NCPS Board discusses Hayward closure

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The two-day closure of Hayward Elementary on Oct. 12 and 13 was one of the discussion topics at the Oct. 11 Nebraska City Public Schools board of education meeting.

NCPS Superintendent Mark Fritch and Hayward Principal Scot Davis were among those with decision-making power who chose to close the building for two days to give the custodial staff an opportunity to clean the building and for students and staff to recuperate at home from COVID-19 to “stop the spread as best we can,” said Fritch.

Healthy staff members were to report to the school on Tuesday and Wednesday, Fritch said, adding that it was an “all hands on deck” approach to teaching on Monday after a number of staff members were unable to report Monday morning.

Classes were scheduled to resume Thursday, Oct. 14. for students.

During the meeting the board also:

Approved a 5-year lease purchase agreement of a 14-passenger bus with lift from Nebraska Central Equipment for a total cost of $81,299, including the trade-in of a 2003 Micro Bird bus;

Approved the sale of a portion of surplus technology to IT-REInc. and the sale of a portion of surplus technology to the staff and community; and

Approved having the NCHS football team opt down to Class C-1 for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons.

Also during the meeting, board members recapped the Nebraska Association of School Boards meeting that took place in Nebraska City on Oct. 6. Part of that recap involved member achievements.

For 2021, the following school board members have reached the following awards of achievement from the Nebraska Association of School Boards:

Stacie Higgins, Level IX;

Kent Blum, Level VII;

Jim Nemec and Lisa Chaney, Level V;

Nick Schmitz, Level IV;

Stephen Luther, Level III; and

Don Loseke, Level I.

NCPS principal/activities reports

Prior to the monthly Nebraska City Public Schools board of education meeting, each building principal and the middle and high school activities directors submit reports to the board.

This year, the principals are using the following format:

Guiding Principle 1: High Quality Instruction and Learning Expectations (GP 1)

Guiding Principle 2: Culture, Connectedness, and Personnel Effectiveness; Expectations, Development, and Excellence (GP 2)

Guiding Principle 3: Whole Child Focused Learning; Curriculum, Instruction, Programs, Experience, and Approaches (GP 3)

Guiding Principle 4: Communication and Stakeholder Engagement; Communication, Engagement, and Transparency (GP 4)

Guiding Principle 5: District Resources: Budget, Facilities, and Staffing (GP 5)

Following are the October reports:

Northside Elementary, Principal Brent Gaswick

GP 1: During PLC time the staff has been discussing Small group instruction and how they are utilizing the time for the most impact on student learning. This will be a continued focus as the year goes on.

GP 2: Nothing reported this month.

GP 3: This school year the NDE made a new math program available to all Nebraska schools. The program is called Zearn math and is an online and paper-based math program. The 1st-grade team is currently piloting it and they are reporting good student engagement and correlation to state standards.

GP 4: The PTO fundraiser was a big success and finished on Friday, Oct. 8 with the Fun Run. As of writing the board report, the students had raised $18,000. One of the many incentives was the principal riding a tricycle for the day. https://fb.watch/8uMw6HdD2J/

During October the students will have the Costume parade this year on Oct. 29th at 2:45 and then that evening from 5 - 7 pm PTO will be hosting a Trunk n Treat event for all PK-5 students in the NS parking lot.

GP 5: Nothing reported this month.

Hayward Elementary, Principal Scot Davis

GP 1: Oct. PLC’s- Professional learning communities discussed multiplication fact fluency

GP 2: Purple Jam on 9-30-21

Pioneers on the Move fundraiser

GP 3: Jefferson Knapp-Author visit on Oct. 21.

GP 4: EDGE Super Citizens--Fourth grade picking apples at Arbor Day Farm

GP 5: Student enrollment for the 21-22 school year

Sept: Third, 90; Fourth, 97; Fifth, 99. Total: 286

Oct: Third, 90; Fourth, 94; Fifth, 99. Total: 283

Nebraska City Middle School, Principal Ethan Pellatz

GP 1: One change for NCMS this year is the return of weekly grade-level team meetings. Due to previous schedule conflicts, these were difficult to do consistently and have now become the norm. These meetings allow staff and administrators to be more cohesive, review student progress, concerns and prepare for upcoming events more easily.

