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January 16, 2019 Board Minutes

Arapahoe-Holbrook Public School

Board of Education – Special Meeting – Principal Interview with Mr. Chris Lecher

Conference Room

January 16th, 2019 10:40 am

 

President Dennis Roskop called the meeting to order at 10:44 am.

 

President Roskop announced that the Arapahoe-Holbrook Board of Education follows the rules of the Open Meetings Act which is posted. 

 

The following members were present: Dan Warner, Chad Carpenter, Rodney Whipple, Dennis Roskop, Brad Schutz, and Lisa Anderson.

 

The following member(s) were absent: None.

 

Also present was Dr. George Griffith, Superintendent, Cassie Hilker, Board Secretary, and Principal Interview Candidate Mr. Chris Lecher.  No other visitors were present.

 

A motion was made by Schutz and seconded by Warner to approve the agenda as presented.  AYES: Carpenter, Whipple, Roskop, Schutz, Anderson, and Warner.  Motion carried 6-0.

 

INTERVIEW

 

Roskop asked Lecher to tell the board a little about himself and his interest in the position.  Lecher stated that he grew up in Crawford, Nebraska and went to Chadron State College.  He had Coach Braithwait as his Football, Basketball, and Track Coach for three years.  It was Braithwait’s first job after college.  He was rough back then.  Prior to education, he spent about fifteen years as a Funeral Director Embalmer.  He has most recently been licensed in Nebraska.  He worked for a couple of corporations that owned funeral homes nationwide.  He just had some burnout of nights, weekends, and holidays on call and missing kids’ events, which still happens in any career.  There were some other things as well and it just became a bit of a drag.  He had two education paths when he attended Chadron State.  One was education and the other was mortuary science.  He chose mortuary science but when he decided to make the change some of the classes he had already taken.  He and his family moved back to Chadron.  He worked nights at the funeral home and he attended classes during the day.  He also subbed occasionally at Chadron Schools.  They left there to go to Gothenburg where he and his wife both got teaching jobs.  He spent eight years there teaching High School Chemistry / Physical Science and his wife taught in the elementary.  He also coached and officiated some games.  He made the move to Administration and is now the PK-12 Principal at Lyons Decatur Northeast.  This is his second year there.  He is looking to make a move west.  He has a daughter in Kearney that just had a baby in August and his wife’s family is in Colorado.  The rest of his family is in the panhandle, eastern Wyoming area.  Where they are right now is just a long ways from everyone.  When the position came open he talked to Braithwait about it.  Braithwait has been here a long time and has enjoyed the community.  He spoke highly of the community, the school, and the kids so he decided to apply.  Warner asked Lecher how he deals with bullying.  Lecher stated that the term bullying is one of the terms administrators here most right now.  He attended a Bullying Symposium last year in Omaha and one of the things he learned there is that most people don’t understand the true definition of bullying.  As that term is thrown out by parents, he uses that opportunity to educate parents about the situation.  An example is that the kid comes home and says that Joey is bullying him.  He wants to know what that means and what actually took place.  Conversations need to be had with kids to find out what is going on.  At Lyons Decatur they have adopted the #BeKind.  A lot of schools in the state of Nebraska are doing it.  We really need to educate kids.  Situations will pop up and is it bullying.  It’s bullying if it is repetitive and there is a use of authority of one kid over another.  It needs to be looked into and investigated.  When he is having conversations with parents about it he lets them know that they have cameras and that he will be reviewing them.  Another thing he learned at the Bullying Symposium is proximity.  It is tough to do.  He had to use a staff member, a Para, to be near the kids that were reported for bullying.  This para just followed them and was near so they could see what is happening.  There are different ways to approach it.  One is just awareness of staff, educating parents, and having a lot of conversations with the kids.  It is not going to go away.  In today’s society, it is changing forms.  It is moving to serious threats.  Sorry to jump ahead, but looking at the next question we have kids that are doing big things.  He told the teaching staff that right before Christmas he had a 7th grader with a list and number one on it was to get rid of him (Lecher).  The teacher was number three and then he drew a picture of a building blowing up and he wrote school and drew an arrow.  He also talked about some other kids, not about getting rid of them.  As an educator looking at that 20-30 years ago, it would have been telling the kid to knock it off.  Now, he has to call the police.  The county attorney is involved and the kid is arrested for terroristic threats and is kicked out of school.  