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RCAS Internet > Administration > Superintendent > SuperintendentPublicBlog
July 29 Board of Education Meeting Recap

July 30, 2014 – Rapid City Area Schools: The following is a brief recap about what happened at the July 29 Board of Education meeting.

 

Classroom on Wheels Presentation

BOE 1st Vice President Laura Schad, Rapid City Public Schools Foundation President Karen Mortimer and Indian Education Director Jr. Bettelyoun presented about the Classroom on Wheels seminar that occurred in June. Schad and Mortimer stressed what a difference this seminar made for them and the 40+ others who went to Lakota landmarks including Wind Cave, Bear Butte, Fort Robinson and others.

 

Consent Agenda Approved

All items in the consent agenda were approved by the board by a vote of 7-0. Some of those items were the Title I Focus School 1003(a) Grant, the Partnership Rapid City G. Stearns Grant, Enrollment Options and others. To view the items that were approve, click here and scroll through items 9A-V.

 

Items for Board Consideration

Item 9O - K12 Contracts and Agreements - from the Consent Agenda was moved to this section of the meeting. The item passed with a 5-2 vote. Board member Dave Davis and 2nd Vice President Matt Stephens abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest.

 

Policy/Procedure updates

Seven policies and procedures had second or third readings and were passed by the board all at once in a 7-0 vote. Click here and scroll to item 12A-G for information about each policy or procedure:

·         Education of Homeless Children

·         School Properties Disposal Procedure

·         Student Records Policy

·         Student Records Procedure

·         Student Recruitment, Access to Students and Directory Information

·         Vendor Relations

·         Facilities Procedure

To read the full agenda, click here. If you have questions about any items on the agenda, call the Superintendent’s Office at 394-4031.
Six Schools Can Now Provide FREE Meals to Every Student

July 29, 2014 – Rapid City Area Schools: Over 2,700 students at six RCAS schools will now receive free breakfast and lunch, regardless of income, beginning this fall. 

The benefit comes from a new federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP allows districts the ability to offer free breakfast and lunch to students at schools with 40-percent or more children certified as qualifying for free meals.

The following schools qualified for CEP: Horace Mann, Knollwood, General Beadle, Robbinsdale, South

Park and North Middle. Even though some schools may not have qualified on their own for CEP, such as Robbinsdale and South Park, the program allows the district to combine schools to try to meet the requirements – allowing more students to be fed. This means, no student at these schools needs money to eat at school. 

According to the United State Department of Agriculture, CEP has been available in Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan since the start of the 2011-2012 school year. Now beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, all schools nationwide can take part. 

“Rapid City Area Schools is one of the few districts in the entire state of South Dakota that will offer this service to some of our families,” said Food Service Supervisor Janelle Peterson. “We are very excited about the opportunity to provide healthy school meals to students thereby assisting with the student learning process. Families may also see some relief as they will be able to save some of their hard earned money.”

At the six schools that will now be CEP schools, last year the district served 271,405 breakfasts and

396,596 lunches for a total of 668,001 combined meals. This year, the district is shooting for a total of 700,000 meals, as more students will have the opportunity to participate. Peterson estimates CEP will save families who previously qualified for reduced-priced meals $122 per child each year and $800 per child each year for families who were paying full-price. 

Full-price breakfasts will cost $1.95 at elementary schools, $2 at middle schools, and $2.05 at high schools, a 20-cent increase from last year. Lunches will cost $2.35 for elementary schools (increase of 10

cents), $2.80 at middle schools (increase of 15 cents), and $2.90 at high schools (increase of 20 cents). These increases are necessary due to new meal pattern requirements and the rising cost of food. 

The RCAS district spends approximately $6 million on its meal program. Peterson said another benefit of CEP is that RCAS will be reimbursed for meals at a higher rate, which will hopefully keep the cost of lunches at non-CEP schools from rising in the future. 

Currently, families have to fill out a form to show they qualify for free or reduced meals. The problem is, many qualifying students do not have the completed paperwork. CEP will remove the application process at the six identified schools, thus allowing parents to know their children are being fed without having to come in and fill out the form. 

