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Collaborative teacher teams for each grade are a district goal for this school year.

SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - First-graders Enrique Avila, left, Faviola Anguiano and Roman Barrera start out their first day of school with breakfast in Hayley Proctor's room at Buff Elementary, on Sept. 6.School District 509-J is off to a good start, with most classes beginning on Sept. 6, and the first late-start Monday held Sept. 11, Superintendent Ken Parshall reported at the Monday night board of director's meeting.

"It was a wonderful startup. I've visited every school and the students were prepared to learn and the staff was caring for them – nurturing children from little ones up through high school," Parshall said.

At a teacher in-service training prior to the start of school, Parshall said two areas to focus on were identified for the school year:

. Advanced Via Individual Determination – a research-based framework for instruction.

. Collaborative teacher teams. Educational trainer Janel Keating presented a workshop on ways teams of teachers can learn from and with each other, and even collaborate between schools.

For example, Parshall said all 10 first-grade teachers could collaborate on what work they would be teaching, and how they would assess progress.

He said it was based on state standards. Teachers set the units of instruction together, then teach, as opposed to teaching in isolation in their own rooms. They work on collaboration during the late-start Mondays.

To address the shortage of substitute teachers, which Parshall said was a nationwide problem, he requested the hiring of five full-time substitute teachers to work districtwide at a cost of $330,625.

Other requests included the hiring of a full-time department secretary at Jefferson County Middle School, at a cost of $46,451; and the hiring of M. Moyer Consulting, for $19,463, to do instructional coaching.

The three requests amounted to $396,539 in nonbudgeted expenditures.

During the budgeting process, the board had set aside $450,000 in a contingency fund, which the superintendent could request for unforeseen needs in the 2017-18 school year.

At the last meeting, $317,961 from the fund was used to hire two additional teachers, a half-time lead teacher, half-time counselor, and three other items.

Parshall said $132,039 was left in the contingency fund, and if added to $264,500 in potential teaching staff salary savings, it would amount to the $396,539 of his request.

He explained that staff salary savings come from balancing the number of teachers at the top of the pay scale, with beginning teachers, who have a much lower salary.

The board approved his request to use $132,039 from the contingency fund.

Under personnel, Rosalynn Jaeger was hired as a half-time lead teacher for Bridges Career and Technical High School. Finalized contracts for MHS administrators Mark Neffendorf and H.D. Weddel were approved, along with a modification to Parshall's contract.

New coaches included: Claude Smith, assistant football, Zane McCourtney assistant football, and Melinda Grote, assistant cross country, all at JCMS; Andrew Jensen, head cross country at Madras High School; Lana Leonard, head girls basketball, Andy Leonard, assistant girls basketball, Darrell Yount, head boys basketball, and Tony Cortazar, head wrestling, all at Warm Springs K-8 Academy.

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