Affton School Board December Meeting Roundup

“The big news from the December open meeting of the Affton School District Board of Education was the announcement of the next district superintendent, Dr. Steve Brotherton, principal of Mesnier Primary School. That wasn’t the only topic that was addressed, however. The other business at the meeting included changes to the high school’s curriculum and appropriation of extra revenue.

The board passed an amendment to the 2010-2011 budget. Taxes have brought in more revenue than projected, allowing the board to restore some funding to programs that had been cut to deal with budget shortfalls earlier this year. An extra $100,000 will be spent on textbooks, bringing the district back on track for their long term textbook goals. $80,000 will be spent on technology acquisitions, including five smart board systems for Mesnier Primary. The district will still be a little set back from their ongoing tech plan.

Gotsch Intermediate School Principal Brian Smith brought with him two Gotsch students to be honored for being named students of the month. September student of the month Yad Baban and November student of the month Lizzie Closser each received certificates and gift cards from school board president Ron Becher. The gift cards are provided by the Affton Elks Lodge. The October student of the month was not present, having recently moved.

Also present from Gotsch was 3rd grade teacher Lydia Ross, who accepted a certificate on behalf of her class. Ross’s cousin works with terminally ill children, and the class has been making posters to decorate the rooms of terminally ill children whose families do not visit often or may just live out of state.

“I’m very emotional about it,” Ross said. “It was amazing the things they came up with to support these sick little kids.”

Director of Business Affairs John Brazeal and board vice-president Michael McNeil—a Shrewsbury resident—were chosen to be the district’s candidates for the two school seats on the Tax Increment Financing Commission for the Shrewsbury Kenrick Redevelopment—which includes the planned construction of a Walmart. Formerly the Affton School District would have two spots of their own, but policy changes now have the district sharing those spots with all the school districts in the county. The board will send out a letter to Shrewsbury and the other districts proposing their two appointments.

Also on the agenda was a change to the Affton High School science curriculum. Currently the school offers a semester-long anatomy course and a semester-long genetics course. However the genetics class is finding that there is not enough high school level material to fill a whole semester, and delving into college level material leaves some students over their heads. The anatomy course, on the other hand, rushes to complete its material in a semester.

The school board approved a proposal to eliminate the genetics course from the curriculum starting in the 2011-12 school year, and instead make anatomy a yearlong course. Genetics will still be covered as a part of the high school’s regular biology classes.

The school board also approved a motion to hire three retired Affton teachers to work one-on-one with at-risk students. According to Gotsch Principal Brian Smith, these teachers have worked with these students before, and the kids are very comfortable with them. The three will be paid using money from the school improvement fund. Their tutoring will focus on reading and writing.”

Printed in the Affton-Shrewsbury Patch on December 23, 2010

Article by Andrew Dana Hudson

Original Article

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