“The school meal program is not a program that is meant to only feed poor children. This program is meant to offer healthy school meals to all children. CEP allows us to do just that,” said Peterson. “Because all children receive meals at no charge, the social stigma often associated with receiving free meals is removed.”

If parents at the newly identified CEP schools have lunch money leftover in their child’s account, that money can be refunded or transferred to another child in the district. For example, a parent with a child at both Horace Mann and Central could transfer the money from Horace Mann to the child at Central. 

Even if a student does not go to a CEP school, they can still qualify for free and reduced meals if parents fill out the necessary form to see if they qualify. For more information about the process, click here. 

For more information, please contact Food Service at 394-4061. 

Topics to Watch at July 29 BOE Meeting

The following is a list of topics to watch during the July 29 Board of Education meeting. This meeting will take place in the Council Chambers of the City/School Administration Center – 300 Sixth St. – at 5:30 p.m. There are several noteworthy topics up for discussion, including a Classroom on Wheels presentation, the Gwendolyn Stearns Foundation Grant, the Title I Focus Grant, New Teacher Orientation/RCAS In-service and Policy/Procedure updates.

Classroom on Wheels Presentation
The classroom setting hit the road earlier this summer as part of the “Classroom on Wheels” seminar hosted by the RCAS Office of Indian Education and the Rapid City Public Schools Foundation.

 

On June 9-13, 18 to 20 RCAS teachers/administrators and another 18 to 20 community members traveled to important landmarks to gain a better understanding of Lakota history and culture, including Wind Cave, Bear Butte, Devils Tower and Fort Robinson. Director of Indian Education Jr. Bettelyoun, BOE 1st Vice President Laura Schad, and Rapid City Public Schools Foundation Karen Mortimer will be presenting about their experience.

 

Gwendolyn Stearns Foundation Grant (G. Stearns Grant)

The administration is recommending the board authorize Partnership Rapid City’s Cobbler 2 Cobbler program to apply for the G. Stearns Grant in the amount of $6,300. Cobbler 2 Cobbler is a mentoring program which matches freshmen with upperclassmen, focusing on the transition from middle school to Central High School, and provides these incoming students with a peer resource. This grant, if awarded, would provide funds for training within this initiative through Summer 2015.

 

For more information, click here.

 

Title I Focus School Grants 1003(a)
The administration is recommending the Board of Education authorize the submission of the Title I Focus School Grants 1003 (a) for General Beadle and Knollwood elementary schools and North Middle School (all Title I schools) in the amount of $153,625. If the schools receive the grant, the funds would go toward reading and math instruction, professional development for teachers, among other things.

 

For more information, click here.

 

New Teacher Orientation and RCAS In-Service and Professional Implementation
During the “Reports for Superintendent” section of the agenda, Dr. Tim Mitchell will be presenting about New Teacher Orientation and RCAS In-Service and Professional Implementation days for teachers.

 

The RCAS district wants to make sure new teachers are ready to go once the students are back. The Aug. 15 orientation is to help them get prepared. To view the agenda of this orientation, click here.

 

Also, new staff and returning staff, which includes others besides teachers, will have an RCAS In-service and Professional Implementation week beginning Aug. 19 to make sure they are ready for another school year. To view the agenda, click here.

 

Policy/Procedure updates
Seven RCAS policies and procedures are up for discussion this week. Click the following links for information about each possible policy or procedure change:

·         Education of Homeless Children – 3rd reading

·         Sales and Disposal of Surplus Property – 3rd reading

·         Student Records Policy – 3rd reading

·         Student Records Procedure

·         Student Recruitment, Access to Students and Directory Information – 2nd reading

·         Vendor Relations – 3rd reading

·         Facilities Procedure

 

 

To read the full agenda, click here. If you have questions about any items on the agenda, call the Superintendent’s Office at 394-4031

July 15 BOE Annual Meeting Recap

The following is a brief recap about what happened at the July 15 Board of Education Annual Meeting.

 

Consent Agenda Approved

All items in the consent agenda were approved by the board. Some of those items were Middle School Activities Coaches/Advisor Handbooks, a Memorandum of Understand between RCAS and the Black Hills Special Services Cooperation/TIE, a 2014-15 Made for Shade Grant, and many others. To see everything that was approved in this portion of the agenda, click here and scroll to Item #7 A-AA.

