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January 16, 2019 Board Minutes

Arapahoe-Holbrook Public School

Board of Education – Special Meeting – Principal Interview with Mr. Rudy Perez

Conference Room

January 16th, 2019 6:20 pm

 

President Dennis Roskop called the meeting to order at 6:28 pm.

 

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. Rudy Perez.  No other visitors were present.

 

A motion was made by Schutz and seconded by Anderson to approve the agenda as presented.  AYES: Carpenter, Roskop, Schutz, Anderson, and Warner.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

INTERVIEW

 

Roskop asked Perez to tell the board a little about himself.  Perez introduced himself and stated that he grew up in northeast Colorado.  He was born in Chapel, Nebraska.  His dad was a farm hand and his mother worked with the mentally handicap.  His dad had a second grade education and his mom had an eighth grade education.  His oldest brother graduated in 1978 and was the first one to graduate on both sides of the family.  He and his brother are the first ones to get a college degree.  His brother is also retiring this year from Kansas.  He is a middle school principal.  At one time they were the only Hispanic administrators in the state of Kansas.  His brother is his best friend and his mentor.  His brother was President of the Activities Association in Kansas and he had the privilege of serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Executive Committee.  He went to school at Panhandle State.  He also went to school at Oklahoma State and got a Masters’ degree in Public Administration.  He took a job in education in Topeka, Kansas in 1993.  He has been in AAAAA schools to A schools.  He has been an AD, an Assistant Principal, a High School Principal.  He has spent 19 years as an administrator.  He has been fortunate enough to have been involved with some really great staff.  He has coached various sports.  He played basketball in high school but never coached it.  He has always coached wrestling.  He is a big wrestling fan.  He has three kids.  His wife is an FCS teacher in Norton.  She has about 4-5 years before she can retire.  He has a freshman daughter in Norton.  She is into forensics, scholars bowl, and is an artist.  He has a daughter at K State studying Animal Science.  She wants to work in a zoo.  He has a son that is 26.  He played football at the Colorado School of Mines and got a great education there.  His kids have all been very fortunate to have the teachers they had.  They are all doing really well.  He has done a bit of everything.  Right out of school he signed on to play football and baseball at a college in Kansas and then he did what any smart guy would do and joined the military.  He started school at 23.  The best decision he made was joining the military.  He was in the Air Force.  He ended up being stationed with the Army for three years and two years of that was with the Second Battalion Rangers.  That taught him discipline and commitment.  They still get together.  He has been very fortunate to have good teachers, good coaches, and the military.  Mentors are very important.  He has been at Norton for 13 years and he has reached retirement age and in Kansas there isn’t much of a financial benefit to continue.  He has felt like he has done a lot and needs a new beginning, a new challenge.  He likes small schools.  He likes how everybody has to be involved to get things done.  Warner asked Perez how he deals with bullying.  Perez stated that when a victim or someone else reports bullying they get the dates, location and time of the incident and he does some background.  Then he brings in the offender.  He has a schematic or rubric of what they do for the different types of bullying.  It shows the different levels and the consequences that go along with each.  Most times when he gets into that situation and has to have that discussion with the kid he never has to address it again with that kid.  At the high school level, they are young adults and need to learn how to figure things out and manage their behavior.  Depending on the type of bullying and the severity of the situation he let them try to figure it out themselves and correct it themselves.  If that happens, he never has to address it again and it gets worked out.  One thing he has looked into lately is something called restorative practice.  This is when both sides are brought in and a discussion is facilitated between the two on the bullying incident.  They then work it out.  There is a lot of validity to that.  There is a lot of he said she said and kids never talk again.  Maybe they need to talk again because it could be just a misunderstanding.  Schutz asked Perez what he has done to address school safety in regards to threats like drugs, alcohol, guns, or irate parents and what can he bring to improve school policy.  Perez stated that there are lock-down devices in all of the classrooms.  They are working on a crisis plan now to deal with those situations.  In the state of Kansas, they have to have six crisis evacuation drills per year and they practice those.  They received ALICE training to handle an active shooter.  The biggest thing he has found that we can do and is most effective is communicating those expectations and policies and procedures to students and parents.  If they know that then there is no reason we should have issues and if we do the student has made that decision themselves.  He does a lot of this communication with students at the beginning of the year through assemblies.  