Replacing William Lynch Elementary School with a new building is one of the major future projects being discussed by the new Facility Planning Committee, the Salem R-80 school board was told Thursday night.

The committee formed after McKinstry, a construction engineering company, conducted a district-wide assessment of school properties last spring, discussed the results of the assessment at a meeting earlier in the week.

Superintendent John McColloch said the discussion centered on the aging William Lynch building. The assessment found electrical issues and extensive water intrusion in the ceiling and certain spots in the floor and foundation walls, along with cracks and degradation in structural supports that will have to be addressed. It concluded the building eventually needs to be replaced.

“William Lynch has a lot of issues,” McColloch told the board. “It’s an old building and very difficult to maintain.” Its issues make it “very expensive to operate,” he said.

The committee also discussed athletic improvements, specifically a new weight room and locker rooms at the high school, he said.

Since Dent County now has a hazard mitigation plan, R-80 is eligible to apply for a FEMA grant for a storm shelter that can also serve as a gym or for another purpose. “That’s a possibility too,” he said.

The committee is setting maintenance priorities that can be paid for out of Fund 4, set aside for capital projects, like HVAC and electrical improvements. A meeting also needs to be set with bonding company LJ Hart to discussing funding options for larger projects, McColloch noted.

His facilities update said an application has been submitted for a low-interest state loan program for LED lighting at the high school, middle school and Upper Elementary. The loan is repaid with cost savings from the lighting over a period of time.

The review process begins Sept. 20 with awards announced no later than Dec. 20, McColloch told the board.

The final application has also been submitted for Community Development Workforce block grant for a new Construction Trades and Computer Science building behind the high school. R-80 is one of five finalists for the grant.

The City of Salem, R-80 Schools and Healthy Dent County have been working through the Meramec Regional Planning Commission to obtain funds for the facility, starting with a grant application in April.

In other action, the board set high school graduation for 7 p.m. May 15, the last day of school, with the senior class currently at 135 students. A valedictorian, salutatorian and summa cum laude graduates will be recognized.

The board adopted a series of Missouri School Board Association policy updates, including one that allows school nurses to administer Narcan, a potentially life-saving substance used to stop the effects of a drug overdose. Police officers have been carrying Narcan for years.

Another adopted MSBA policy gives administrators increased authority to deal with parent visits to district property and events.

“When you have parents in custody disputes over children, it can get ugly,” McColloch said, and it can often spill over to elementary schools in particular. The new policy gives administrators more power to prevent such parents from coming on campus if they continue to be a disruption at the school.

Under another policy change, the district will now require an agreement with companies providing mental health counselors before they can come on campus to work with students who have Medicaid coverage. A Medicaid billing rules change last year allowed providers to start billing during school hours.

“Since that change we’ve been swamped with different mental health counselors coming in to work with kids during the day,” McColloch told the board. The new policy gives the district more say on when those visits can take place. Providers need to contact McColloch at the central office about an agreement.

The board also heard a presentation by SHS teacher Amber Pryor on the new computer science program launched this year. The initial offering is a one-semester Computer Science Principles class, with 14 enrolled this fall and 13 more in the spring. She began recruiting students for the class in May.

Pryor received her training and curriculum from Code.org, a non-profit group that aims to encourage people, particularly school students, to learn computer science. She was to attend a follow-up Code.org workshop over the weekend and plans to attend another in January.

“I think it’s a really high-quality curriculum,” she told the board. “It’s really easy to follow, it’s almost scripted. They’ve got activities planned, simulators online, videos and so it’s really thorough.” It takes students with no understanding of computer science through coding and app making, she said.

To help promote the class, she’s built up a social media presence on Facebook over the summer.

“I try to post something a couple of times a week—updates or pictures or videos of what’s going on in the classroom,” she said. “I think it’s really important to let the community know what’s happening and about the excitement, and hopefully pull in some parents and students who will feed into our program later on.”

Pryor has also formed a robotics club as a way to stir interest in computer science. The robotics team, which plans to compete in meets, has named itself Circuit Breakers and has started building a robot. Pryor is working on fundraising for the $2,500 needed for the first year.

Students are also participating in the Cyber Security Challenge through MOREnet with five teams of three students each. Only 10 of the 51 teams statewide advance. A cyber security class is planned next year with Wes Hester helping develop the curriculum, as well as a Computer Science 1 class in cooperation with SBU.

In his report, SHS principal Marty Anderson said student council has reworked student seating at home football games, moving the band into the student section. “It seems like a good experience,” he said.

Student council is preparing to host the South-Central Student Council District meeting on Oct. 18, with 700 students and advisors expected, he said.

Anderson also announced the Career & Technical Education Day at Country Mart Sept. 28. The FFA will have a petting zoo and wagon rides, FCCLA pre-school games and activities, FBLA will demonstrate robots and 3D printers and SkillsUSA will have a raffle for the Drill & Skills contest.

The student groups get a portion of the profits from grocery sales if customers present the event flyer at checkout. The event is intended to give career and technical education more public exposure, he said.

Anderson also encouraged use of the new Facebook page for Salem Tiger athletics. Parents can submit pictures from games for posting, once they are approved. More content is welcome. “Right now, no one’s quite sure what to do,” he said.

