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STC Special Education improvements highlighted

December 28, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

South Tama schools special education programs are getting a thorough review with an action plan to meet with and survey parents, involve the students and provide added support for staff. Kym Stein, hired as the district special education director in October, and Superintendent Jeff Berger told of the work being done to school board members during their regular board meeting Monday night, Dec. 18.

The district currently has a total of 203 special education students- the break-down by attendance center, number of teachers and para-professionals is:

elementary- 66 students, three teachers and eight para-professionals

Article Photos

Kym Stein
Supt. Jeff Berger

middle school- 86, 8 , 13

high school- 51, 4, 10

Stein said she has begun a schedule of meetings with the special education teachers and meets weekly with building principals.

In addition she said a focus is on support for special education teachers who are new to the school district this school year.

Support for behavioral students, contact with parents with students who are enrolled out of Tama District and at-home visits are being instituted.

More Information Sought

The board asked for more information and tabled a proposal to buy a license for the district to enable use of a text communication called Remind at a cost of $6,000. The system allows direct texting to and from staff, students and their parents.

Employee Handbook Update

Superintendent Berger updated the board on progress being made on revising the District Employee Handbook.

He said the changes approved by the Iowa Legislature in the last session covering collective bargaining had "cleaned out" many of the provisions previously included in district policy.

Contract negotiations which entered arbitration under what was a "grievance" procedure are proposed to be termed "formal complaint process" in the new policy. Arbitration was eliminated by the legislative action Berger said.

He said the 52-page handbook is nearing completion and under review by the district's law firm.

He said the new handbook has been put together with consultation with staff and administrators.

Berger said he hoped to present a document the board would be "comfortable" with noting "it's your call."

He said the adoption of a three-year contract earlier this year reduces the urgency of adopting a new handbook.

Board Action

In action Monday the school board approved on 5-0 voice votes with members Mandy Lekin, Alan Kline, Penny Tyynismaa, Jackie Dvorak and Ron Houghton voting in favor:

offering an early retirement package ot certified staff with the incentive amount raised from the previous offering of $7,200 to $7,500. Superintendent Berger said he believed a maximum of six staff members would be considering the offering.

accepted the resignation of Patricia Dilly, high school special education aide effective Dec. 4.

approved the purchase of two scorers tables for the high school gym at a cost of $5,400.

approved 2nd reading of board policies of which primarily contain modifications or "tweeks" to existing policies on discriminatory harassment, its investigation, incident complaint form, witness form, disposition; anti-bullying, anti-harassment and hazing prohibited, investigation procedures, complaint disposition and district non-discrimination policy and policy and parent and student rights.



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