the Spanish Club and Joe Cummings will supervise cadets and interns.
Professional development and curriculum coaches will be Jamie Underwood and Alisha Wade.
Hannah Mattingly will serve as the high school academic team coordinator with Jessica Guinn coaching the English team, Tim Swartzentruber the math team, Mike DeCoursey the social studies team and fine arts team and Matt Anderson the science team.
Senior class sponsors are Cummings, Duncheon, Jamie Underwood and Josh Thompson.
Junior sponsors are Jule King, Boyd, Nathan Lester and Swartzentruber. Jessica Guinn will also do the Spell Bowl team.
Mattingly will also be the junior high academic coordinator. She will be assisted by Laura Craney who will work with English and science students and lead the Spell Bowl, Jamie Underwood will oversee math while Nate Raber works with social studies students.
Jordan Guinn will oversee high school quiz bowl. O’Brian will do Tri-M with Mark Holt and Albert Javanaugh will work as athletic business managers.
Gwen Graber will be the elementary spell bowl coach, Jay R Perkins the math bowl coach and Claridge the elementary cheer sponsor.
The next school board meeting will be July 20, time to be determined.