New Purdy Performing Arts Center deemed a hit

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

School board hires assistant coach, approves retirements

The Purdy school board recently heard positive reports about the new storm shelter/performing arts center and took action on staffing.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor reported the elementary school Christmas program, the first event in the new performing arts center, prompted “tons of good feedback.” Sound and lighting proved adequate, though microphones offered some early challenges. The stadium seating offered a better view than the elementary gym.

The public, he noted, hadn’t figured out the availability of parking around the Project Genesis park, as many struggled to find a closer spot. Chancellor thought over time those questions would resolve themselves.

With the new building open and the vocal music classroom at the high school about to move, Chancellor took board members on a tour after the meeting to consider options for three classrooms now available for other uses.

Board members approved two early retirement announcements. Leaving at the end of the year will be Cheryl Ulmer, Title 1 reading instructor, and English language learning teacher Edith Thompson, who had been with the district her whole teaching career, since 2003.

Jordan Jack was hired as the new assistant boys basketball coach, approved as a hardship case for the district because Coach Ryan Stokes signed on after the beginning of the school year. Jack, a postal carrier, is not a Purdy staff member, but a former student of Stokes. The state approved his hire after a 30-day search for other candidates.

Noel Harmon was hired to succeed Anne-Marie Erwin as district bookkeeper. Greg Bennett was hired as a new custodian, needed to help with the new building.

The board approved renewing property insurance through the Missouri United School Insurance Council (MUSIC). Cost dropped from the previous year. Chancellor noted that for the first time this year, a cyber protection policy became available as part of the base coverage. Board members opted to buy the $5 million umbrella for the second year, raising the premium price to approximately $4,000.

At Chancellor’s recommendation, the board also approved the annual audit. Chancellor described it as “a pretty clean report,” predictably citing shortcomings in the division of duties between staff, which he called unavoidable in a district as small as Purdy’s. He noted auditors found “nothing out of the ordinary.”

Associate Super-intendent Mindi Gates reported preliminary raw scores from last spring’s Missouri Achievement Program (MAP) tests had arrived from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Staff would begin digging into them after the break. Annual Yearly Performance assessment for the district would not become available until February.

On Jan. 8, Gates said Jennifer Schiffman from the Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force would talk to students from third grade through high school. A public session was planned with parents that evening. The district would offer childcare that evening to promote attendance.

On Jan. 21, the last scheduled staff inservice training day scheduled, Eric Schroeder from the Springfield Police Department would address staff on different ways to respond to an active shooter. In the afternoon faculty planned to collaborate by sharing what they use in technology with fellow teachers.

Classes would remain on break in Purdy until Jan. 7.

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