Was some of what the kid wrote on paper bullying towards those other kids.  He didn’t know because no one ever reported anything.  Then we find out some things had been going on but were never reported to teachers.  Everything has to be taken seriously.  We have to be careful in our questioning and do a lot of investigating.  It is something that is in every school.  There are kids wanting to move Districts because they are being bullied.  Either they are being bullied there and want to move here or they are being bullied here and want to move to a neighboring District.  As educators we do what we can to be well aware of all of the situations and educate the kids about the effects of bullying and how it mentally affects their peers.  Schutz stated that Lecher has read question number two and asked him if he wanted to elaborate more on that question.  Lecher stated that it is about taking everything seriously and acting upon it.  At Lyons, the police officer is there a fair amount.  He had drugs right before Thanksgiving.  Fortunately, he has not had to deal with guns.  The irate parents – we have to listen.  That is one of the things he learned in his previous career, listen to people.  Listen to what they have to say.  Everyone wants to be heard.  And try to come up with a solution that will be effective with everyone.  One thing we run into is a parent wanting another kid to be in trouble based off of what their kid said but no one else in school heard it.  He has had this conversation with one of his board members because they have heard it from a parent.  That opens up a whole new thing if you tell on him and he gets in trouble based on what you said it ends up that you just didn’t like him that day.  Just listen and try to explain with parents.  The kid that was threatening to blow up the school, they just had a SAT meeting and the father was not happy that the school was pressing charges.  He had to explain to the father that it wasn’t the school it was the county attorney.  It is the school’s obligation to report when a threat is made against the school and school officials.  Schutz asked how big Lyons Decatur School is.  Lecher stated that they have 294 students K-12.  They are heavier in the elementary right now.  Whipple asked if they staff an officer.  Lecher stated that they do not, but they looked at sharing one with a neighboring school.  They are only seven miles from Oakland.  They didn’t want to, because they were going to try to split it between the towns and the schools cost wise.  Our local police officer works with the Oakland Police so there is a lot of blending of police presence.  They do not have an SRO.  They looked at it.  Oakland did hire one and he was from Eustis.  It is a good thing to have police presence.  He didn’t know locally how active the police is at school and their willingness to be here quickly.  They have a lot of conversations with the police about kids because they know things that are going on and vice versa.  Anderson asked Lecher what the major qualities are that he seeks in a teacher and how would he help them if they were struggling.  Lecher stated that the major qualities he seeks in a teacher are that they are connected with the kids and that they are engaged in their classroom.  They have good rapport with kids.  If kids are engaged in the classroom there are fewer discipline issues.  They are also probably going to be learning something and will find relevance in that classroom.  He has found that having lots of conversations with those struggling teachers helps.  Being in the classroom as much as possible is important and talking about the instruction.  He currently has a second year teacher and they have had a lot of conversations about classroom management and things she could try and things she could work on.  Just being in there and seeing what is going on helps a lot.  The teacher has a mentor and he has kept that person with her to help her out.  Carpenter asked Lecher what his greatest professional strength is and what his greatest professional weakness is.  Lecher stated that his greatest weakness is trying to do too much himself and not delegating more things.  He tends to take on too much and sometimes that backfires.  His greatest strength is his ability to build relationships within students and staff.  He is trying to build the culture right now with his school.  There is a lot of apathy within the school and not a ton of school pride.  They didn’t have a student section for games.  He is trying to do some of those things to get some more pride.  Whipple asked Lecher to describe his philosophy on discipline.  Lecher stated that the handbook is in place and consistency.  We have to be consistent.  As educators we sometimes fall into the trap of it was one of the good kids that did that.  We have to be consistent based on the handbook and follow policy.  That is why it is in place.  Then the kids know.  One of the things in his school is that he doesn’t like hoods up when they are in the building.  Constantly he is telling kids no hoods and asking teachers to enforce it.  It is just a little thing.  