Board member Larry Maxwell reported that the newly formed counseling advisory committee held its first meeting and is formulating a mission statement. Teachers, students and parents are being surveyed on what the counseling department should be doing and any concerns.

“One thing discussed was stress,” he said. “Stress is a big part of their lives as a high school student. How they handle that and get information on how to handle that is very important.” The surveys are being redone to increase participation.

In his report on the athletic committee, Maxwell said the group is pleased with the program’s recent success.

“We’ve got a good coaching group, in football in particular,” he said. “I’m hearing good comments about the football coach and the great job he’s done. I think making a change in volleyball will also help us.”

Principals’ reports:

William Lynch Elementary

Students of the month are Chelsea Shaw, Ricky Gregg, Alena Wells-Foster, Zoey Taylor, Brentlee Easter, Sawyer Camden, Greyson Duncan, Evie Bethel, Isaac Hinderliter, Greyson Schmitt, Zeylah Norris, Serenity McCurdy, Paxton Doyle, McKinleigh Richter, Brookelyn Johnson.

The first Spotlight Assembly to recognize Students of the Month was Aug. 30. The SHS Lady Tiger volleyball team were the spotlight guests. The next Spotlight Assembly will be Sept. 27.

Grandparents Day was Sept. 6. Picture day was a reported success.

Students practiced safety drills on Sept. 18. The Country Mart fundraiser will be Oct. 3. First grade will have their mile run on Oct. 23.

The next WLE Advisory Committee Meeting will be at 5 p.m. Oct. 8 at the school. Supervision and activities for students will be provided by the SHS NHS. The focus topic will be drop-off and pick-up procedures.

The “Keeping our Learners Clean” project was approved by the Construction Trades Program and is scheduled to do done this school year.

Current enrollment: 273. MO proportional attendance rate is 91.58 percent.

Upper Elementary

UE had 92 percent of its students attending 90 percent of the time through the month of August.

August Students of the Month include: 2nd grade-Harley Camden, Henry York, Kenzie Crocker, Jett Nichols, Ryker Huff, Emmalee Camden, Michael Ruble, and Braxton Hopkins; 3rd grade-Quin Dahms, Riley Harris, Heaven McClain, Kaden Terrill, Paradyce Stringer, Gage Eplin, Dash Halbrook, and Hannah Prugh; 4th grade-Johnathan Stites, Paisley Guiles, Calyssa Parks, Aubree Grauf, Sawyer Carnell, Cassidy Coffman, Luke Christesen, and Deanna Moore; 5th grade-Alexandra Lowe, Rey Cortes, Mackenzie Radford, Ryan Cunningham, Kaylnn Dotson, Randy Stafford, Ella Dunn and Noah Foster.

SUE PIE sold 1,209 mums. They will be delivered on Sept. 23 at the UE parking lot.

Fifth grade Pizza Inn Night was a huge success. Students not only raise money for their classrooms, but also learn hard work in waiting tables, cleaning tables and customer service.

Progress Reports came out on the Sept. 13.

For the entire day Sept. 10, 10 percent of each purchase at Country Mart went toward Salem Upper Elementary. A total of $667 was raised for the building.

Third graders, their teachers and principal would like to thank the Salem FFA members, teachers, and the Extension Council for a great Beef Days on Sept. 12. The kids had a great time and learned so much about agriculture, animals and beyond. UE appreciates the hours put in to such a great day by these students and their teachers.

Student of the Month assemblies this year so far have been a success. UE is announcing Students of the Month, individual 100 ticket earners, classroom 150 ticket earners, reviewing a PBS trait and giving an example, and ending with a grade level team activity for the whole building to celebrate.

Middle School

Enrollment is 248

SMS recently had a book tasting.

SMS is conducting Edulastic online assessments.

Students of the Month are Desirea Richter, sixth grade; Bayleigh Whitaker, seventh grade; and Eli Brakensiek, eighth grade.

High School

The school board liaison is Malia Terrill. Students of the Month are Easton May and Trinity Lewis.

The Workforce Building Grant has been submitted for Round 2.

The new sports Facebook page is Salem Tiger Athletics. Everyone is encouraged to visit and post pictures.

There are 53 students are earning 344 Dual Credit hours this semester. West Plains- MSU offers one free dual credit class.

Attendance is up this year so far, with 93.6 percent of students attending 90 percent of the time. Last year the figure was 89.2 percent and in 2017 it was 90.1 percent.

Current enrollment is 574, compared to 589 last year and 604 in 2017.

In Construction Trades, Construction 2 is working on a lumber building for Roberts/Judson. Construction 1 is working on the old Fleming Building, building a new back entrance, new stairs, new bathrooms, tearing out drywall and all the electric and running new electric in the building, supporting the existing floor structure.

The introductory class is working on plans and figuring material for an 8 x 10 storage shed, building a 4 x 4 dog house for a customer, building an oak podium, working on plans and figuring material for 18 x 8 shelves for one of the teachers.

Principal Anderson is meeting with Paul Kincaid of JAG on Oct. 27 about Jobs for America's Graduates to discuss grant funded positions and at-risk populations.