GP 2: The NCMS House system held its second House Meeting/Pep Rally on Friday, Oct. 8. Students participated in different relay race challenges and also received awards for positive referrals.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, the eighth-grade students and staff attending the annual SAIL conference in Syracuse. Students participated in a variety of activities and sessions on leadership and team building. The listed to Keynote speaker Kevin Kush on the power of taking advantage of opportunities.

GP 3: NCMS has continued working inside its new MTSS PLC process and on the early-out on September 29th. Grade-level PLC teams began utilizing the process to work through student concerns using the district’s problem-solving model. Student interventions are now being implemented and utilized to improve student outcomes.

GP 4: Parent-Teacher Conferences were held on Sept. 15 and 16. Families utilized in-person, Google Meet, and telephone conferences to meet with teachers.

Attendance: 73/118 of sixth grade (62 percent)

80/113 of seventh grade (71 percent)

47/96 of eighth grade (49 percent)

200/327 of Nebraska City Middle School (61 percent)

GP 5:First “Mester” ended and students transitioned to their next 6-week exploratory experience with the shared high school staff. I have received only positive feedback about the new offerings and our new flexibility with the increase in shared staff from the high school.

September enrollment: Sixth grade: 118 students; Seventh grade: 112 students; Eighth grade: 96 students. Total: 326 students.

NCMS Activities, Dean of Students Kaleb Walker

GP 1: Nothing reported this month.

GP 2: Middle School Band: The middle school band was able to perform Friday night at halftime of the

Varsity football game with the accompaniment of the high school marching band. This activity was a great success and a great experience for the middle school marchers to have the stage and perform in front of a large crowd.

Cross Country:  On Friday night, the Cross Country team competed in the toughest meet to date at Syracuse. In the MS boys' race, there were 94 competitors and in the girls' race, there were 72 competitors! This race distance was about 1.3 miles, which is nearly a direct comparison to the race distance at our home meet the previous week. All 5 runners were faster on Friday compared to our home meet. Here's how they fared...

JR Rico won with a time of 7:13.70, a 10 second improvement over the previous week.

Cayden Miller finished 58th with a time of 9:31.73, a 16 second improvement over the previous week.

Jayden Bailey finished in 71st with a time of 9:57.22, a 30 second improvement over the previous week.

Steven Flores finished in 77th place with a time of 10:38.65, a 2 second improvement over the previous week.

Josslyn Crispin finished in 8th place with a time of 8:29.43, a 16 second improvement over the previous week.

Football: The Junior Pioneer Football Team has seen some success this year and has

been playing and practicing hard! The A team is 2-2, and the B team is 1-3. The Pioneers take on Platteview this week and hope to improve their record. All student athletes are working hard, staying eligible, and being provided a great experience by our coaches.

Volleyball: With a new look to Nebraska City Volleyball, the teams are performing at a high

level and continue to improve each day! Because of the large number of girls wanting to be a part of the team, we have added two teams (Purple team and Gold team) to the mix. This brings a total of 5 teams to the middle school (A, B, C, Purple, and Gold). The volleyball team has a lot of action in the coming weeks with a tournament in Falls City, games in Syracuse, and two home games in a row at Nebraska City Middle School in the second week of October.

GPs 3, 4, and 5: Nothing reported this month.

Nebraska City High School, Principal Brian Hoover

GP 1: District Level MTSS members and Building level MTSS members lead grade level conversations with the goal of using “Developmental Relationships” to challenge growth in specific students. We have a specific academic goal for each student by Oct. 15.

GP 2: Student Council - On Friday, Student Council representatives went to every grade level’s recess time. They played, read, created pictures, and many other activities with elementary students. Student Council created the schedule of visits, communicated with teachers on the schedule for a complete learning experience.

Thank you to the band for performing after the game on Friday, Oct. 1, to accommodate the induction ceremony of the Honor of Fame Members.

Thank you to the Pioneer Football team and students for staying after the game to support the band.

Student Council representatives are interviewing all building and district level on ways to increase/maintain student engagement during Homecoming.

GP 3: Nebraska City High School Goal update: Current average daily attendance rate for Nebraska City HS as of Oct. 1 was 88 percent. We continue to make connections with individual students and families to increase daily attendance.