 

Items for Board Consideration: Annual Budget & Tax Levy Approved

The board approved an annual budget totaling more than $175 million. That budget includes WDT’s budget of more than $25.8 million. To see an abbreviated outline of the 2014-15 Annual Budget, click here. A Tax levy, which is set by the state, was also approved. As a result, taxpayers in the school district can expect a slight drop in school tax levies. To view more details about this, click here. Both items passed by a 7-0 vote.

 

Policy/Procedure updates

Six RCAS policies and procedures had their first or second reading and were passed by the board. Click the following links for information about each possible policy or procedure change:

 

·         Student Records Policy - Passed 7-0

·         Sale and Disposal of Surplus Property - Passed 7-0

·         Student Recruitment Access to Students and Directory Information - Passed 7-0

·         Vendor Relations - Passed 7-0

·         Education of Homeless Children - Passed 7-0

·         Architect-Engineer or Owner’s Representative Selection Procedure - Passed 7-0

Election of officers for 2014-15

Jim Hansen and Ed McLaughlin were sworn in for new three-year terms. There was also an election allowing reorganization of the BOE for the 2014-2015 school year. The results of the election:

·         President – Jim Hansen

·         1st Vice President – Laura Schad

·         2nd Vice President – Matt Stephens

 

BOE/District Resolutions for 2014-15 organization

Every year at this Annual Meeting, the administration recommends the approval of many resolutions as required either by the district policy or South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL). These resolutions determine administrative authority to aide in conducting the day-to-day business of the district for the 2014-2015 school year.

 

The BOE approved all 30+ resolutions. For a full list of the resolutions, click here and scroll down to item #15.

 

To read the full agenda, click here. If you have questions about any items on the agenda, call the Superintendent’s Office at 394-4031.

Topics to Watch at July 15 BOE Annual Meeting

The following is a list of topics to watch during the July 15 Board of Education Annual Meeting. This meeting will take place in the Council Chambers of the City/School Administration Center – 300 Sixth St. – at 5:30 p.m. There are several noteworthy topics up for discussion, including Middle School Activities Coaches/Advisor Handbooks, a Memorandum of Understand with Black Hills Special Services Cooperation/TIE, the Annual Budget, Policy/Procedure updates, an election of BOE officers for 2014-15, and the BOE/District Resolutions for the 2014-2015 organization.

Middle School Activities Coaches/Advisor Handbook
The administration is recommending that the board approve the revised Middle School Activities Coaches/Advisor Handbook. The Board will be asked to approve some changes that were recommended by the Middle School Activities Task Force that met throughout the 2013-2014 school year. Brian Moser, Middle School Activities Coordinator, presented the revisions to the School Board as an information item at the June 17, 2014 meeting.

Memorandum of Understand between RCAS and the Black Hills Special Services Cooperation/TIE
The administration is recommending that the board approve an MOU with BHSSC/TIE that would allow students that want a homeschool option the ability to take online classes through the Black Hills Learning Community to meet the academic requirements of homeschooling. This is the third year of this partnership and will expand the opportunity to students in grades 9-12 with special authorization from the administration for the 2014-2015 school year.

For more information, click here.

Annual Budget
The administration is recommending the board approve the 2014-15 Annual Budget. The 2014-2015 Proposed Budget was approved by the board at their meeting on May 6, 2014, and was published on May 14, 2014 in the official newspaper. A copy of the 2014-2015 Annual Budget is available on the district’s website.

To see an abbreviated outline of the 2014-15 Annual Budget, click here.

Policy/Procedure updates
Six RCAS policies and procedures are up for discussion this week. Click the following links for information about each possible policy or procedure change:

Student Records Policy
Sale and Disposal of Surplus Property
Student Recruitment Access to Students and Directory Information

Vendor Relations
Education of Homeless Children
Architect-Engineer or Owner’s Representative Selection Procedure

Election of officers for 2014-15
This meeting represents the Annual Meeting of the BOE and allows for the reorganization of the BOE for the 2014-2015 school year. Jim Hansen and Ed McLaughlin, both incumbents, will be sworn in for new three-year terms. There will be an election to name the BOE Chairperson, 1st Vice Chairperson and 2nd Vice Chairperson for the 2014-2015 school year.

