Weekly Update 3-18-16

Wright City R-II School District

Hello Wildcat Nation!

What a wonderful week! 4 day next week followed by some family time or adventure time for kids and staff alike. Or, like me, to do list time!

Either way, it reminds me of a recent book I read...The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The author is a Harvard professor who has done years of research on the positive affects that happiness, gratitude and optimism have on our lives. He writes, "Consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely."

My hope for you and yours is that you find ways to show your gratitude to your students and peers over this next week and with your family and friends over the break.


  1. How many pounds are in a stone (units of measurements)?
  2. In what decade did Alexander Bell make the first telephone?
  3. How many strings are their on a standard acoustic guitar?
  4. Where in the body is the lacrimal bone?
  5. How old is Taylor Swift?
  6. How many Crocodile Dundee films were made?

Board Meeting

The BOE was on March 17th at 6 p.m. Here is what happened:

  • Call to Order and Roll Call of Members
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Approval and Adoption of the Agenda
  • MSBA Board Meeting Review
  • Recognition of Wright City PD for the commitment to our school community and to Mary Ann Barton for her work in book donations to our elementary
  • Public Comments - we had 4 regarding 3 agenda topics. All 4 did a very nice job of expressing their points of view in a cordial and respectful manner and within the confines of board policy.
  • West Elementary School Presentation - Amy Rinearson did a great job walking the board through choice driven instruction and showed some very fine art. Dawn Day recognized Mr. and Mrs. Reckamp for their many years of hosting the 4th grade field trip.
  • April 6th events (the HS assembly with business and the Parent Info Night on Drug Awareness) - information
  • PAWS reports
  • Teacher of the Year Nominees were all present and recognized. Kudos to:

PK -- Arilla Harmon

East Elementary -- Teah Kelly

West Elementary -- Allison Barnhart

Middle School -- Micah Aaron

High School -- Sara Bessie

  • Support Staff of the Year Nominees were all present and recognized. Kudos to:

PK -- Jackie Nierman

East Elementary -- Veronica Klaus

West Elementary -- Dena Dyer

Middle School -- Kim Taylor

High School -- Tammy Jefferson

  • Transportation - The BOE discussed the parent request to allow 2 stops for their child. The BOE had a lengthy discussion and postponed action to the April BOE meeting, and have given me two items to do in the mean time. One, survey neighboring districts on practice. Two, seek legal advice on if they allow for joint custody only, is that allowable.
  • Program Evaluation: Safety program evaluation was approved.
  • Budge Amendment #2 for the 2015-16 School Year was postponed till the April BOE meeting.
  • Legislative Update - we discussed an I-70 tolling networking meeting, HB1490/Missouri Learning Standards update, 5% cap on formula growth approved by the Senate, new U.S.E.D. Secretary of Education, DESE stance on data requirement within the teacher evaluation process now that NCLB is going away, and the budget adopted.
  • First Reading of Policy GBCBC (changes the clock in / clock out for hourly from 15 minute increments to 1 minute increments) was approved.
  • Job Description for Lead Custodian was approved.
  • Travel Reimbursement for Austin Jones was approved.
  • Board Workshops on March 3rd and 9th (discussion of the OBOE Award application and the Leadership Training conducted by MSBA) were discussed.
  • MSBA Region 17 Spring Meeting was discussed. It appears to conflict with our Staff Banquet. We will look for another Region to attend.
  • Minutes were approved.
  • Bills were approved.
  • Employment was moved to Closed Session, then approved.
  • Transfer Funds from Fund 1 to Fund 2 to Cover Certified Salaries was approved.
  • Overnight FBLA Trip was approved.
  • Yearbook Contract was approved.
  • Behavior Services Contract was approved.
  • Surplus Property was approved. Those were:

3 non-working stoves

17 kitchen cabinets


1 Sanyo PLC-XL50

1 Epson EMP-822H

1 Panasonic PT - L735U

35 Infocus IN2116

  • Providence Capital Remarketing Agreement was approved.
  • Closed Session
  • Adjourn

Missouri Learning Standards

he Department has issued the following news release:


The State Board today (March 15, 2016) heard updates to the proposed Missouri Learning Standards. Since the February Board meeting, Missouri educators and the public submitted more than 600 additional comments, and Department staff members have considered that feedback for incorporation into the proposed standards.

The State Board is scheduled to take action on the proposed standards at its April meeting. The action was postponed from the March meeting to provide Board members with adequate time to review and consider the standards with the latest feedback included. Once approved, implementation of the new standards will begin in the 2016-17 school year.

“We appreciate the attention that Missourians have given to revising the standards,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Producing challenging standards designed to prepare students for post-secondary success is clearly a priority for our state.”

