MI board hears HUB presentation

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    web mi school board 1MOUNT IDA – Representatives of Arch Ford Co-op spoke to a room of approximately 50 people Monday night about the possible benefits Mount Ida might see if they choose to implement their HUB program.
    The unusual size of the crowd at the meeting was the result of rumors that the school board was going to shut down the middle school and redistribute students to the remaining campuses. That issue was never addressed as School Board President Phil Carr stated that the representatives of Arch Ford Co-op were only there to discuss the HUB program and that the school board was hearing this information for the first time as well.
    The board opened with prayer and the approval of the minutes and financial report.
    Before the HUB presentation began Superintendent Hal Landrith stated that the district was going through a period of declining enrollment. He added that the district had lost 100 students in the past 10 years and their enrollment was down 50 students in the last four years.
    He went on to share that in an effort to provide some of the benefits available at larger schools to Mount Ida students he had discovered that technology is the way to do this.
    He asked “what will school look like in 10 years?”
    He admitted that his staff and the school board was still in the deciding phase when it came to how they could best address this issue.
    He introduced Jason Burkman and Rafeal Marlow. The two men work for Arch Ford Co-op in Central Arkansas, where the HUB program originates.
    Burkman stated that declining enrollment is crucial in several schools across the state. He mentioned that one of the causes is the rise of charter schools and parents decision to home school. Recent changes in state legislation provides certification waivers to schools who have lost students to charter schools.
    Burkman stated that Mount Ida qualified for a waiver because they have lost a student to Arkansas Virtual High School.
    He stated that there Co-op has developed a school to work program that allows students to go to school half a day and receive high school credit for work or college done during the rest of the day. He added that they had been asked to present their program to other Co-ops and that locally Mena had since signed on to the program.
    He stressed that if Mount Ida chooses to join the program all of the decisions regarding the program at the school would be made locally.
    He stated that the curriculum provides options for students with individual needs and that the program is for schools looking for options. Burkman added that it is also a way to generate state categorical money.
    Marlow began the presentation by stating the HUB is not a replacement for traditional learning and will not “replace high school as we know it.”
    The program is designed to supplement students who don’t respond to a traditional education. The program is considered an alternative learning program. He stressed that alternative did not mean they were bad kids, but that they need another route to learning.
    The program is broken down into three levels which provide varying levels of oversight depending on the students maturity.
    The program is designed for students who may have credit recovery issues, family issues, work issues, or behavioral issues.
    The goal of the program is to differentiate in the classrooms to meet individual students needs.
    The program offers a level of flexibility that is responsive to the individual student and varying learning styles.
    Students do most of their work through Google Classroom and work with project based learning activities.
    Marlow stated that they use a flipped classroom approach. He explained that instead of students hearing information in the classroom first and not having an opportunity to discuss it, they will now watch a video of the teacher’s lecture before they come to class. This allows the student to engage with the information in the classroom.
    He stated that graduation rates among HUB students are at 100 percent at their campus in Conway with 95 percent either working or going to college when they graduate.
    He cited that discipline has decreased as well as a result of the program.
    Students who have to choose between work and school can benefit from the program as well as students who only have to take two core classes their senior year. These students can go to class part of the day and either work, or go to college the rest of the time.
    There is a referral process which mimics a job interview. Once a student is placed in the program a personalized learning plan is created. Students and the school sign a contract for success.
    He closed the presentation by stating that they only offer a guideline. It is up to the local school district to decide what is best for the community.
    web mi school board 2The floor was opened to questions.
    Board Member Phil Carr asked what would this require of local teachers and administrators. They answered that the program requires a certified teacher to serve a a facilitator in each classroom. The level of involvement is up to the school.
    Burkman and Marlow stated that the number of classrooms required for HUB is based on how many students were involved. They stated there can only be 15 students per classroom.
    Board Member Jeremy McCullough asked about other schools in the area joining the program. Superintendent Hal Landrith stated that the deadline to request a waiver was March 14. He added that he submitted a request for a waiver even though the school has not decided whether to take part in HUB or not.
    James Hall asked about the cost to the school. Marlow replied that the goal was for the program to be selfsustaining, but there was an initial cost of $15,000 to the school. The school would also have the cost of a facilitator. He explained that the district would get an additional $4,500 per student enrolled in HUB, but it would take a year to qualify for the categorical funds. He added the school could also charge other schools for the students they send to HUB at Mount Ida.
    Several questions alluded to the need for a designated building for HUB. Burkman and Marlow both stated that those kinds of decisions would be made at the local level.
    John Standridge stated that the most important part of the program was identifying those who needed to participate.
    Randi Carr asked if the facilitator would be required to know curriculum for 9th-12th grade and if they would have to set up all the plans and grade all the work.
    Marlow stated that the teacher had to be certified, but usually the teachers responsible for the individual subject matter was the teacher in the traditional classroom. Burkman stated that there were some schools in the program that asked them to grade the work and others wanted to grade it themselves. Ultimately it would be a decision made on the local level.
    After a lengthy discussion period Board President Phil Carr brought the discussion to a close and moved on to other business.
    No decision was made regarding HUB.
    In other business:
    Board members voted to make up a school day missed March 3 on May 25.
    Landrith reported that they were looking at putting a roof over the freezer at the elementary cafeteria.
    The Montgomery County Council for Perfoming Arts was replacing the roof on Roosevelt Auditorium as per their lease.
    Bids were accepted on three buses, a trailer and a car that belongs to the school.
    Board members approved the 2016-17 school calendar.
    Board members approved increases in salary schedules. Certified employees with a bachelor’s degree will receive a $1,000 increase per year, those with Masters degrees will receive a $1,010 increase per year and classified employees will receive a six percent increase per year.