BOE/District Resolutions for 2014-15 organization
Every year at this Annual Meeting, the administration recommends the approval of many resolutions as required either by the district policy or South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL). These resolutions determine administrative authority to aide in conducting the day-to-day business of the district for the 2014-2015 school year.

The district is recommending the board approve the 30+ resolutions that will be reviewed at this meeting. For a full list of the resolutions, click here and scroll down to item #15.

To read the full agenda, click here. If you have questions about any items on the agenda, call the Superintendent’s Office at 394-4031

Summer Music School Gives Young Musicians Head Start for Next School Year

Many people like to begin their day with a little peace and quiet. For George Dragoo, Stevens High School assistant director of bands, his Thursday mornings begin with young fifth graders learning to play the drums.

 

Dragoo, along with other RCAS music instructors Kandy Hastings, Lyn Alberty, Don Downs and Jerry Young, is teaching in the Rapid City Summer Music School held at Stevens High School and South Middle School. The program began following the last week of school and runs through the 4th of July. Private and group lessons for students grades 5-12 run Monday through Thursday and begin each of those days at 7:30 a.m.

 

Dragoo said having the Summer Music School, which is sponsored by the Rapid City Band Association, enables students from across the community – not just RCAS students – to get a jump start on the next school year.

 

“There’s a big difference between the students who come [to the Summer Music School] and those who don’t,” said Dragoo. “For beginners, it gives them a head start and it also gives them a reason to practice over the summer and learn their way around their instrument.”

 

Midwest Marketing recently created this RCAS video that features one student’s perspective about how music has positively influenced his life. Dragoo, who has been teaching band for 20 years, said it’s this love of music that he hopes to encourage in all of his students.

 

“The goal is really just to help students obtain a bigger love for making music,” he said. “We want them to pick up their instruments not because of a specific reason, but because of their simple love for playing it.”

RCAS Boosts Social Media Presence with Instagram, Vine

First came Twitter, followed by Facebook, and now the RCAS district is on Instagram and Vine.

 

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the district Instagram and Vine accounts will not be used to share critical information like school closures, late starts and others of that nature. Instead, these accounts are for entertainment purposes only to actively show through photos and video what’s happening at district sporting events, concerts, etc.

 

To follow us on Instagram, log in with your personal account and search our handle: @RCschools.

To follow us on Vine, log in with your personal account and search “Rapid City Area Schools”.

 

The point of the district using social media is to keep the community in the loop by sharing events and updates to create greater parent and community awareness. These tools will also allow the district to build relationships with community members by including them in important conversations about the district.

 

Please note: Photos or video revealing student identities will not be shared unless the student is participating in a public event or a parent has given the district permission to do so.

RCAS Board of Education Approves Revisions to Organizational Chart

On June 3 at a School Board meeting, the Board of Education approved revisions to the RCAS Central Administration organizational chart. With effectiveness, efficiency and cost savings in mind, departments and positions within the RCAS district have been streamlined in order to ensure the district focuses more on classrooms and the mission to have all students learning at high levels.

 

The Superintendent is responsible for keeping an administrative structure up-to-date and revisions are recommended on a regular basis. The recent revision includes organizational, line-of-authority and title changes. No salary increases were associated with the changes. The department changes are as follows:

 

·         Support Services, Business Operations, and Food Service, will be embedded under the Fiscal and Support Services Department to streamline fiscal management and ensure that each unit is maximizing efficiency and savings.

·         Special Services, Federal Programs and Grants, Indian Education and homeschool services will be embedded under Administrative Services to ensure instructional accountability, interconnection and improved communication.

 

Over the last four years through position elimination and reclassification, the district now expends approximately $200,000 less in salary dollars for Central Administration duties – money that can be redistributed to departments or schools in need. The long-term goal is to transform the Central Administration into a support system to help all schools improve the quality of teaching and learning within RCAS.

According to Superintendent Dr. Tim Mitchell, reorganization allows RCAS to accomplish two important goals at once: providing more support to schools, while also reducing costs.