He explains the drug free policy and weapon free policy with staff and students at the beginning of every year.  Sometimes it is hard to get irate parents calmed down.  What he is found that works best is to just talk to them like he is talking to the board right now.  Talking to them in a calm manner usually brings it down.  A lot of times he has the parent come back at another time and re-visit the discussion or situation.  Sometimes they just need to vent and when they come back they can see why things happened or the reason for the consequence.  And sometimes you just have to agree to disagree.  Explain the policy and the ramifications for breaking the policy.  The focus has to be on the behavior and not the people.  No one can predict human behavior.  Good kids can also make bad decisions and bad choices.  He would rather have them learn that now while they are in school and we have some control over it versus when they are out and the consequences are greater.  Anderson asked Perez what the major qualities are that he seeks in a teacher and how would he help them if they were struggling.  Perez stated that the biggest quality is being a caring people person.  When he interviews teachers, he hires a person.  He looks at their grades and that doesn’t carry a lot of weight.  He wants to know that this person can communicate and has a good heart.  We can improve a person at being a teacher, but we can’t improve someone to be a better person.  We are who we are.  We hire the person, not the transcript or the GPA.  He looks at it as would he feel comfortable if his kid had this teacher in the classroom.  Would they get a fair shake and a good education.  We have to hire good people.  Carpenter asked Perez what his greatest professional strength is and what his greatest professional weakness is.  Perez stated that his greatest professional strength is developing relationships whether it is with staff, students, or community members.  Relationships are key.  If we have good relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members it makes those conversations easier when things do go sideways.  That relationship is already developed and the first time he talks to them it isn’t because he has to suspend their kid for five days.  Being involved with the school, staff, and community is important.  Get people to understand you are a person just like they are.  He is not out to hurt anyone’s kids or ruin anyone’s scholarship.  He just wants kids to be successful and when they roll out of high school they are productive adults.  It is kind of scary right now what is acceptable.  He thinks we are living in a society right now where everyone has rights but no one has responsibility.  We have to be able to have those conversations and be able to disagree.  No administrator likes to hand out discipline but we have to so that we have stability in our schools.  Earlier he had to suspend a kid for five days out of school and five days in school for using illegal substances.  He loves the kid and thinks he can do great things but his family life is messed up.  He hated to do it but he had to and part of the consequence is that he has to talk to a drug counselor and get an assessment.  That will help him and help his parents.  He takes things personally.  The kids asked him what gives him the greatest joy about being a principal and he told him graduation day.  To see those kids as 9th grade knuckleheads and mature and become seniors and graduate and he knows they are going to go out and do great things.  That is his favorite part, but when a kid drops out of school or fails he takes it personally.  He feels like there is something else he could have done or should have done to help that kid.  Personalizing other people’s failures is his greatest weakness.  It is hard for him to get over that.  Roskop asked Perez what his three best leadership qualities are and to describe a situation when one of the qualities was exemplified.  Perez stated developing relationships, collaboration, and coming to a consensus.  They had to change and develop a MTSS (Mutli-Tiered System of Support).  There are three areas it can be done in and they are reading, math, or behavior.  He and his staff looked at their school and their scores are great in reading and math.  They have kids that may score great on state tests for math and reading but fail the class.  They dug into how or why that was happening and it was because of the behavior.  They weren’t going to class or they weren’t turning in their work.  They decided as a group to develop an MTSS for behavior.  They included teachers as well as students.  They came up with a vision and then came up with three pillars which were respect, responsibility, and engagement.  Then they talked about what those things looked like in different areas.  For example, respect in the cafeteria, responsibility in the bus, engaged in the classroom.  They taught this and made lessons.  They were able to get staff to collaborate on this and come to a consensus to agree on how things are going to be done.  It has done great things for our school.  It wasn’t him, it was him helping guide the process.  The teachers are the ones on the front line and the ones that can tell us what is actually going on.  As an administrator he sees snapshots, they get to see the whole film.  He relies a lot on his staff.  Warner asked Perez to describe his philosophy on discipline.  Perez stated that his philosophy on discipline is that the school has a set of policies, procedures, and rules that is adopted by the Board of Education and his job is to enforce those things.  