The monthly meeting of M.O.S.T. was held on Monday, August 20th at the Newport Economic Development Commission in downtown Newport at 6 pm. The group is a community organization made up of community members who believe in the Newport School District and are working towards improving education, communication, morale, safety, and discipline.
The meeting began with group spokesman John Chadwell thinking everyone for the attendance. The group numbered over 70 for the evening. After thanking Jeff and Lauren Sampson for the organizing the group with a goal and focus of improving the Newport schools, due to the fact the school district cannot withstand the current rate of loss.
Chadwell recapped the five main of most concern as decided previously by the group. These included safety and discipline, college/career preparedness, teacher morale, parent morale and statistical rankings of Newport School District compared to the surrounding districts. The goal of the group is to focus on the big issues more so than individual issues. Chadwell was quick to add that individual issues are definitely important and encouraged parents to contact their school board member.
Chadwell presented to the group three requests which would be presented to the school board on Tuesday, August 21st. (Special note: During that school board meeting, the board sighted Board Policy 1.14, which prevents the board from acting on presentation and requests during the current meeting, but the items were placed on the agenda for the September meeting.)
First, the Mayor and Chief of Police want to provide a second SRO (School Resource Officer) to the school in addition to the current officer, Donnie Shulz. The officer will fluctuate between the two campuses. This officer will not be available until January, but until that point, the police department will increase patrols and check-ins. The district will be required to pay half of the officer salary at a cost of approximately $ 29,250.
Second, the group requests the utilization of a Career Coach from the program at ASU. Chadwell stated that with the help of a Career Coach the need for remedial college courses will decrease and scholarships will increase. Also, the coach can help students not planning to attend college decide on a technical program that best suits their career goals. This will supplement the high school counselor. The district will be required to pay half of the salary at a cost of approximately $ 30,000.
Third, MOST requests for a designated person, employed by the district, to be a contact to all persons expressing a transfer out of the district. In addition, the MOST group will designate a community member to also follow up with those people. This is no cost to the school district. Chadwell added that if the district can lower the school transfer of students, the additional money saved will offset the cost of the first and second requests.
In addition to the requests the group has instilled an “adopt a teacher” program for the high school, using the model introduced at the elementary level by Board Member Kathy Green. Each high school and elementary teacher are given a community member as a contact for ongoing needs throughout the school year.
The second half of the meeting was spent discussing the goals for September. Many spoke of experiences and problems that need to be addressed. The meeting adjourned around 7 pm.