“The new structure is intended to nurture better business practices and internal communication,” said Mitchell. “If the Central Administration puts conditions in place for buildings to be more effective, it then leads to principals doing the same for their teachers and staff, which is then reflected in better classroom learning.”

Topics to Watch June 17

The following is a list of topics to watch during the June 17 Board of Education meeting. This meeting will be at the City/School Administration Center – 300 Sixth St. – at 5:30 p.m. There are several noteworthy topics up for discussion: WDT Handbooks, a Business, Marketing and IT Reserve Grant, Partnership Rapid City Bush Prize Grant, Rapid City High School Biomed Perkins Reserve Grant, the SDHSAA Election Runoff and the possible RCAS policy/procedure changes.

 

Western Dakota Tech Handbooks

Each year, students, faculty, and students in select programs at WDT are given handbooks outlining campus-level policies and procedures. WDT handbooks are informational items for June 17 and will be recommended for approval by the administration.

 

To view the handbooks, refer to Item #7B on the agenda.

 

Business, Marketing and IT Reserve Grant

The administration is recommending the approval of an application by the Business, Marketing and Information Technology programs at Stevens High School and Rapid City High School for the South Dakota Office of Career and Technical Education 2014-15 Perkins Reserve Grant in the amount of $21,498. This grant would go toward software and technology purchasing.

 

For more information, click here.

 

Bush Prize for Community Innovation Grant

The administration is recommending the approval of an application for the Bush Prize Grant between RCAS and Partnership Rapid City. If the application is approved and the district is awarded the Bush Prize, 25-percent (or close to $150,000) of the Partnership Rapid City program budget for the current year would be received. This would provide enough funds to support Youth Engagement into the future, as well as provide additional flexible capital for new and existing Partnership Rapid City programs.

 

For more information, click here.

 

RCHS Biomed Perkins Reserve Grant

The administration is recommending the approval of an application by Project Lead the Way Biomed Programs and Content Science Courses at Rapid City High School for the South Dakota Office of Career and Technical Education 2014-15 Perkins Reserve Grant in the amount of $20,406. This grant would go toward technology purchasing.

 

For more information, click here.

 

SDHSAA Election Runoff

No candidate received a majority of votes cast for the Division III Representative Position or for the Large School Group Board of Education Position during the South Dakota High School Activities Association election. Therefore, a runoff election will be held between the top two vote getters in each race.

 

For the Division III Representative, candidates are Mike Lodmel, Tri-Valley High School and Linda Whitney, Sanborn Central High School. Candidates for the Large School Group Board of Education position are James Hansen, Rapid City Area Schools, and Sandy Klatt, Brandon Valley High School. The Activities Director at both Central and Stevens high schools recommend the board approve the vote for Linda Whitney for the Division III Representative and James Hansen for the Large School Group Board of Education position.

 

For more information, click here.

 

Reading of Policies/Procedures

Five RCAS policies are under review and/or will be voted on this week. Click the following links for more information about each possible policy or procedure change: Sales and Disposal of Surplus Property, Vendor Relations, Student Records, Student Records Procedure and Education of Homeless Children.

 

 

To view the June 17, 2014 BOE Agenda in its entirety, click here.
RCAS Now on Facebook

Rapid City Area Schools: Communication is key no matter the circumstance. Whether it be a crisis situation or one of everyday nature, the RCAS district wants to share what’s happening inside its schools. To do this, the district has now increased its social media presence by creating a district Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rapidcityschools.

 

“We are in the process of increasing our communication efforts and because so many parents, students and other community members log on to social media, it’s important we utilize as many outlets of communication as possible to share what’s happening within the district,” said Superintendent Dr. Timothy Mitchell. 

 

After someone decides to “like” the district on Facebook, he or she can quickly get information similar to the district Twitter page (@RCschools), such as school closure information, announcements, photos, a list of school holiday or recess days, and much more.

 

The point of the district using social media is to keep the community in the loop by sharing events and updates to create greater parent and community awareness. These tools will also allow the district to build relationships with community members by including them in important conversations about the district.

 

“The Rapid City Area School District is committed to open, honest and ongoing communication with our parents, students and community,” said Mitchell. “Everyone has their own preference – some people like Twitter, others like Facebook – and we want to be as accommodating as possible.”

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