He can’t enforce those things unless he has let the kids know what those things are and taught them the expectations.  His policy is that he takes the rules and policies and teaches them to the kids and teachers and then he enforces the consequences if they break them.  He likes to have a little latitude because every kid is different and every situation is different.  We really need to look at the kid and the situation.  Sometimes there is an underlying situation with that kid.  We need to not only look at the act, but at the individual and how it occurred.  Schutz asked what a principal should expect from teachers and staff.  Perez stated that the biggest thing is to come to school every day ready to serve the students.  He likes to tell the staff that without the students they have no jobs.  We need to make sure that we take care of our students and look out for their needs.  Nowadays, it is not just about educating them we are also looking at mental health issues and social emotional issues.  His expectation from them is to know their students, teach their students every day, and respect their students.  He will expect the students to respect the staff, but staff have to respect the students as well.  Staff need to make sure that they make their expectations clear to the students so they understand.  Anderson asked Perez what students and staff should expect from their principal.  Perez stated support.  Not only supporting them as teachers with resources, but supporting them emotionally.  Making sure they have the resources necessary to be successful.  It could be a change in the schedule, technology, or new material.  They need support from me to get the resources they need to help their kids be successful in the classroom.  Schutz asked Perez about his experience with technology in the classroom.  Perez stated that one his math teachers came to him and told him that he wanted to do a flipped classroom.  It takes a lot of work.  The teacher records themselves giving the lesson and the assignment for the student is to watch the recording and start doing their homework.  When the students come to class they work on their homework and can get help if they need it.  Part of the grade is watching the video and part of the grade is the homework.  His daughter loves it because if she doesn’t get it she rewinds it and watches it again.  He had another math teacher and he was great but he only ever showed them one way to do something.  If the kids didn’t get it, they didn’t get it.  He has some science teachers starting to use the flipped classroom as well.  They use a lot of Google Classroom.  He uses Google Classroom to communicate with kids for MTSS lessons.  They do personal finance and lessons on behavior.  They developed a new class called Innovations.  These kids are learning coding and are using open sourced material on the internet.  They have a great technology guy.  The kids are doing some fantastic things.  They do a lot with Google and are doing the flipped classrooms.  They are the only school in the state of Kansas that has a pixela camera.  It is a very expensive camera.  They are streaming their basketball games, concerts, and graduations through NFHS.  It looks just like the professionals and has the scores and the teams shown.  They are fortunate to have a very good technology person, but he feels pretty comfortable with technology.  Carpenter asked Perez what changes he has made in his school since becoming Principal.  Perez stated that the rules of principalship are 1) you don’t go back home and 2) you don’t follow a legend.  He did that.  He followed Larry Stolle and he had been there 32 years.  It is difficult.  Bob has been her 30 years.  Following someone that has been there that long is very difficult.  The first year he did what any good principal does, he watched and he took notes and learned how things operate and let it go.  Although it may not make sense on paper seeing it in action is kind of neat.  There are some things that you make incremental changes on as you go.  They have instituted the MTSS behavior plan which has consequences and rewards.  There are rewards for kids that do the right things.  They have instituted an Advisor-based period.  He and his counselor took all of the kids and put them in three levels.  Level 1 is a kid that doesn’t need help.  They are always in school and get A’s and B’s.  Level 2 is a kid that gets B’s and C’s and may have some attendance issues.  Level 3 is a kid that needs some help.  They don’t get their homework done all of the time and probably struggles in some classes.  He then takes his staff and gives everyone a Level 1 kid, then a Level 2 kid and then a Level 3 kid.  Every staff member ends up with 10-12 kids.  They get them for 27 minutes at the very beginning of the day.  They check grades, they help them, they are like the mediator between the student and the teacher.  Students are always comfortable talking to certain teachers.  This has been a huge success.  They have implemented SB155 classes, which are college classes.  Kids can take these college classes during the day and it doesn’t cost them a penny.  The classes are accepted by the area colleges.  They have done independent study and they have started implementing a job shadowing program the last few years.  Freshman get more of a virtual experience, they don’t get to leave the school.  Sophomores can leave one time a year.  Juniors can leave one time each semester.  Seniors can leave one time a quarter.  These are school related absences.  