The Rock Port R-II School Board of Education held a regular meeting December 10, 2020. President Jeremy Davis called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of the elementary building. Other members present were Joanna Burke, Rich Dewhirst, Regan Griffin, Harold Lawrence, Dan Lucas, and Afton Schomburg. Others in attendance were Superintendent Ethan Sickels, Board Secretary Debbie Young, and Amy Skillen.

The agenda was adopted and the minutes of the regular meeting of November 12, 2020, were approved. Mr. Sickels reviewed the financial information for the month ending November 2020. The transfer of funds, the November final check register, the December check register to date, and the activity account checks were approved. Mr. Sickels read a thank you note from Lynn Hunter, and presented a certificate from MSBA to Regan Griffin for completing the required new board member training.

It was noted that Mr. Waigand was supervising the junior high basketball games. His report was reviewed in his absence. November attendance was 96.57% (178 students). A big shout-out to teachers and staff for the time and effort they put into the virtual school days. Thank you also to the many parents, grandparents, and daycare providers who supervised those learning opportunities. “We continue to learn and grow with each experience; however, we are thankful to be back in school for the final three weeks of the semester,” he said. The Energy Bus Rally for December will recognize students who were driving with purpose (working hard, showing great effort). This will once again be a virtual event. December’s Energy Bus Principle is “Fuel Your Ride With Positive Energy.” Positive energy is positive thoughts and emotions you think, feel, and share with others. The third grade is continuing a tradition of random acts of kindness throughout the building and community. It is a great opportunity to spread a giving spirit. The Blue Jay Shop returns for a fourth consecutive year. Students have an opportunity to shop for family members and experience the true joy of giving this holiday season. It pairs well with Principle #4 “Fuel Your Ride with Positive Energy” in that when students give to others it fuels their ride as well. Mrs. Teten was thanked for all the work she has put into organizing the event and gathering treasures throughout the year. Proceeds from the shop will support future elementary projects. Past projects funded by the Blue Jay Shop include a sensory path, elementary sign at the main entrance, water bottle filling machine, and TV displaying pictures of student projects and accomplishments throughout the year. Upcoming dates were reviewed as well as staff professional development.

It was noted that Mr. Parsons was supervising the high school basketball games. His report was reviewed in his absence. Mr. Parsons reported high school enrollment and attendance through December 4, 2020, is 94.10% (155 students). Winter season is in full swing. This December is not quite as busy as a normal one, but there are still plenty of great activities going on in and out of the classroom. Teachers have been doing an incredible job seamlessly transferring curriculum to the virtual classroom. This is especially impressive when there are several at home and the rest in the classroom. RPHS Home Activity Guidelines: masks mandatory for all guests, recommend two fans per athlete/participant, and at least six feet marked off behind benches and the scorer’s table. Recommendations will be updated as needed. The school should have more information on what 2020-2021 state testing will look like this year by the end of the month. The FFA blood drive was held December 3. A total of 60 volunteers showed up and 48 units of blood were collected. National Honor Society collected 579 pairs of shoes which were donated to Soles for Souls and Christmas wreaths were hung on classroom doors. Several upcoming dates and events were reviewed.

Mr. Sickels reviewed the monthly program evaluation reports on the district facilities maintenance plan and the library. The 2020-2021 school district calendar was presented for the first reading, and progress on the superintendent’s growth plan was reviewed. Mr. Sickels reported on the updated quarantine guideline from the Atchison County Health Department. He stated DESE has released guidance stating districts will be required to administer MAP testing and EOC exams in the spring; however, the results will not be used for the purposes of state or federal accountability. It was noted that the next TABS meeting is scheduled for December 15 at 7:15 am.

The board proceeded to address several items of new business. Action was taken to approve the 2019-2020 audit, and to approve Makenna Farmer as the district’s MSBA Future Builders Belcher Scholarship applicant. The board adjourned to executive session for personnel matters. Upon returning to open session, the board reported action was taken in closed session to approve the minutes of the executive session of November 12, 2020. Following a brief discussion of future business items the meeting was adjourned.