The following are highlights from last Thursday’s school board meeting:
- Brian Zawodny, Principal of Mulberry Elementary, shared that every year, their third graders complete a civic project to support a charitable endeavor. This year, they learned a sibling of a Mulberry student was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer that needed to be treated at a medical center in Philadelphia. They focused their fundraising efforts on helping the family offset travel and medical expenses, raising almost $8,000 through a variety of efforts. The best news is the child is responding to treatment and, while he has a long way to go, should beat the cancer.
- For the second year, Milford’s Teaching Professions students participated in the National Future Educators Association Conference. A number of our students won prizes in the top three and received distinction awards. This was a huge achievement for our students and the program – congrats to all of them!
- The district budget is on track, with expenses in line with expectations. A full report will be presented next month. Revenue is up because of an adjustment to last year’s state funding formula (+$162k), new Special Education Preschool funding (+$300k), and the tax levy collections coming in higher than expected for the first half of the year.
- Food Service is an Enterprise Fund which operates within its own budget, separate from the General Fund. The goal is for it to support itself with no additional cash from the district. Our Food Service program not only serves Milford students, but also seven other districts. This year, every single one of the accounts is in the black! This allows Food Service to keep Milford’s food prices as low as possible, as well as to give back to the district by supporting other efforts.
- Following last month’s highly successful community meeting on the New Standards and Common Core, Dr. Jill Chin & Mrs. Nancy House, Curriculum Directors, presented a lunchtime webinar follow-up on the New Standards. Fifty people registered, and 32 actually “attended” the online program. The district will look at doing more programs like this, as well as short videos and other communications pieces, on the standards and other topics.
- With the new standards and requirements for teacher evaluation that have come from the state, our students have experienced a tremendous amount of testing this year. Our Curriculum Directors, Principals and Dr. Farrell are looking at the tests our students have been taking this year. Many of these tests are required by the state, either for student or teacher assessment. However, they will examine how many tests are being given and which are not necessary, then compare that to what students can gain from the tests. They will present a report probably at the next board meeting.
- The new elementary school construction project is moving along well. We are currently in the design phase, with a committee working on every aspect of design, from floor plans to technology to mechanical/electrical/plumbing. The two buildings, Seipelt & Boyd, will have the same footprint. They will be two-story buldings with K-3 on the first floor and 4-6 on the second. The building will showcase the academic areas with the art area near the front entrance providing a nice diplay area for student work, and an open media center with classrooms around it. Natural light will be maximized in all rooms. The gymnasium in the two new buildings will be a “middle school-sized” gym at about 4,400 square feet. The gyms in the other four elementaries are full-sized gyms at 4,800 square feet, which is about 10’ longer than the proposed gyms. The gyms in the current Seipelt & Boyd are appr. 4,000 square feet.
- Student fees at all grades were approved. Fees are examined every year for every grade and every class, and they cover actual out-of-pocket expenses. Many fees this year went down as resources were changed.
- The new high school courses that have been developed are being very well-received. The new astronomy class has 213 signed up; the three new theater courses have over 250; and 81 freshmen & sophomores are interested in the College & Career Readiness classes. The Personal Fitness gym classes, which are not new this year, have been adapted to offer single-sex options for those students who prefer this. Eighty-one have signed up for the co-ed class, and 31 boys for the boys-only class; but 143 girls have signed up for the girls-only class, clearly indicating this option is appealing to female students.
- Milford has received a $15,000 Innovation Grant from 3M for science equipment. Thank you, 3M!