NU officials explain five-year strategic plan


Every successful business prepares a plan for the future of their business and North Union’s administration told the school board the district’s five-year strategic plan for success.

Elementary principal Darlene Allison told the board that at the elementary level,  “student programming” is the focus. Educators spend time on student wellness, making sure that students feel comfortable about talking with an adult, even if it’s not about school. Teachers want the students to also have social emotional learning. Communication between children and adults is important when they made need help or support.

Matt Burggraf, middle school principal, said that his staff uses engagement strategies to build relationships with students. A teacher may take two minutes a day for seven days, talking with a student about things other than school. They are building a relationship one-on-one.

Teachers also work on increasing the time a student reads. It’s important to increase social and mental health of all students, the board was told, and middle school is also a time to talk with students about their futures and what career path they may choose.

Burggraf said his school is implementing “career connections,” where teachers take half of a grade level on a field trip to a college so that students have a feel for what going to college would look like. The other half of the students would remain at the school and special speakers would be invited to share discussions about a variety of careers.

Janel Chapman, high school principal also elaborated on increasing student engagement in the classroom. The Career Pathways program has really taken off, she said.

When students enter high school, they sign-up for a pathway, which is taking classes in a field they may be interested in, such as nursing, engineering, ag business or construction. During this time, students can take classes and earn college credits for free. Some even can graduate from high school and have enough credits towards college to graduate early.

Another strategic plan is to build empathy. This is where a student can plan, develop and perform an event in the community with a variety of people and interact with them. It also helps the community understand more about how high school prepares students for a career.

The district is also working on branding North Union School District. A new logo will be created and a new, mobile friendly, website will be designed.

Staff members are learning about students with autism and learning how to deal with it in classrooms. Sensory room materials were distributed to each of the buildings. When a child is unable to communicate how they are feeling, they can use a sensory pillow that shows emotions of sadness, happiness, anger, etc. Then the staff member will be able to help communicate with them. These tools were made available through a grant they received last year.

The staff and administration are looking to increase student opportunities and service learning. They want to celebrate the success of staff and students and increase business partnerships in the community.

Tom Wrobleski from MKC, the architects in charge of the new athletic/classroom building, updated the board on the progress. He said the weather has been great and crews are ahead of schedule, except with two issues. The architects wanted to be able to tap into a fire hydrant line for the new building. According to code, a fire hydrant must be within 400 feet of the building. The closest hydrant is located on North Franklin Street, which is not close enough. The fire line must be a six-inch water line. Currently the line is only four inches. So engineers are considering installing a new fire hydrant to meet code and are working with Fire Chief Randy Riffle on solving the problem.

Engineers also found that the sanitary sewer line they wanted to hook into is shallow, only approximately 24 inches deep and it is flat. The sanitary line from the new structure is deeper than the one they want to tap into. The architects are working on an agreement with the contractor in solving the problem without a huge increase in cost.

The September NUPride Award was given to the Richwood-North Union Public Library during the meeting. The school district and the local public library have teamed up on a few ideas for students reading during the summer and the district is grateful for the community support of the library.

In other business, the board;

-Set the next regular meeting for Monday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the administration building.

-Accepted the resignation of Angela Holton, bus driver, effective Sept. 20.

-Voted to employ Julie Bryant as an elementary school/preschool seven-hour aide.

-Voted to employ Abigail Anderton as a fourth grade teachers.

-Accepted the resignation of Lauren Seas as high school Science Club advisor.

-Approved the appointment of Brian Davis as board representative to Business Advisory council and Matt Staley as an alternate.

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