They have done some really great things.  It is a much different school than it was when he got there.  It did not happen overnight.  Whipple joined the meeting at 6:52 pm and apologized for his lateness.  Whipple asked Perez if there are annual goals established for staff and if so how are they determined and achieved.  Perez stated that he has his staff write down three goals, an individual/professional goal, a building professional goal, and a personal improvement goal.  At the end of the year they talk about it.  It is more about personal improvement as a professional.  The goals are between the teacher and the principal.  Roskop asked Perez what he does for the staff that he doesn’t see meeting those goals.  Perez stated that the first thing he does when he sees a deficiency is correct it right away with the staff member.  They are professionals, he wants them to seek out professional development.  It is about them wanting to improve themselves.  If they aren’t improving after a year, he will probably put them on a plan of improvement.  He will give them certain goals to meet and if they don’t meet them they don’t meet them and we will be looking for another teacher.  He helps them with as many resources as possible.  The best thing for them to do is usually to shadow another teacher, but it is the hardest thing for them to do.  Everybody needs help some time.  A lot of this he puts on them because they need to be willing to make the change.  Roskop asked Perez what concept would he insist be contained in the education philosophy of his school.  Perez stated high expectations.  He wants the kids to have high expectations.  A student once told him that they do a lot for the kids at the lower tiers, but what about the kids that are doing the right things.  She told him that for them wherever he puts the bar they will meet it.  We set the expectations.  Research shows that if the number of social economic low level kids grow, academic scores will go down.  Ours have changed a lot, but our academic scores remain steady.  It is a lot about expectations.  If you give a kid a bar they will reach it.  Warner asked Perez how he has helped teachers and staff improve student achievement on measures such as state assessments, local assessments, college or career preparedness.  Perez stated that they used to test their kids to death.  They don’t do that too much anymore.  They used to have classes where they would prep kids for tests.  They are not doing as many state assessments as they have done in the past.  They really got caught up in testing and now they focus on what each school district’s expectations are and what they want them to learn.  We would have short fifteen minute classes that basically help kids with skills that help them with their test.  We do the same thing for the ACT.  It is strictly voluntary and it has helped a lot of kids with their ACT.  They also do Zellow, which is where a kid does an assessment and it tells them about their learning style and career interests.  It guides them when the counselor is talking to them about their schedule.  It also helps with the job shadowing program.  He told the student group that kids have so much going on now and there is so much they can do at school and online.  Whipple asked Perez if they are a one to one school.  Perez stated that they are and they use Chrome Books.  They are also a Google School.  They do a lot online.  Research is starting to come back around a little to say that paper and pencil for somethings isn’t so bad.  Technology is so susceptible to academic dishonesty.  Kids can copy and paste, they can share files and it is very hard to detect.  Technology is a good thing, but sometimes a bad thing.  Google Classroom is great.  Whipple stated that they are proud of the technology that they have purchased at the District.  Whipple asked Perez about the use of smartboards and smartpens.  Perez stated that initially they were going to go with the smartboards, but they got on to DocuCams instead.  They are very into the Apple TV as well.  A lot of teachers use the DocuCam and the Google Classroom so they have really shifted away from pursuing smartboards.  The teachers like what the DocuCams can do and they are more user friendly.  Google has done a lot of stuff.  Whipple asked how the teachers were trained.  Perez stated that they have a technology director that is Google certified.  He puts on in-services throughout the year for staff.  They have also used the technology person from Fort Hays State to train staff.  It is very neat to have the technology but it is difficult to find the time to learn it and use it.  He has told teachers if they want to learn something to get with someone that is already doing it.  They may have found ways that are quicker and more effective.  The major hurtle is finding time for teachers to do it and in small schools teachers are doing a lot.  Whipple asked Perez if he is personally involved with the IEPs.  Perez stated that he doesn’t miss one.  Whipple asked Perez if there is technology used for those students.  Perez stated that they have used other technologies for those students.  They have used some visual aids. They use an Occupational Therapist.  He attends every IEP meeting.  If things go sideways, he signs his name to that paper saying that he knows what is going on and he approves of what is going on.  He likes to be there when the conversation occurs.  He has very good SPED teachers and they let him know when they have a meeting coming up and he lets them know what days and times he has available and they schedule it around that.  