It is about communicating your expectations and being consistent.  Roskop asked Lecher what his three best leadership qualities are and to describe a situation when one of the qualities was exemplified.  Lecher stated that his three best leadership qualities are compassion, integrity, and adaptability.  Last year at Lyons Decatur as a first year principal, we had a Para death, a student that just graduated the year before died, and two elementary girls witnessed their mother being brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend.  One of our English teachers said this in passing that their last principal probably wouldn’t have been able to handle this.  He had to dig into his funeral director bag a bit to deal with some of the psychological stuff that was going on with staff.  It was rough.  Then to end the year with that mother being murdered was awful.  She coached little kids softball and basketball.  Trying to get the staff through that took a lot of compassion and adaptability.  Warner asked Lecher what he should expect from teachers and staff.  Lecher stated holding kids accountable and keeping them engaged.  Doing what is best for kids.  On their teacher in-service day January 4th, he challenged his staff to ask themselves as they were doing things if it is what is best for kids or what is easiest for them.  Teachers can get in a rut.  He challenged the staff to ask that question.  When he looks at that question, that is what he expects of his staff.  They are here to do what is best for kids every day.  This is the whole staff, not just the teachers.  Bus drivers, cooks, everybody.  Schutz asked Lecher what teachers and staff should expect of their principal.  Lecher stated support of what they are trying to do in the classroom.  If a teacher wants to try something new, as a principal he should let them try it and help them if they need it.  If they fail it is okay.  That is how we learn.  Then we change things and do something different.  Staff should expect a principal to support them if they are willing to try new things.  Anderson asked Lecher what changes he has made in his school since becoming a principal.  Lecher stated that he brought in a new writing curriculum because they did not have one.  Writing skills are necessary for every class.  He didn’t feel the kids were getting what they needed so he did some research and spoke to some people that he trusted and they brought in a new writing curriculum.  The neighboring school, Oakland, brought in the same curriculum so training with the ESU was shared.  Teachers can collaborate.  They are changing the teacher evaluation model.  He has a pilot group of teachers and they are working together on what the new model will look like.  They are working off of what the state recommended.  They are a Marzano school.  He knows Arapahoe is APL.  He is trying to get teacher input on the new model.  The old tool was more of a hiring and firing tool.  That didn’t do much for the growth of the teacher.  That is what they are trying to change.  The new tool encourages conversation to try other things or talk about situations.  It has been a good thing.  Whipple asked about technology at Lyons.  Lecher stated that they are 1 to 1 with Macs in grades 5-12.  Grades 7-12 can take them home.  Below that they have iPads and carts.  Every kid in the school has one something.  Whipple asked about the use of smartboards and smartpens.  Lecher stated that they use smartboards.  The teachers asked him how he felt about technology and what he told them was that he looks at technology as something that can enhance their lesson not be what they lean on all of the time.  It is a tool they can use to better their instruction.  As educators we can’t just let kids play on the computer all day we have to mix things up and use technology to change parts of the lesson.  Talking to other educators about using technology in the classroom and more often than not it comes down to being an enhancer of instruction.  Anderson asked about online textbooks versus printed textbooks.  Lecher stated that in Gothenburg they were one to one with Chromebooks and he needed to change his physical science books.  He and Ryan Groene the Curriculum Director at Gothenburg talked about going with online textbooks and they did.  They got a few actual textbooks to have as backups.  The kids didn’t like the textbooks being online.  It shocked him.  It had some good things.  It had some simulators he could use and other tools he could use to enhance his lesson.  He has used them personally in his Masters’ classes and he didn’t care for them.  They have their place and it depends how much the textbook gets used.  He was shocked that the kids didn’t like the online textbook.  Carpenter asked Lecher if annual goals are set for staff and if so how are they determined and how are they achieved.  Lecher stated that staff set two goals and they base it off of their Marzano model.  Within the Marzano model they have come up with twenty-three elements that they use and he and his staff decided that they wanted to use the same twenty-three elements to focus on.  He has told the teachers to pick two from the twenty-three and focus on that.  