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South Tama adds a second middle school counselor; school resource officer, community liaison under study

October 26, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

By John Speer



Article Photos

Mike Canning (seated, far right) presents information about Meskwaki, Inc. to the South Tama School Board and administrators during a regular meeting held at the Sac and Fox - Meskwaki - Tribal Center on Monday night, Oct. 22. The board meets once annually on the Settlement with some issues relevant to the Tribe such as federal Impact Aid funding as part of the agenda. News-Herald/John Speer

A second counselor will be added at the South Tama Middle School in Toledo in a move approved Monday night by the school board on a 4-0 voice vote during their regular meeting Monday night, Oct. 22. The position is expected to be filled by Dec. 1 according to Superintendent Jared Smith.

In recommending another staff member, Smith said STC Business Manager Mary Boege has found allowable Title IV funding to pay for the costs so the hiring will not affect the General Fund budget.

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He noted there are two counselors assigned at both the high school and elementary schools and the student numbers at the middle school warrant an additional one.

South Tama has a total of about 1,500 students enrolled, Smith said.

Exploration of also adding a school resource officer at the high school and a community liaison officer to be shared by the middle and high schools.

Preliminary discussion of the resource officer has been held with Tama Police Chief Jason Bina, Toledo Police Chief Bob Kendall and Tama Mayor Mike Carnahan, Smith said. From the initial talks it appears the post would be filled by a certified Tama police officer under the command of Chief Bina and an employee of the City of Tama. The high school building is entirely within the Tama city limits.

Under what Smith described as "the very first draft" the officer would be assigned regular patrol duties when school was not in session.

Board President Penny Tyynismaa and Smith agreed the job would not be viewed as that of an "intimidating bouncer" but as one whom "interacts with students."

Smith said he has received information from the Perry Community School District concerning their implementation of a resource officer position. He said there are three WaMaC schools who have officers, three who are studying adding an officer and three where the post is not under review at this time. Board members Alan Kline and Ron Houghton discussed the possible merits and obstacles if the officer was armed while in the high school.

Because of the involvement of the city of Tama and perhaps, Toledo, Smith said he plans to ask the matter be included on an already scheduled joint Tama-Toledo council meeting in late November.

Based upon the outcome of that meeting he could bring the proposal with more detail back before the STC Board in December.

Community Liaison

Also under further discussion will be adding a parent / community school liaison position.

Smith said Business Manager Boege had also identified Migrant Title I funding in totaling $57,000 to pay for this possible added staff member.

Listed among the duties for the liaison are working with migrant students and families to assure student success in learning; coordinate services for students and families in areas of medical services, mental health and with community agencies; overcoming barriers to the available resources such as transportation and insurance matters; and support transition into the community; coordinate a parent advisory council.

In other personnel matters the board: approved the termination of James Rajitora, high school head custodian effective Oct. 4; approved Justin Suchanek as assistant middle school wrestling coach and Darvin Graham as volunteer large group speech coach; and accepted the resignation of Corrine Bradley, high school para-educator effective Oct. 31.

In other business on Oct. 22 the school board:

heard a report from Assistant elementary Principal Kris Collins, assistant elementary principal on Tile VI grant funds used to support Native?American students enrolled in South Tama Schools.

approved Impact Aid Indian polices for 2019-20 during the meeting at the Sac and Fox (Meskwaki) Tribal Center on a 4-0 voice vote. Voting in favor were members Jackie Dvorak, Alan Kline, Penny Tyynismaa and Ron Houghton. Member Mandy Lekin was absent.

The board is required to hold a meeting once annually on the Meskwaki Settlement.

approved a request for the high school to host the Aug. 3, 2019, High School Thespian Leadership Day.

approved students C.P. and A.M. for early graduation.



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