Sunday, October 14, 2018

Classroom Temperature


Q:  There are some points in the year where it is so hot it is hard for some students to focus and learn because either the teacher has no fans in their room, the room is so humid they cannot breathe, or it is just plain hot in the room.  Is there a possibility the school could get air conditioning, or buy fans for the rooms that don’t have any fans?  I want my fellow peers to be able to learn as much as possible, especially when it counts the most.  -Student-

A: I am able to respond.
I believe that air conditioning is out of the question presently.  Currently the elementary is not designed or built to have air conditioning.   This building has provided great opportunities for the young scholars of the Stephenson Area Public School District for a number of years.  When the building was designed and built it was not designed for central air as the heating and ventilation system is based from a boiler system with hot water providing heat and air exchanging systems in individual rooms for fresh air.  There is not duct-work to run central air.  Individual air conditioning units or gang units, (rooms grouped from one unit) is not feasible at the present time.  The design for electrical service to individual or group units is not in place and would be very costly to provide.

The middle school / high school building facilities are very similar to the elementary regarding the heat and fresh air exchange.  The east end of the middle school / high school is although better suited from an electrical service standpoint. 

I believe the best option here is for the district to purchase box fans for the classrooms.  I spoke to our maintenance director today and he will begin to price box fans out for each classroom.  We want the physical environment to be as conducive to learning as possible and what we do each hour of each day in the classroom matters.


Thanks for the question and suggestion.
Kraft

Posting Board agenda and minutes


Q:  I was wondering why it takes so long for the agenda and minutes of the board meeting to be posted on the website?   -Community Member-

A: The agenda is compiled over the course of approximately a three-week period.  I have created an electronic file for Committee of the Whole Meetings and Business Meetings for each month.  Within these folders I store a document titled, “topics for the meeting”.  Throughout the month topics are added to the document as I have discussions with the administrative team, board members, MC-ISD,  Superintendents’ round table meetings, community members, parents, review legal updates, the strategic plan, financial matters and converse with the attorney.

The week before the committee of the whole meeting I begin to prepare the agenda as outlined in the Stephenson Area Public School District bylaws 0166 paragraph #1. (I am attaching a link for your review).  I frequently communicate with the Board President as the agenda is prepared.  Approximately mid to late week, a draft copy of the proposed agenda is sent to the Board President for any items the Board would like to add.  After receiving feedback from the Board President I begin to finalize the agenda and board packet.

During the month if I know there will be an item to discuss at the committee of the whole meeting I forward reading material to the board members so they have time to read, review and ask questions to me or to each other.

As outlined in bylaw 0166. I work diligently to have the agenda to the Board at least 48 hours prior to the committee of the whole meeting and 72 hours prior to the business meeting.  Working closely with my staff we make sure that when the agenda for each meeting is sent to the Board, we post a copy in the four building locations as outlined in the bylaws and than shortly after post them on line.

This is what we do regarding the posting of the minutes. 
The minutes are taken by my Administrative Assistant.  When the Administrative Assistant is not able to attend the meeting, minutes are taken by the Board Secretary.  We work to have the minutes typed in draft form within 48 hours.  The Board bylaws 0168.1 require minutes to be prepared for review in the Superintendent’s office within 8 business days.

Prior to the following business meeting, the minutes from the previous meeting(s) are distributed to the Board for their review, corrections or adjustments.  Once any corrections are made the Board approves the previous meeting(s) minutes.  As outline in bylaw 0168.0, the approved minutes are than available to the public within 5 business days.  We work diligently to have the approved minutes, signed and placed on the website and available in the Superintendent’s office well prior to the required 5 business days.

Thanks for the question
Kraft

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Elementary Building


Q: Now that grade 3-5- are one class each are you planning on moving the elementary kids (k-5) up to the high school within the next couple of years and closing Stephenson Elementary?  -Community Member-

A: This is not a simple or easy response.  It is my understanding that this topic has been discussed in our community for at least the past five years.

This is what has been discussed:

    1.     There are 9 unoccupied / available rooms at the middle school / high school.

    2.     The 2015 census showed 202 births in Menominee County.  There are five school districts in     Menominee County: Bark River, North Central, Carney, Stephenson, Menominee and Hannahville.  98 of the 202 births from the 2015 census were to current families in the Menominee School District.