As he walks through their classrooms he is looking for their two goals.  They have the goals posted near their door so everyone knows what they are.  He has then challenged the staff at the end of the first semester to pick something new if they have mastered their goals.  Stretch themselves.  Roskop asked Lecher how he handles the teachers that are having trouble reaching those goals.  Lecher stated that having conversations with them is key.  He has some tools with Marzano that goes over each of the goals.  He will send a short video to the teacher and ask them if they can pick something new to try from it.  He does the soft sell of hey try this and then he goes back to observe the classroom.  The more you can be in the classroom the more likely they are going to be to show you that they are doing it.  Whipple asked Lecher what concept would he insist be contained in the education philosophy of his school.  Lecher stated high expectations.  The Student Council group asked him questions about eligibility, participating in extra-curricular activities, grades, and tardies.  He threw some ideas their way about some expectations and rewards.  Hold kids accountable to their grades while trying to give them opportunities to succeed.  There are a lot of ways to do that.  One of the things they did at Gothenburg was what they called Access Time before school and kids that weren’t turning in assignments or needed extra help could use that.  One thing he does at Lyons is Wednesday School and it has the same purpose.  He tries to create opportunities for them to be held accountable and get their work done.  If the kids aren’t held accountable then the teachers start to fall off as well.  Keep everyone accountable.  Roskop stated that a lot of the kids that are participating in things are participating in a lot of things and are high achievers in a lot of those things.  He asked Lecher how to reach those that aren’t participating.  Lecher stated that at Gothenburg as a staff they looked at the kids that were involved and looked at their GPAs.  The most successful kids that had the better grades were the kids that were the most active.  They went with the team concept and it was the whole staff.  They supported the other activities and they challenged the kids that were participating to invite others that weren’t.  It really worked because they had buy in from everyone.  He was a basketball coach and speech was going on at the same time.  He has kids that wanted to be at a speech meet on Saturday when he has a game.  He and the Speech Coach had to work together.  He is trying to do the same thing at Lyons.  He is trying to get those kids that are involved to bring along those kids that aren’t.  In Gothenburg, staff worked the kids all of the time to and that helped.  Griffith asked Lecher what he would do if a kid wanted to do basketball and scholars bowl and they couldn’t be done at the same time.  Lecher stated that they usually let the kid choose.  The AD was good about letting the kids choose.  They want them involved.  There was Math Day and he was missing the Calculus group for basketball practice.  They had to live with it.  They missed two practices right at the beginning of the year.  It’s tough.  Griffith asked if the Math Day participants had consequences for missing those basketball practices.  Lecher stated that they did not have to make anything up.  If we punish them for going to Math Day then they are going to drop one or the other and we don’t want that.  Roskop asked Lecher how he has helped teachers and staff improve student achievement on measures such as state assessments, local assessments, college or career preparedness.  Lecher stated that they do MAP testing in grades 2 thru 11.  We have the kids goal setting.  If the kids are setting their own goals with the teachers they have buy in.  It prepares them for MAP testing.  He encouraged teachers to use Test Whiz which is a prep program for the state assessment.  They use the John Baylor Test Prep Course for the ACT group.  He tries to give them opportunities.  As educators, we sometimes get accused of teaching to the test.  We have to prepare kid for the test.  We are teaching to the test all along or we better be.  The curriculum better be lined up with the state assessments because that is what we are all judged on in the end.  The methods of the testing are what we have tried to work on with Test Whiz and John Baylor.  The kids can see the questions, the type, and the timing.  He had some success with that in Gothenburg.  It is more about prepping them for the style of testing.  Whipple asked Lecher if he could elaborate on his involvement with IEP meetings.  Lecher stated that his Superintendent sits in on most of the IEP meetings.  He gets involved if need be.  He is responsible for enforcing the IEP and what is taking place with the SPED department and what is happening in the classroom.  We have about 60 of our 294 students that are SPED students.  They have a high population to keep track of and ensure they are fulfilling the IEPs as written.  Whipple asked Lecher if he was personally involved in looking at the MAP scores and how the IEPs help progress the students.  