Nov. 22, 2016

Vacancy on the Board of Education
Long-time Board of Education member Dave Hunter will continue to serve people in the community, however beginning in January he will begin his term as a Madison county commissioner. Hunter's departure from the Madison-Plains Board of Education leaves an open seat for his fellow board members to fill.

Residents interested in the position who live within the school district and are registered to vote (the only requirements needed to fill the post) are encouraged to apply. Resumes must be submitted by Dec. 12.

The standing board members will review applications on Dec. 13 and begin interviewing candidates on Dec. 20. The position will be filled at the Jan. 13 board meeting.

Board members set educational goals and operational policies based on recommendations of the superintendent; they also review and approve fiscal reporting.

Serving on the board is a big commitment, but an excellent way to be involved in the district and help shape the opportunities we are able to provide students, staff and the community.

Hunter is leaving his seat after three years of his current term. The post that will be filled is a one-year appointment.

Childcare options headed to district
Madison-Plains, for the first time in five years, will offer before- and after-school student care beginning with the start of 2017-18.

The Board of Education voted this week for us to enter into a service contract with the Madison-Champaign County Educational Service Center to provide the care in the district’s buildings.

This is a very significant opportunity for families and our district. The Board recognizes offering a two-tiered bus schedule next year will have a significant impact on many of our families and the members were eager to help find a solution.

We surveyed parents as part of our effort to determine the needs of the families we serve. Almost 40 percent of those who responded said childcare in Madison-Plains would be a good solution.

The ESC will operate the program and we will provide the space. Details, including specific times and cost, will be shared as they are developed.

Our new transportation schedule increases revenue by $400,000 annually due to reimbursements from the state. This is enough to keep us off the ballot for at least another year before returning to ask taxpayers for more operating money. November 2005 was the last time the district placed a levy on the ballot for operational needs and it was approved.

I am appreciative our board members listen to the needs of our community and work to find ways to address them.

Clear expectations help pave the way
Teachers, students and parents in the district now have guidelines for late and/or missing assignments and botched tests.

The Board of Education approved at its most recent meeting a few more additions to the student handbook. These new sections outline opportunities for students to improve and give uniformity to expectations for teachers.

This outcome is the result of more than a year of hard work of a committee made up of parents, teachers and district administrators. Prior to this being approved, there were no set polices that gave guidance to the administration to provide consistent application.

The district formed a grading policy committee as a result of conversation at our monthly Madison-Plains Advisory Council meetings. It became apparent we needed to make modifications to our grading practices and 4.0-scale.

The group, headed by a curriculum director Karen Grigsby, worked together to make recommendations on letter grades (and weights) given to students in regular and advanced classes (based on 1–100 points). The committee also addressed the grading scale as a whole as applied to quarterly, semester and year-end grades. These changes were made during last school year.

The final piece of the group's work was to bring clear guidelines into play regarding: quarterly grades, reassessments, late and missing work, incomplete grades, extra credit and grade replacement. These changes will be placed in the student/parent handbook so that students, parents and teachers will all follow the same guidelines.

Thanks and giving
I would be remiss not to thank everyone in the community for their support of all we do in Madison-Plains where we strive for excellence every single day. This is a short week and we hope you enjoy the time with family and friends. With that, please share in congratulating the Elementary and Intermediate buildings for their work to supply the equivalence of more than 9,000 pounds of food to those in need. Together, they collected more than $700 to donate and are again the Madison County Wishing Well trophy recipients.
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