It has worked out really well.  He feels it is very important that he attend the IEPs.  Whipple asked if he is personally aware if students are meeting their goals or not.  Perez stated that he is.  It is only as good as the person implementing the IEP.  He has really good SPED teachers.  They communicate with him all the time about what is best for the kid and keep the parents involved.  They don’t make unilateral decisions without the parent.  The student has a lot of say too.  They always have the opportunity to speak up at the IEP meeting.  IEPs are important.  Roskop asked Perez if he thinks schools should be single point of service providers and if so why.  Perez asked them to define a single point of service provider.  He stated that in a community this size the school is a focal point.  The heart of the community is at the school.  That is what he likes about small schools.  Everybody comes to the concerts and games whether they have kids involved or not.  This is what the community hangs their hat on.  This is their point of pride.  We have to have kids that are trying their best, they may not be the best but they are trying and excelling.  It is huge when the numbers are there and kids are participating.  We have a basketball team that is pretty small, but he loves watching them play.  They love the game and they hustle.  They may not win a lot of games but he loves watching them because of how hard they play.  The school is probably the number one employer in the community.  Whipple asked Perez if he thought it was important for him to be visible at extra-curricular events.  Perez stated that he thinks it is very important.  He goes to every high school thing.  He needs to show the kids that he cares about what they do.  He goes to stuff outside of school too.  In Kansas, they can do rodeo and he goes to that and the kids enjoy it.  Kids love to see you there.  They don’t want to see you yelling at them, they want to see you there.  It goes back to building relationships.  He was at a basketball game and they were not playing very well and these two girls came in the third quarter and weren’t flashy.  They took care of the ball and rebounded and pretty soon they were up by 12.  They did nothing flashy.  They created a nice calming press down the court and he told him they did an awesome job.  The kids don’t think everyone is actually watching them.  He tells the high school kids that they have to watch what they do because kids are watching all the time and whether they believe it or not they look up to them.  Warner asked Perez what skills or interests he has that could benefit our extracurricular programs and what role would he have in supporting them.  Perez stated that he has a lot of background in extracurricular programs and he is not talking about athletics.  He is talking about music, art, forensics, and scholars bowl.  His kids have been in all of those programs.  He is usually the moderator for the scholars bowl.  In forensics, he takes care of the hospitality room because he thinks if anyone has the guts to get up there they should all get a medal.  He has been around to a lot of schools and has seen a lot of different programs.  Networking and finding successful programs and steering the coaches and sponsors in that direction is huge and it will make the kids more successful.  As far as supporting them, he goes to everything.  If it is here, he is here.  If the floor needs swept at half time of the ball game, he is out there sweeping the floor.  If they need help in concessions, he helps there.  It takes everybody in the building to make things successful and make the school run.  You can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, you just have to get in there and do it.  Schutz asked Perez how he would involve parents in the education of their children.  Perez stated that communication with parents needs to start at the beginning, right when things start to go downhill.  He has kids that are doing really well and then he starts to see kids on the weekly eligibility list and they have gone from a B to a D.  He has a conversation with the kid about what is going on.  Then he talks to the teacher and then to the parent.  High school kids don’t want their parents involved in education.  In elementary, it is a lot easier because the parents can volunteer and be involved.  Letting parents know that it is important for them to be involved in the education of their kids.  He feels that more and more the schools are taking over the parental role and he doesn’t think that is right.  Parents know what is best for their kids.  They need to be involved and the kids respond better when they know their parents are involved.  And not just with athletics, but with academics as well.  They have moved to a student led conference for parent teacher conferences and they tried it this fall.  In a normal parent teacher conference the parent is there and the teacher is there and we are missing a very important person and that is the student.  The student talks to the parent with the teacher about why their grades are where they are.  Then they can talk about what they can do better and have that discussion.  He thinks these kind of conferences are going to successful the longer they do them.  It is a great step to get parent involvement.  It is not like there is just one person working in the family anymore.  A lot of families have both parents working and it is hard to get involved.  If we can just get them to communicate and be involved actively that is good.  