Lecher stated that he looks at them as he can.  Being a PK-12 principal it is not always possible.  He relies heavily on the SPED and classroom teachers to report that information to him.  Whipple asked Lecher if he could give him a tool or enhancer of technology that helps those kids.  Lecher stated that he like to see kids using Quizlet.  There are different versions of Quizlet.  It varies the material and how it is presented to kids.  They can pace themselves with it and it has a game feel to it.  He has encouraged his SPED teachers to use tools like this to present the information in a different way.  Warner asked Lecher if he thinks schools should be single point of service providers and if so why.  Lecher stated that schools are whether they want to be or not.  In small communities, they try to do the best they can.  They also rely heavily on their ESUs to provide services that they may not otherwise be able to provide.  He doesn’t know how good Arapahoe’s ESU is to lean on but he leans on Lyons ESU quite a bit.  We end up being a single point of service provider due to the fact that we are in a small community.  It just becomes inevitable.  Schutz asked Lecher what skills or interests he has that could benefit our extracurricular programs and what role would he have in supporting them.  Lecher stated that he has been a teacher, a coach, and an official.  His daughter is involved in other things like One Act, Speech, and FFA.  These activities provide her and other kids the opportunity to grow.  It gets tough as an administrator but trying to be at those activities is important.  The kids like to see you there and it is all part of the process of building a culture.  It is also important to encourage staff to come as well.  Whipple asked Lecher if he sees being at those events important being an administrator.  Lecher stated that it is very important.  He is at about everything he can be.  It gets tough time wise being the one principal.  It is important to not only be at athletic events but the other things as well.  Anderson asked Lecher how he would involve parents in the education of their children.  Lecher stated that some parents don’t want to be involved.  He has gotten notes from parents saying they will not read with their kids at night, that is the teacher’s job.  He tries to stress the importance of parents being involved and asking kids how their day went.  Classroom teachers have parent’s at all different levels.  Communication home about what is going on is important.  He has talked to teachers about the use of social media.  Also, asking for volunteers.  In Gothenburg, they had a day where volunteers came in for a day and taught kids various things.  For example, the banker in town came in and taught the kids how to count money back.  The lawyer showed them how to tie a tie.  The guys from Central Irrigation were doing things with electricity.  Trying to use the community is important.  Whipple asked Lecher about how he felt about the community using the school facilities for non-school related functions.  Lecher stated that it gets tough in a small town.  The school is the central hub of the community.  That is a good question and it gets difficult trying to decide that and you just hope there is a board policy in place that is cut and dry on how to address the request.  Whipple asked Lecher what the policy is at Lyons for the community.  Lecher stated that the little kids sports get to use the gym obviously, but other than that it has not been practiced in the past and that is what they have stuck with.  Carpenter asked Lecher if he had any questions for the board.  Lecher asked the board what they are looking for in this position.  Carpenter stated a leader.  Roskop stated that his two biggest things are someone to motivate the staff to continue moving forward.  They have offered some early retirement and through that they have gotten some younger teachers.  Part of it is developing the mentors to teach the younger ones how to do it and continually motivating the older teachers that have done things that way for thirty years to get out of the box a little bit.  He thinks as a board they have done that a little bit with the technology.  They have expanded the technology to K-12 with hopes to continue pushing people forward and using them to catch people up.  He is looking for someone to continue pushing staff.  The other thing he is looking for is someone that will be involved in the community.  Braithwait has been here for a long time and he has set that standard.  It is very important to have that standard continue.  Those are his, he doesn’t know what everyone else is looking for.  Whipple stated that he would like to have someone involved in the overseeing of an Ag Program.  He sees that as important.  Ag and Technical, Vocational, Continuing Education, those kinds of things.  Encouraging staff to take more classes to offer more opportunities to our kids.  Anderson stated that she would like someone that has some classroom success that can help our teachers.  Schutz agreed with what the others said.  He stated that Lecher hit on it earlier that it is not always about sports.  