     3.     I know as of today we have the following number of students in the elementary: Kindergarten 34 students, 1st grade 29 students, 2nd grade 34 students, 3rd grade 29 students, 4th grade 28 students, 5th grade 36 students 6th grade 41 students, 7th grade 43 students, 8th grade 39 students, 9th grade 56 students, 10th grade 41 students, 11th grade 31 students, 12th grade 51 students and 1 student in grade 14.

     4.     We discussed the potential of future consolidation of the two buildings (elementary and middle school / high school) into one building during the strategic planning process.  We looked at potential room utilization and potential financial savings.

     5.     The Stephenson Board of Education and I have had informal discussion regarding the consolidation of the two buildings during the past year at Committee of the Whole Meetings and during the Strategic Planning Process.

There a have not been any decisions made at this point in time but, there will be continued discussions.

Thanks for the question.
Kraft


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Weight Room


Q: Is it true that Stephenson is getting rid of the weight room?  -Parent-

A: I am able to respond.

This is NOT a true rumor.  We had three teachers approach administration this summer seeking a way to upgrade the weight room and expand the potential of the current room to a different area. 

Discussions became much more serious in late July and early August.  Through the efforts of the teaching and coaching staff with assistance from our Maintenance Director, we recently applied for a 2% grant from Hannahville Community.

If we are successful in our application, construction / renovations for a fitness center that would include free weights, machines and cardio vascular equipment could become reality in the near future.  The possible construction would begin the day after school is out for the 2018-2019 school year and potentially be completed prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

We submitted a brief drawing that was done by our architect along with the layout of the proposed interior of the fitness center; which was designed by our athletic trainer.

It is the desire of the Stephenson Board of Education and the staff of Stephenson Area Public Schools to expand and upgrade the instructional opportunities and fitness opportunities that a successful application would provide.

Thanks for the question!!

Kraft

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 Fall Student Totals


Q:  How many kids have we lost this year to Carney?  -Community Member-

A:  As of September 28, 2018 we have had three students transfer to Carney from Stephenson.  We have one student from Carney transfer to Stephenson. 

We have had 29 students transfer into Stephenson this school year and 26 students transfer out of Stephenson.

I have included a table of transfers in and transfers out of the district for your review.

Thanks for the question!!
Kraft

Student enrollment and departure information fall 2018

Location Students from
Number of Students
Location Students to
Number of Students
Wausaukee WI
2
Stephenson
2
Green Bay
1
Stephenson
1
Marinette, WI
3
Stephenson
3
North Central
5
Stephenson
5
Home school
1
Stephenson
1
Bark River`
1
Stephenson
1
Peshtigo
2
Stephenson
2
Italy
1
Stephenson
1
Menominee Virtual
1
Stephenson
1
Madison WI
2
Stephenson
2
Menominee
7
Stephenson
7
Escanaba
1
Stephenson
1
Carney
1
Stephenson
1
Florida
1
Stephenson
1
TOTAL
29

29
Stephenson
3
Carney
3
Stephenson
3
North Central
3
Stephenson
2
Marinette, WI
2
Stephenson
11
Menominee
11
Stephenson
1
Menominee Virtual
1
Stephenson
2
Home school
2
Stephenson
3
Escanaba
3
Stephenson
1
Lake Geneva, WI
1
TOTAL
26

26

Stephenson had 29 new students in fall of 2018.  Stephenson had 26 students depart for other schools.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Elementary School next year?


Q:  I was told by a parent who has a student in the Carney-Nadeau School District that they were told that Stephenson is not having an Elementary School next year.  They were told that Stephenson is only going to be grade 6-12 next year.  Is this true?  
- Community Member –


A: I am able and happy to respond to this question.
This is absolutely not true!!!!  Some people may choose to call this a bold-faced lie and they would be accurate.  I have no idea who starts these rumors or where they come from, but Stephenson Area Public Schools will have Pre-School through Grade 12 next year and in the foreseeable future.  My initial review of the student achievement data that was just released by the Michigan Department of Education continues to show overall growth.  We continue to be a leader from a student achievement perspective in the region.  Someone needs to help me understand why the Stephenson Board of Education would even think of eliminating its elementary programs when the Stephenson Elementary State Report Card was the highest in the region.  The Stephenson Elementary report card grade determined by the State of Michigan was 91.7%.  (I refuse to compare the Stephenson Elementary to other elementary schools in the region while writing this response, but you can log on to MI School Data and find achievement data for ALL elementary schools in the state of Michigan).

