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Clarinda School District applies for CARES Act grant
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Clarinda School District applies for CARES Act grant

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The Clarinda School District is seeking funds that would be used to enhance education-related resources for students and staff members.

During a meeting Sept. 9, district directors approved an application for a $11,005 grant from the CARES Act relief program.

The money, if obtained, would be utilized in four categories -- staff self-care; student empowerment and culture; “E-Learning”; and student support/self-care.

Those areas were selected after discussions among counselors and other personnel about identified needs, said Superintendent Chris Bergman.

She added that input was also received from “seniors, who gave me some really great feedback.”

For staff self-care, the funds would be utilized to hire an instructor for yoga classes. Through a previous grant, the district purchased mats, sound equipment and supplies as part of an effort to encourage yoga practices.

With the new grant money, 40 classes could be scheduled -- three times a week from mid-September to mid-December.

Regarding student empowerment, the district has already begun implementing various aspects of the “Leader in Me” program, which seeks to boost social-emotional learning.

Another class, called “Leadership,” has been added at the junior high level, but there was no budgeting for supplies or planning for curriculum.

The grant funds would be used to purchase a book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers,” by Stephen Covey, on which daily lessons and discussions would be based. Books are available in both electronic and print formats.

Aspects of “E-Learning” are related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, since the district has been developing procedures to serve students through “remote” learning.

One way this is being done is with the use of equipment called a “Swivl,” which allows a teacher to move about a classroom while the person is tracked so that a student watching from home can see what is occurring in the room.

Money from the grant would go toward purchasing four more Swivls, plus stands and iPads for each.

Last year, “break rooms” were created in the high school for students who needed time and a space to work on self-regulation and other behavioral issues.

District officials have determined that such a room would similarly benefit junior high students.

Space is available, but it requires the addition of seating, lighting, decorative accents, and tables and chairs. The grant money would be used to acquire those items.

In other matters at the Sept. 9 meeting, directors approved Bergman’s selection as a member of the 2020-2021 class for Leadership Iowa.

Each year, 40 individuals from across the state are chosen for the program, which focuses on a range of issues, such as agriculture, education, government, health care, economic development, advances in manufacturing and workforce improvement.

From October through June, Bergman will join other participants for two-day sessions in different communities to discuss topics and gain perspectives outside their particular areas of expertise.

Saying she “appreciates the support” demonstrated by the directors in approving her selection, Bergman said she believed her experience with the program will translate into beneficial partnerships the district can establish with local entities.

Also at the Sept. 9 meeting, directors approved contracts with Lexy Davies to serve as the Home School Assistance (HSA) teacher for the 2020-2021 term.

At present, there are 24 students enrolled in the Competent Private Instruction (CPI) program. These students inform the district about the curriculum they are being taught, and are eligible for dual enrollment, which allows them to attend classes, participate in field trips, use the library and take part in school activities.

Nineteen of the CPI students have indicated they are interested in the HSA program, through which a teacher oversees their academic work -- 15 hours per quarter per student. With this arrangement, the district receives some funding to pay a certified teacher to deliver the services.

Davies previously worked in the district as a special education teacher, and has also provided HSA services. She will receive $15 per hour per student, for up to 60 hours per student during the school year.

In other business, directors:

Approved paying $26,304 to 3D Construction, Inc., for replacing a concrete slab at Garfield Elementary School. During a project at the building this summer, the section was damaged by equipment used by the contractor, JR & Company. District Maintenance Supervisor Craig Hill said he planned to meet with officials of that firm to negotiate a means for them to reimburse the district for a portion of the replacement cost.

Approved a cooperative agreement with the University of Northern Iowa that will allow UNI students to be student teachers in the Clarinda district. They will also be able to participate in other educational experiences such as practicums and classroom observations.

Approved the donation of face masks from Grace Crosby and Anchor Homes.

Approved the hiring of Curtis Maassen as assistant junior high football coach.

Approved resignations of Will Bauman, junior high basketball coach; and Danni Samuelson, high school associate and cheer coach.

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