There are other activities in the school.  Academics are important to him.  Continuing to push and develop staff needs to be ongoing.  Warner stated that he agrees with that.  One thing he is looking for is a team.  Part of the staff is the most involved with all of the children.  Whether it is in school or outside of school.  He would like to level that playing field and engage some of those teachers to offer resources beyond coaching.  They all have enormous talents.  He would like to keep them engaged and wanting to do more without having to ask or expect it.  We have voids that can be filled by their talents.  Griffith stated that he wants someone that is willing to look at things with a different perspective and take a step out there if there is a program out there that would benefit our kids.  He was surprised at the similarities between himself and Lecher.  Lecher asked the board how they would react when a stakeholder or parent comes to them and asks what is that new guy doing we have never done it like that before.  The reason he asks this question is because he would be replacing someone that has been here a long time.  Roskop stated that he is in the middle of downtown and he gets that a lot.  Usually his first response is asking them if they have talked to whoever the new principal is.  The first thing he does is listen to what the problem is.  Most of the time they just want someone to listen to what they have to say.  After that it usually doesn’t go any further than that.  He does try to communicate with Griffith to let him know about the situation.  He directs them to go talk to the folks at the school.  As a board member he is a sounding board, but the administration runs the school.  There are policies in place and things that we should be doing.  It is not a board members job to run the school.  If you want to try something different he will give you as much rope as you want and you may hang yourself.  He doesn’t have any problem with someone that is willing to take a chance.  The District has gone through a few superintendents since he has been on the board.  There are some things that go along with that.  The new guy is going to have different philosophies.  In his opinion, having a new person comes with good and bad.  Communicating with administration and pushing that person back to administration is the biggest thing.  Most of the time they just want someone to listen to them and hear them.  Schutz stated that he would add that the question is pretty general.  As a board member he would expect the principal to follow policy.  The board spends hours working on policy and one of the most frustrating things to him is when there is a policy in place and it is not being followed.  That is very frustrating.  As far as trying new things he thinks that is good.  They need change.  They need to build some excitement in the staff and in the school.  That is a good thing.  Anderson stated that they need some new energy.  Griffith stated that he is sure that Braithwait feels comfortable in what he does because he knows has Griffith’s support 100%.  He will not disagree with the principal in front of staff.  We will disagree every once in a while.  We will have that conversation at that time.  Ultimately, in this District everything falls up hill.  We succeed, I fail.  Lecher asked the board what they feel is the biggest challenge for the District.  Carpenter stated bringing the community together.  When he was in school everybody went to the games, now the kids aren’t even coming to the games.  He wants to get the community involved in the school.  Warner stated that it is not just one community it is three.  Getting all of that to mesh is not just a principal’s job, it is a school board’s job and a superintendent’s job as well.  Community involvement.  He appreciates that there is talent outside of the school that could contribute to the education of our kids.  That is a huge resource that needs to be pursued.  Schutz stated that there is a lot of diversity in our District that wasn’t there 20-30 years ago.  There are a lot of people moving in and out of the community.  There are a number of single parent families.  There are a lot more family issues and that is tough on a school.  That is one of the biggest problems we face today and will continue to face.  It is here.  Whipple stated continuing to be fiscally responsible keeping the kids’ needs in mind.  Lecher stated that is always a challenge.  Lecher stated that this school has about 360 students and one principal and he asked if the board has considered or discussed having two principals or an assistant principal.  One of the comments from the Student Council was that Braithwait doesn’t come to the classroom or see us very often and they asked Lecher if he would do that more.  The same thing came up with the teachers.  He lives this as he is a PK-12 Principal with just under 300 kids.  He gets a discipline problem and it could take a half a day if not longer.  The elementary staff said that Braithwait can’t deal with some of their issues because he is not available.  He wanted to know if that has been a consideration of the board.  