Our audit is not officially complete, but the unofficial results indicate that we will add in excess of $175,000.00 to the general fund balance from the 2017-2018 school year.  The plan is to use this excess revenue from 2017-2018 to purchase the two new buses that are currently ordered and not ask our local taxpayers to purchase these needs.  During the 2017-2018 school year, the Stephenson Board of Education approved the purchase of new Chromebook computers for EVERY classroom at the Stephenson Elementary and new teacher laptops for ALL teachers in the Stephenson Area Public School District.  We have very high expectations for our students and staff in Stephenson.  We believe our students are worth every ounce of effort we exert each day.

The vast majority of the Stephenson Area Public School teachers just completed five professional development days of teacher training in preparation for the 2018-2019 school year and a commitment to professional development well into the future.   Stephenson Area Public Schools continues its commitment to Literacy and Numeracy for ALL students.  This commitment is further demonstrated by assigning two specialists in the elementary to focus on English Language Arts and Mathematics even though our test scores and report card grade are the highest in the region.  We just completed a summer school program where we had teachers and paraprofessionals make home visits to encourage summer reading.  We also had our elementary computer lab opened during the week and had literacy groups in grades 1 and 2.

We have 43 high school students currently enrolled in five different vocational programs this fall under the leadership of vocationally certified instructors.  Our participation in dual enrollment college courses continues to be strong.  We are committed to the development of ALL students to the best of their abilities. 

We continue to share services with the neighboring districts that are interested and willing to work with us to provide the best opportunities for ALL students to chase their dreams and attain their goals.  We believe the economic strength and potential growth of this region today and for future generations starts in our elementary school.  We are committed to a Pre-K through grade 12 program.  We are not going anywhere.  Our desire is to be the leader.

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.
Kraft



Monday, August 13, 2018

Superintendent Contract


Q:  Why isn’t the Superintendent’s contract in the transparency report on your website when it is required by law?  -Community Member-


A: I am able to respond to the question.
The Superintendents contract is NOT automatically required to be on the Transparency Report.  Any administrative or other employee contract, that the salary exceeds $100,000.00 is required to be placed on the Transparency Report.  The requirement is not just for Superintendents nor does the requirement require every Superintendents contract in the State of Michigan to be placed on the Transparency Report. 

Currently the Superintendents contract for Stephenson Area Public Schools under the section of compensation is as follows:

5.      COMPENSATION – reads – “The Board of Education shall pay the Administrator an annual salary of not less than $350.00 per work day X (times) a maximum of 208 scheduled work days or an annual salary of $72, 800 for 208 days of scheduled work”. 

It is the goal of the current Superintendent and Board of Education to continue to reduce the number of days that the Superintendent of Schools works.  The end goal is to eventually have the Superintendent be a true part time employee working between 140 and 180 work days per year.  As student enrollment continues to decline, the current Board and Superintendent desire that the majority of administrative time should be allotted at the building level dealing directly with students and teachers thus putting as many dollars as close to students and teachers as possible.  With two relatively new building administrators at Stephenson Area Public Schools, there will need to be significant time spend during the 2018-2019 school year, mentoring and coaching these talented individuals to assure they have their professional needs met.

It is the goal of the current Superintendent and Board of Education to continue to reduce the Superintendents work days throughout the length of the current contract.  This should be attainable as the current building administrators gain experience and as systems continue to be put in place and fine-tuned, allowing the district to become more efficient while complying with the law.
If student enrollment continues to decline, (as per the data provided by recent censuses) Stephenson most likely will look to share a future Superintendent with another local or have a split Superintendent / Principal position in the future.

Thanks for the question.

Kraft