Whipple asked Perez if he has or is familiar with a mentoring program where kids are paired up with a community member and they come eat lunch with them and do an activity.  Perez stated that they don’t have anything like that where he is now, but he did at his last school.  They called it Youth Friends.  The participants had to go through background checks and then they were paired up with a kid.  That was a good program.  He really liked that.  It was a neat thing.  In his high school, the National Honor Society will read to the elementary kids.  And the high level math classes work with the elementary kids on math.  He thinks the high school kids get more out of it than the elementary kids.  They love it.  Whipple stated that they are pretty proud of the mentoring program they have here.  Perez asked if they have to go through a background check.  Whipple stated that they did.  He thought the program was through the UNL Extension Office.  Perez stated that he thinks it is great because it gives people that don’t have kids in school an avenue to still stay connected to the school.  Whipple stated that they can also get scholarships.  Perez asked what grade levels can participate.  Whipple stated that it is third grade and up.  Roskop stated that the majority of the time when someone is paired with a student they stay with them until they graduate.  Perez stated that they don’t have a formal program, everything is pretty informal.  They do a graduation walk in the elementary every year.  A lot of times teenagers are considered selfish, but if you give them the opportunity to share they will.  They just need to opportunity.  Griffith asked Perez how he would see himself relating with elementary students since he has predominantly been in high schools.  Perez stated that he talks to all kids.  He is in the grade school talking to kids and he knows a lot of kids through their siblings.  He thinks the relationship with the grade school kids would be okay.  He has never had to work with a grade school staff but teachers are teachers.  Most of the time in the grade school, the teachers are pretty professional.  He likes what they do in grade schools because with the nature of their job they have to continuously be doing things because they can’t let kids stand still.  In the high school, they just sit and get.  We need to move away from that and kids need to be more engaged and involved.  He likes what grade schools do and wishes that high schools would adopt some of that.  Roskop asked Perez if he had any questions for the board.  Perez asked how the board envisions the transition process going since Bob has been here so long.  Roskop stated that understanding where we are and knowing there are some differences and that it is going to take some time to make changes.  It is also a great opportunity to make some changes.  With new blood comes new challenges and new opportunities.  He is not going to discourage Perez from jumping in feet first.  He wants someone that will jump in and be energetic.  Perez stated that he may look a little old, but he loves school and he has a lot of energy.  He is the one high fiving kids and excited about learning.  By the end of the day he is exhausted.  He wants what is best for kids.  He had a great educational experience, he may not have gotten the best education but the experience was unbelievable.  He got to go to school and play sports.  If he missed the bus his Dad would put him to work on the farm and he wouldn’t get home until 10 at night.  Going to school was pretty easy and going out for sports was pretty good too.  Getting kids to understand that school is probably going to be the easiest thing they get to do in their lives.  He doesn’t really feel like he has a job, he likes the growth process.  Seeing the kids grow up and become mature adults is awesome.  One of the things staff talked to him about was getting teachers to stop labeling kids for their whole career.  It is hard, but we have to give them a chance.  Every year is a new year.  That is one thing that may be the hardest obstacle for a kid, but as professionals every day is a new day.  We can’t pigeon-hole kids.  He gets up early and he is at school by 6:30 or 6:45 every day and does a lot of paperwork.  He writes a lot of recognition cards to kids.  Parents like it.  Kids need to be recognized.  Once the first set of kids come in he knows he no longer has control over his day.  Whatever happens, happens.  He likes to come in early to get the paperwork stuff done so when school starts he can be involved with the kids.  Perez asked the board what their expectations are of the new principal coming in.  Carpenter stated to engage the community and get them involved in the school.  They have a musical once a year and it is sold out, but they can’t even get the kids to come to basketball games and wrestling tournaments.  Perez asked if they have a Pep Club.  Years ago they used to have what they called the Blue Crew and then it went away and then they were starting to have a hard time getting kids to the games.  A couple of faculty members said they needed to get the Blue Crew going again.  And they did.  It is an informal organization and they have theme nights for the home games.  That has gotten kids and some community members involved.  And part of it is asking kids what they can do to get them involved.  He has a Student Focus Group and a lot of the changes that have occurred in the school have started with that Student Focus Group.  He does have a few non-negotiable items, but other than that anything is on the table.  