Superintendent's District Update

The Falls City Public Schools held its regular monthly board meeting on February 8, 2021. Here are the highlights of the meeting.

The Facility & Grounds Update focused on the Project Committee meeting held on January 28 to consider the facility improvements scheduled during the spring and summer of 2021 and beyond. The prioritized recommendation is scheduled for board review on March 8.

The football stadium scoreboard fundraiser is moving along well. As of this writing, $18,586 has been received from donors. The latest quote for the scoreboard FB-2023 and the delay of game clocks was $26,225. The ordering process is beginning by designing the scoreboard with colors, any trusses and panels, etc. The school district hosts a few track meets as well each year and the selected model has timing into the hundredth of a second. We have been told to plan on a 10-week lead time for a summer installation.

The school district’s roofing plan requires a more extensive replacement section at North School in the near future and considerations on funding options will need to be reviewed as we near spring. An opportunity for the project committee to meet and ask questions on the needed project will be scheduled in the coming month.

Continuous School Improvement External Team Visitation this Week - The FCPS External School Improvement visit is scheduled for February 9-10. The FCPS develops and implements a continuous school improvement process to promote quality learning for all students. This process includes procedures and strategies to address quality learning, equity, and accountability in our schools. In addition, local standards, curriculum, assessment, and professional development are developed and implemented through the involvement of all staff members as part of the school improvement process. This provides quality learning experiences for all our FCPS students and to provide a solid foundation for developing and implementing our local school improvement plan.

GEER Technology Device Grant – During the fall of 2020 FCPS indicated a need for Chromebook devices in the Nebraska Department of Education’s Digital Learning Profile and Plan, and submitted a request for purchase and reimbursement of Chromebook devices. The GEER advisory team, in consultation with Governor Ricketts’ office, determined and prioritized schools and districts where student devices are lacking and need updated. FCPS was accepted for 300 Chromebook devices valued at $84,000 through the Nebraska GEER device process. The vision of these funds is to provide devices where the need is greatest in our school district.

COVID-19 School Update - ESSER II Fund Allocations: The Nebraska Department of Education awarded more than $58 million last spring through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed into law, which provides Nebraska K-12 education with an additional $243 million for an ESSER II Fund. This new funding is more than four times the initial award under the CARES Act and intended to help the Nebraska Department of Education and Nebraska public school districts to restore and maintain high-quality learning environments and take comprehensive action to mitigate the unprecedented learning loss that many of our most vulnerable students have endured. The Nebraska Department of Education has released the LEA ESSER II Fund allocations for the Falls City Public Schools totaling $621,626. School districts can expect to apply for their allocation of funding and start receiving funds within the next several weeks, or after all ESSER I funds have been expended.

The current public health guidelines and the most recent DHM for schools remains mostly unchanged and the FCPS will continue to follow the health recommendations of the Southeast District Health Department’s public health guidelines for masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene. This is particularly important with students attending school and we intend to continue our vigilance. These measures are the best way to prevent outbreaks in the school setting and reduce virus transmission. The mask requirement will stay in place as long as possible to keep our schools open, reduce transmission and protect our staff and students district-wide. The vaccine for school staff is not available at this time based on the Governor’s Vaccine Plan. Additionally, the principals reported on the current status of COVID-19 student and staff impact with 2 COVID-19 positive cases and 5 individuals under a directed quarantine due to close contact exposure.

The District 56 Board of Education acted on several items before concluding the regular meeting.

1. Approved board policy reviews on final readings Final Reading on Policy Reviews and Revisions: 1) 5312 Bidding for Construction with Federal Funds; 2) 5313 Design-Build Contracts; 3) 5314 Construction Management At-Risk Contracts;  4) 5420 School Meal Program and Meal Charges.
2. Approved the Master Teacher Contract 2021-2022
3. Approved Teacher Employment Contract for Sharon Underwood (Middle School Social Studies Teacher)

The next regular monthly Board of Education meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2021, at 6:30 P.M. in the Central Office in Falls City Middle School. Regular and special meeting agendas are kept in the Office of the Superintendent, Tim Heckenlively.

Falls City Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status or economic status in its programs, activities and employment.