The Department will next develop assessments to measure student progress toward the new standards. The new assessments for English language arts and math will be administered in spring 2018.

Thank you,

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education | Communications | 573.751.3469 | dese.mo.gov

Teaching Contracts

In closed session, the BOE voted on returning non-tenured teachers as well as assistant principals. Friday, March 18th, we will be giving each building principal all the contracts for next year with a step included. We will wait till June to see if we can do more when revenue is better known.

For teachers who are tenured, you will receive a contract as well, but you are not required to return a signed copy. You have until June 1st to notify us if you are not returning without action of the BOE. The business department would love to have signed contracts back from you though, as it creates a paper trail for what step you are on in case of future year inquires regarding such.

For teachers that are non-tenured this year, your contracts are due back per the date on the contract.

Please check your contracts for any errors. Also, if you do have a change of channel request, we can issue a new contract after approval.

If you have any questions, please contact any of us in central office and we will seek to find your answers.


Konee and I attended a 3 hour webinar today. It was not conducted by DESE, although they were present. For the first time, they stated that the State Adequacy Target may exceed the budgeted amount due to the $1.5 Billion Powerball this year. That is the first time we heard that. They did not state as much. DESE's guidance is that it will be at $6,110. A $10 swing would be less than $50,000 for us if all else held constant (which it doesn't). They stated that next year, it could lower by $10 from what DESE has predicted prior to this legislative session. Win some...you lose some.

One of the presenters put together a sheet on their school district that I immediately put together for me. Here is the slide information, but with our data in it:

  • Missouri Ranks 31st in Current Spending / Pupil (2013 Census Data) Rest of this is last year data, for which I have comparisons across the state.
  • 50% of Missouri Districts spend more per Average Daily Attendance than us.
  • $9,416.91 per ADA vs. $10,173.68 state average
  • By pupil, WC spends $12,605 vs. state average of $13,474.
  • $1.2 million more/year if WC spent the state average per pupil. ($14.2 million dollar budget in FY15).
  • 71% of Missouri districts have a higher total levy than WC.
  • $3.0955 WC vs. $.0854 State
  • $2.5 million more in revenue / year if WC levied the state average.

One interesting piece for next year is in preschool enrollment. A recent law passed by Missouri legislators meant that the 2 unaccredited school districts could include their preschool enrollment in their ADA. This next year, that will include districts that are Provisionally Accredited. Two of those districts are 2 of the biggest in the state: St. Louis and Kansas City. That could increase the ADA by 10,000 students. What that means is the same pie (formula allocation) is cut up among more kids, meaning less per kid funding. That shifts dollars from 500+ districts to KC and StL (and a few others).

On the County side, I'm trying to gain some clarity for collections and with the 5 tax abatements we have / have had. Old Castle - Wright City's tax abatement is expiring. EPC is being built currently. Hopefully we can get a picture in May of what that may look like. The County, by law, doesn't have to give us the information until July 15th (and they can amend after the 15th). We have to adopt a budget by June 30th, and predict revenue in that budget. You can see the misalignment.

Here is what I do know about local collections. As far as Personal Property goes, the County Assessors office normally has 3,000 to 4,000 Personal Property sheets remain 'unreturned' at this time of the year. That is, folks who have not listed their cars, cows, etc. This year, that number is very high...over 7,000 accounts unreturned. They are printing a second notice now. With such a high volume, they are not comfortable giving any estimate at this point.

Real Estate. It is a non-reassessment year (every 2 years), so the only change that will occur is new construction. New construction residential home starts in the county, I'm told, are considerably up this year in comparison to the last 5 to 7 years. Within the Wright City limits, new home stars are pickup as well. There seems to be a field crew from the Assessors office every day in WC picking up new construction. In 2012, Warren County adopted Occupancy law for residential classification, which took effect 1/1/2013, so the Assessor office no longer adds the new construction the following year, but they prorate based on occupancy and add new construction values to the tax rolls through to the moment the Collector is ready to print the bills.

Historically, State Assessed Railroad and Utility values increase a tad each year. There is no indication that would alter going forward.

The Assessors office is hopeful that they can give us a ballpark number in mid to late May.

Next week, I hope to fill you in on the state revenue through February as well as our financial situation through the end of February.

Adaptive School Structures

I found the following notes from a session with Ned Miller from over a decade ago. I thought some of you might find them of use.

Around the Room and Back Again


Write one response to a prompt.

Next, without taking notes, move about the room and share your response, men­ tally cataloguing the responses of others.

When your head is full, or when you are signaled, return to your seat and list the responses you heard from others.

Table groups should pool responses.

Brainstorm Questions


Define the subject.

Give everyone a minute or two to think.

Invite students to call out questions.

A student records questions on a flip chart.

