The February 16, 2023 Grain Valley school board meeting began with an update from Nicole Young, hollis + miller architects, who provided an update on plans for the new fieldhouse at Grain Valley High School. The scope of work includes a new student and activities entrance, attendance office, restroom and concessions area, weight room, fieldhouse gymnasium, batting cages, renovation to the existing gymnasium, and renovation to PE and varsity locker rooms.
As previously reported, the original plans included a second level track and seating area in the new gymnasium. This feature was removed due to budget constraints and a desire to focus on renovation of other areas.
Demolition begins summer 2023, with weight room renovations, and continue through August 2024.
Next on the agenda was the review of the district's culture & climate program evaluation. All students (grades 3-12), staff, and family members were surveyed during the month of November 2022. The strengths identified in the report included 97% of students in grades 3-5 and 92% of students in grades 6-12 believe their teachers care for them. 94% of parent/guardians reported believing adults at their child's school cares about students, and 87% believe their child's school has a great school culture. 97% of team members believe students are treated with dignity and respect by employees.
Among the challenges identified in the report, 27% of parents disagreed/strongly disagreed with the statement that the school system provides school culture and climate data and reports periodically to all stakeholders. In addition, survey data suggested students struggle with conflict resolution (36% of students in grades 3-5 and 52% of students in grades 6-12 reported students at their schools do not stop and think before doing anything when they get angry). 28% of students in grades 6-12 report students do not respect one another, and 40% of students in grades 3-5 report students are teased or picked on about their race or ethnicity, 33% on cultural background or religion, and 35% based on a disability.
In terms of educational and career goals, 23% of parents/guardians disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that their school has helped students establish educational and career goals.
The district identified several goals to address areas of concern, including developing a scope and sequence for advisory lessons in conflict resolution for all students in grades K-12. The district will also survey teachers by May 2023, with the goal of an increase in satisfaction level for the ability to address negative behavior and support provided by administration. A welcome program at each grade span (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) will be created by May 2023, and a report to all families on the outcome of culture and climate survey data will be completed spring 2023.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nick Gooch reported the district has seen a marked increase in breakfast and lunch debt, totaling approximately $19,000. Calls to parents and guardians over the previous two weeks resulted in a $1,000 decrease in the debt balance.
The Board approved four new certified positions for the 2023-24 school year: a high school special education teacher, a high school math teacher, an elementary life skills special education teacher, and a District 504 coordinator. Superintendent Brad Welle also reported that the position to be vacated by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Mulvey upon her retirement will not be filled. Instead, work will be distributed among existing Assistant Superintendents and a Director of Communications position will be added in the 2023-24 school year to coordinate the district's communications program.
Under Board Policies, board member Jeff Porter continued to raise concerns around IF-AP(1) Curriculum Development. Porter has expressed concerns that the board does not currently have a say in the composition of curriculum development committees. The superintendent currently appoints members as outlined in the administrative procedure, and once work is completed, the board receives a report. Porter is seeking a change which would give the board more say in how the committee is structured on the front end.
"I think the board should be part of that process in saying we agree that this committee is going to be a level playing field and the community is going to have some type of a voice. The board needs to approve the committee members that are part of the review of all the curriculum," Porter said.
"My recommendation would be if the board decides to take that on that that is captured in policy language rather than procedural language. The board will create a community committee, or the board will approve a committee. And then we'll probably need a separate process for what criteria the board would set for who they wanted on that committee so that the administration had more expectation of what we would be looking for," Welle said.
Porter asked about the process of drafting such language, and Welle said he could have language drafted for review if that were the will of the board. President Jared English said he was fine with language being drafted for review, but stated he had no intention of bringing it up for a vote within weeks.
"I think that it's ok to have some language drafted. I don't intend to vote on it or bring it to a vote in two weeks. I think this is something we would really need to chew on for awhile. But I am ok with having the language drafted and presented," English said.
The rest of the board voiced no support or opposition, and Welle stated he would have language drafted for review.
To view the current procedure, visit View Administrative Procedure IF-AP(1): CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT (eboardsolutions.com)
In other business, the Board approved the 2023-24 school year calendar (PDF and image file provided below). The first day of school will be August 22, 2023.