Roskop stated that in the past they had two principals.  When Hatch took the Superintendent job in Elwood, they were trying to get the most bang for their buck and looked at going to one.  With Braithwait being here as long as he had, the board felt it was possible to go to one principal.  Schutz stated that Braithwait thought it was possible as well.   Roskop agreed that everyone felt that direction was possible.  Communications since then and going through multiple superintendent’s we needed to get back to some stability.  They have discussed this and asked where the dollar would be best spent, on an assistant principal or say another kindergarten teacher.  He threw the question back at Lecher and asked if they hire him where would the dollars be best spent.  The benefit to having a really nice building is that it cost some money.  We have pulled back in some other areas to do this.  The answer is yes they have looked at it but where do they get the best bang for their buck.  Is it having an assistant principal to help with professional development and paperwork or are we better off bringing in more staff and changing the number of students one can touch on a daily basis.  He asked Lecher where he thinks the District would be better off spending those dollars.  Lecher stated that he negotiates annually for himself and this year he is going to ask for help.  His teachers know it.  He cannot effectively be the instructional leader that is needed for the kids.  He talks about being in the classroom but there are days when he doesn’t even get to a classroom.  He didn’t get in the classroom to help the new struggling teacher or the veteran teacher because he can’t even have the conversation with them about the instruction.  If he can’t get in the classroom to help the teachers that is not what is best for kids.  The things going on in schools with kids today is not the same as it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago.  There are so many issues and the free/reduced population is going up and the SPED population is going up and there are new requirements from the state.  There is more and more.  It all boils down to are we doing what is best for the kids.  We can have all of the computers and smartboards we want but if the teacher that is touching those kids isn’t getting any help.  In small schools we are going to have first year teachers and we can’t leave them on an island.  He really tries to get to those teachers and some days he feels like he is really letting her down because he couldn’t get there.  He has already shared that with his Board President and the staff at Lyons that he will be asking for help this year.  Anderson asked Lecher what role he would see an Assistant Principal doing.  Lecher stated that it would be day by day.  They could work together on teacher evaluations and being in classrooms.  Discipline issues are huge as well.  Paperwork could be split up as needed.  He stated that he read through some of the board minutes and when Coach Braithwait told the board he was going to retire he said he was on E.  Lecher knows why he was on E.  The demands are changing in our schools.  Trying to be an instructional leader plus other things.  Listening to the elementary teachers it seems that they feel like they are not getting the attention they need.  Roskop stated that they went from having a principal entirely to themselves to sharing one.  They lost their principal.  Lecher stated that they said there are so many issues in the high school and that sucks up all of his time.  Schutz asked Lecher how long it took him at Lyons to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the staff.  Lecher stated that looking at what committee’s people are on is a good start.  The leaders are involved with everything and then you have the ones that want to sit back and spectate.  One thing he is dealing with right now is trying to get others involved in being on committees.  He suggested they address it within the union.  Strengths and weaknesses are discovered by being in the classroom.  It takes a while and it’s tough.  Griffith asked Lecher if he has had any of the mature teachers tell him they have did their time when they were younger and it is someone else’s turn.  Lecher stated that the mature teachers he has have been pretty good about sticking with it.  The chair of the school improvement committee finally asked to get off after sixteen years of doing it.  He asked someone else to stand up and one of the other mature teachers volunteered.  Griffith stated that they don’t have much of that but thought he would ask.  Usually the ones that will do will do whether they are 80 or 30.  Lecher agreed.  Whipple asked Lecher if he would clarify his experience.  Lecher stated that he was a teacher and coach at Gothenburg for eight years and going on his second year as a principal at Lyons.  The board thanked Lecher for his time.  Roskop stated that hopefully they will have a decision soon and they will let him know.

 

A motion was made by Carpenter and seconded by Whipple to adjourn the meeting at 11:59 am.

 

 

 

 

________________________

Respectfully submitted,

Cassie Hilker, Board Secretary