GP 4: Mrs. Vodicka has been sharing information in regards to the FAFSA information available to all seniors. We are encouraging all seniors to take time to fill out the FAFSA forms.

All teachers are administering “Student Engagement” surveys to their individual classes. Teachers will not share results with administration and will use this information to assess student engagement and make any adjustments necessary. This survey strongly correlates with the Gallup student engagement survey administered building wide in the spring.

GP 5: Nothing reported this month.

NCHS Activities, Activities Director Matt Koehler

Boys tennis: The No. 1 & No. 2 doubles teams both got second place last week at Beatrice Invite and if we are lucky both will probably get higher seeds at State. We will know next Monday.

This will probably be the lineup we take to state

No. 1 Doubles - Caleb Poggemeyer / Connor Causgrove #2 Doubles - Eli McNeely / Anthony Robinson

No. 1 Singles - Keno Schuldt

No. 2 Singles - Braydon Thornton

Caleb Poggemeyer is chasing the Most Doubles wins in a season. He is currently 18-5 and needs to get to 22 to tie Justin McElroy (1999) They need to win the last 2 regular season matches and then 2 at state.

Girls golf: Finished third at the Nebraska City Invite, and The Trailblazer Conference Tournament.

Finished third at Districts and qualified for the State Tournament.

Boys and girls cross country: Clarinda Meet: Boys 2nd & Girls 3rd. Bennington Invite: Boys tied for first, Girls third. Nebraska City Invite: Boys second, Girls third.

20 individual medals to date.

Football: The Pioneer Football Team was able to get back on the winning side of things last Friday against a tough Fairbury Jeff's team. It is always a goal for teams to start off fast and put together solid drives and the Pioneer's did just that. On the opening kickoff MJ Nelson followed a swarm of Pioneer blockers to take the kick to the house and spark the Pioneers with a 7-0 lead within the first 10 seconds of the contest. Not to be outdone, the Pioneer defense stepped up right away and caused a turnover on downs that resulted in a Bayler Poston 30 yard touchdown run. Eddie Gonzalez tacked on the extra point and within four minutes of the football game the Pioneers were leading 14-0.

Nebraska City never looked back and was able to end the first half with additional scores by Bayler Poston on an 68 yard touchdown pass from MJ Nelson, Braden Thompson on a 41 yard touchdown pass from MJ Nelson, and an additional 85 yard touchdown run by Bayler Poston. The Pioneers went to the locker room at half with a comfortable 35-0 lead on a night where Nebraska City High School was inducting its inaugural class of Nebraska City High School Hall of Fame. Eddie Gonzalez was perfect on the night (and on the season) going 5 for 5 on his extra point attempts, and Eddie also added 3 points to the board with a 27 yard field goal in the 4th quarter.

Softball: Nebraska City Softball finished the season 18-9

Volleyball: It has been a learning year, but girls are continuing to work hard and we are still trying to play our best Volleyball at the end of the year, which is always a team goal. Younger girls continue to develop and are getting a lot of playing time.

Science Club: Officer applications are due Oct. 1. Fundraiser is off to a slow start due to vendor issues beyond their control. Juniors and Seniors members were invited to attend UNK Science Day Nov.  23.

FCCLA: Currently has 15 paid members. We recently had elections: President- Jaden Leasure; Vice-President- Issy Bare; Secretary- Madisen Tietz. We are currently planning fall activities and will be attending a District Leadership Conference on October 29th at Weeping Water High School.

Expressions: The City Singers group is learning some "early" music in Latin and French, and Expressions just had their choreographer in for their first session and is busy working on their dances. First performance is Nov. 2.

Varsity Club: 30 students showed up for the 1st meeting. Going to start selling Varsity Club Cards in September.

One Act Play: One Act practices are Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-6:30. Students have been working very diligently to get their lines memorized. We are continuously working on blocking, which is exciting and frustrating at the same time. There are so many ways to block but only one that is just right! The kids are working so hard and making every practice count. This One Act is an amazing story that I am hoping ALL students will learn from. TEXTING and DRIVING!!

Speech: Starts in October

Quiz Bowl: Starts in January

FFA: Land judging last week and will be attending the National FFA Convention at the end of October.