Summer school packets set to go home with Maries R-1 students

Laura Schiermeier
Staff Writer

VIENNA — The administrators at Maries R-1 School in Vienna are hopeful that using the Summer Journey program for 2019 summer school will increase student attendance. 

In his administrative report to the school board at the R-1 board’s February meeting, Superintendent Mark Parker said they have received the Summer Journey enrollment packets and will get those out to students before the parent-teacher conferences. Summer Journey will be an open enrollment to students who attend school elsewhere as they are welcome to attend the R-1 summer school program. They will get the forms to Visitation Inter-Parish School students and Parker said if they know of students in neighboring school districts that want to attend, to pass the word to them and have them contact an R-1 administrator. He told the board they are excited to be offering this program for summer school. Another thing he likes about the program is the pre-test and post-test for summer school students grades 3-8. This is a positive as they can see what students have learned during summer school. 

Also in his administrative report, Parker said the MAP and EOC testing has been scheduled. The TSA/IRC exams for vocational, which are FACS, business and agriculture are set for March 25-29. MAP testing for students grades 3-5 is set for April 15-30, and MAP testing for grades 6-8 will be April 15 through May 3. The End of Course (EOC) testing will be done April 1-18. 

Also in his report, on a personal note, Parker thanked the board members for their support and guidance during his transition to superintendent. Also, he said thanks for extending his contract and for the constructive feedback they board members provided to him so he can improve how he does things to better serve the community and the school.

In other business at the February R-1 School Board meeting:

—The board approved the 2019-2020 school calendar. Parker presented three options to the staff and 88.1 percent of the staff chose calendar option three. This calendar was developed with the mindset that professional development (PD) days will be built into the schedule and on Professional Learning Community (PLC) Wednesdays, students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. rather than 1:53 p.m. like this year. This fits better with eighth hour class and gives more time for classes in the afternoon. The way it is now the morning classes have more time and the afternoon classes are shortened and the afternoon classes need more class work time. This option contains 167 school days containing 1,076 student instructional hours (32 extra hours). It also offers four scheduled teacher professional development days in August, October, January, and March, with the October and March professional development days held at the end of the quarter. This option also lets students off school on the Thursday and Friday of the Maries County Fair, three days at Thanksgiving, and classes begin on Jan. 7 after Christmas break with the teacher professional development on Jan. 6 rather than Jan. 27. Spring break will be five days total, there are two snow make-up days during the year and four days are added to the end of needed. School will be out on May 14.

—The board approved selling two older welders from the agriculture department because Mrs. Sara Schwartze replaced  two new ones through an enhancement grant. 

—Murray has developed an athletic handbook and asked the board members to look it over for discussion at another meeting, with possible approval in MARCH He said he wants to have a parent-player meeting before school to go over the rules so everyone is on the same page. This is the first athletic handbook Maries R-1 has had and Murray said it addressed all extracurricular activities, organizations and groups in the school district.

—In the financial report, because the meeting was held a week earlier than usual, there were no state revenues to report. Parker reported Feb. electricity expenses of $3,567.99, which is 69 percent of the three-year average cost. Total electricity expense since July is $43,108.11. 

Propane expense for February was $9,406.98 and since July total propane expense is $18,712.98, which is 50 percent of the four-year average expense. Parker said he is optimistic that propane costs will be less than the four year average cost of $30,096.84. The contract is with Lock’s Mill at $0.99 per gallon.

Parker said he and Bookkeeper Beth Hollis have been working on budget revisions before she goes for training on the new software. The district has had more expenditures this year with the preschool playground drain tiles, fence, and purchasing 28 Eagle rugs at $90 each. He said they received the $16,000 rebate from Ameren on the lighting project. He is trying to shut down the budget as most of the classroom supplies have been ordered ad most of the purchase orders are completed.