He wants the students to have ownership in the school and take pride in it and take care of it.  Perez asked the board what changes they would like to see made in the school.  Whipple stated that he would like to see some additions to the Ag Vocational Program.  Perez stated that they have a very good Ag teacher in Norton and a very strong program there.  The FFA is probably the most active organization at the school.  They do a lot of contests.  That program is important and a lot of the kids that is what they are.  They want to learn to weld right and work on small engines.  They build a lot of flatbed trailers and bale trailers and take them to the state fair.  And we are in a farming community so it should be a focal point.  Whipple asked if they have livestock.  Perez stated that they do not, but the kids have their state program.  They have the livestock at their place and they keep records.  Roskop stated that another thing they are looking for in a principal is a little fire.  Someone that is going to get going.  We have offered some early retirement and have some younger teachers that need a little extra push and we have some that have been here a while and keeping them motivated and pushing our kids.  He wants someone to come in and hit the gas pedal a little bit and get them going again.  If they can push the teachers to push the kids it is amazing what they could do.  Perez stated that he asked the teachers what their biggest need was and they said they needed vision and to be held to expectations.  He thinks they want someone to push them as well.  You have a great bunch of teachers.  The scores are really good for this school.  He was telling the students that he likes to be in the hallways quite a bit and pop into classes and the kids always ask if he is checking on them and he tells them not only them, he is checking on everybody.  He wants to make sure the kids are being taken care of.  Perez asked the board when they thought they would be making a decision.  Roskop stated that they would be making a pretty quick decision and everyone will probably know by the end of the week.  It is a great time for us to move forward.  Perez stated that in Kansas they are having a hard time filling positions.  They are struggling to fill his position and it is a great place.  When he first started in education Kansas was above Nebraska and now it is the reverse.  Kansas has stagnated and Nebraska has kept moving forward which is good for the state and the kids.  We have to get kids to want to come to school and stay in school and graduate.  They don’t always see the opportunities it gives them until they are out.  In talking to the kids one of their concerns was as they get older they stop participating and to him that is the funnest time to get out and do something.  Whipple asked Perez how he feels about a one principal school versus a two principal school.  Perez stated that he was concerned when he saw that it was a one principal school because 360 kids is a lot of kids and a lot of activities for one person to do.  He was concerned.  Most schools this size have two administrators, either a head and an assistant or a high school and a grade school.  He has a lot of energy.  It probably would be easier with two people, but the right person could do it.  Roskop stated that he appreciates Perez coming in.  Perez stated that he enjoyed visiting with all of the groups and it looks like they have done a good job getting good people in and keeping them.  We have to keep giving kids opportunities and if we don’t they stop.  Schutz asked how big of a school Norton is.  Perez stated that Norton is a AAA school and he has 200 kids in the high school and there are about 100 kids in the grade school, they are about 700 as a District.  Schutz stated that there are about 40-50 kids in a class.  Perez agreed that 50 is about average.  They are talking about doing something different for his position.  It works pretty well because the middle school principal is also the AD and they do a lot of communicating because they need to be consistent with discipline.  It would be a lot easier if they had a 7-12 principal and a 7-12 assistant principal.  To him it creates some consistency.  One can do discipline and the other can do curriculum.  Whipple asked if they had a full time technology person.  Perez stated that they have 1 ½ and that is because they went one to one.  The board actually told them they could have two but they haven’t done a full 2.  The technology guy is great.  He hates to say it but now is a great time to steal great teachers from Kansas and he hates to say that, but it is true.  The mandates in Kansas are not good.  Whipple asked if any of the Student Focus Groups go out to tour any of the Community Colleges.  Perez stated that they have a college planning conference and they switch off every other year with Oberlin.  They bring in all of the colleges and they set up tables and the juniors and seniors get out early to go visit with them.  They also let the kids have days to go visit colleges.  They also have college rep’s come in to visit with kids.  He honestly really doesn’t want to leave Norton, but it is time.  It is time for a change for them and he feels like he has done all that he can do over there and he is ready for a new challenge.  Perez thanked the board for their time and the board thanked Perez for coming. 

 

A motion was made by Carpenter and seconded by Whipple to adjourn the meeting at 7:40 pm.

 

 

 

 

________________________

Respectfully submitted,

Cassie Hilker, Board Secretary