Categorize the questions and determine what information is necessary and how it might be gathered.


Use paired conversations for think time.

Have the work done in pairs or small groups.


Explain that generating questions can illuminate the group’s work.

Carousel Brainstorming


Post topics or questions on charts.

Cluster students into groups of three to five and have each group stand before a chart with a marker color that is different from that of other groups.

Each group calls out ideas, which are recorded on the charts.

Each group moves clockwise to the next chart, reviews what the previous group has written, and adds ideas with the colored pen with which they first recorded.

Students take a gallery walk to read all posted ideas.

Stress that brainstorming means that there is no talking about the items, but rather the groups are just to list items.

Focused Reading


Students read and mark text for purposes, such as:

Affirms prior knowledge

! Surprises you

? You wish to know more about this

Within small groups and in round-robin fashion, students explore the items they marked. Each student shares only one item at a time. Explore only items marked as ! or ?.


Change the prompts to fit the purpose of the task. Other prompts might include the following: What concerns you, what excites you, what neither concerns nor excites you.

Four-Box Synectics (A type of Forced Association)


On chart paper, draw a 2 x 2 box. Post.

A recorder at each table draws a similar box to collect the group’s thinking.

Elicit recommendations for an object or a concept to place in each of the boxes. Suggest each time that the next recommendation be as different as possible from the previous recommendation (examples: lamppost, sailboat, hammer, daisy).

Instruct table groups to brainstorm three or four responses for each box to the prompt you provide. (Example: The Declaration of Independence is like a lamppost because _____________. George Washington was like a sailboat because _____________.)

Give groups 2 minutes to select their best items and a spokesperson.

Elicit responses from the groups using a full statement such as “The Declaration of Independence is like a lamppost because ____________.”

Gots and Wants Assessment


Individuals compose “gots” on sticky notes, one idea per sticky note. A “got” might be an idea received, something learned, or a positive response to working with another student.

Individuals compose “wants” on sticky notes, one idea per sticky note. A “want” might be a comment about process (go faster or slower), a request for information, or a comment about materials.

As the class adjourns, students place their sticky notes on charts labeled as “gots” or “wants.”

Key Words (Summarizing)


In round-robin fashion, each student shares a key word that captures some impor­tant aspect of his or her learning that day.


The teacher offers a summary paraphrase at the end of the process.


Students tell why the word is important.

Many can have the same word but for different purposes.

5-3-1 (Summarizing)


Students identify five words that represent today’s learning.

Share the ideas, one at a time, in round-robin fashion. Explore the ideas as they emerge.

Select three central ideas.

If these three ideas were to go into a container with a label, what would that label be?


Foreshadow several steps, but do not tell the name of the strategy

7-11 Conversations (Summarizing/Paraphrasing)


Students prepare comments they would make to a friend to summarize what you learned in this class today. After composing, either mentally or on paper, students mill about the room and share their comments with others. After a few minutes, the teacher redirects the students to report some of their summaries to the full group. The teacher and the group edit for consistency and accuracy. ALTERNATIVES Summaries can be written and passed around a table for editing.


Frame this as a conversation in a convenience store needing to be brief, informal, and as a paraphrase.

Matchbook Definitions (Summarizing/Paraphrasing)


Following the introduction of a topic, groups craft a “matchbook” definition.

Like a matchbook, very few words can be used (8–12).

Groups have 5 minutes to craft and post the definition.


Use this strategy to check understanding by summarizing conclusions from dis­cussions, labs, readings, or other learnings.


March 18th:

Baseball at Borgia

Wizard of Oz Math Night at Wright City East Elementary

March 22nd:

CAT meeting at 6 p.m. The topic is tax levy phone survey and will be led by Patron Insight.

March 23rd:

Baseball vs. Owensville

March 24th:

Home HS Track Meet

MS Track @ Montgomery Co.

March 25th - April 1st. Spring Break!

Article and website of the Week

“The Futility of PLC Lite” by Rick DuFour and Douglas Reeves in Phi Delta Kappan, March 2016 (Vol. 97, #6, p. 69-71), www.kappanmagazine.org - This is a good reminder of what PLC is. It is not a decision making model, but a spotlight on guaranteed / viable curriculum, common assessments, and taking that data to action via interventions / enrichment.

Infographic on where STEM college graduates work – This data-rich display https://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/stem/stem-html/ shows the flow from college to various professions. - Just fascinating.

Trivia Answers

  1. How many pounds are in a stone (units of measurements)? 14
  2. In what decade did Alexander Bell make the first telephone? 1870s (1876)
  3. How many strings are their on a standard acoustic guitar? 6
  4. Where in the body is the lacrimal bone? Face
  5. How old is Taylor Swift? 26
  6. How many Crocodile Dundee films were made? 3