The 2014-15 school year in Hannibal is off to a “great start.” That message was given the Board of Education during its Wednesday night meeting by Superintendent Susan Johnson.

The 2014-15 school year in Hannibal is off to a “great start.” That message was given the Board of Education during its Wednesday night meeting by Superintendent Susan Johnson.

“It’s been exciting,” she said.

Johnson outlined an objective for the district.

“During the 2014-15 school year we will continue to focus on the Comprehensive School Improvement strategies which continue to strengthen our focus which impact all curriculum areas,” said Johnson.

The district features 23 new teachers, according to Johnson. Overall, there are 344 certified staff and 225 support services staff.

On Aug. 11 and 12 district administrators accompanied the new teaching staff on a district tour to each school building aboard the Hannibal Trolley.

“This was an incredible experience and we received so many good comments by new teachers as well as others in the community,” said Johnson. “I really felt that it allowed us the opportunity to build school spirit and develop relationships with our new staff.”

Another pre-start-of-the-school-year highlight cited by Johnson was the appearance of Sara Wessling, 2010 Teacher of the Year and Teacher Laureate of the Teaching Channel, before a group of 130 teachers.
“This was well received and an excellent professional development opportunity,” she said.

Prior to the district workshops it was reported that Johnson personally called each new member of the teaching team.

In other business:

• Allen Gottman, maintenance director, and Jonathan McCammon, technology coordinator, provided updates.

• It was noted that on Thursday, Aug. 28, the Police Department and school district transportation staff will be involved in a joint bus safety training session.

• Gottman provided the Board an update on the district’s Energy Education Program. It’s estimated the program has saved the district over $720,000 since it was launched in 2010. The district’s cumulative greenhouse gas reduction equals 763 passenger cars not driven for a year.

Gottman praised the teaching staff’s diligence in conserving energy.

• Johnson reported that based on its preliminary Annual Performance Report the district is “accredited.” Of the five areas on which the district is rated, graduation rate and attendance are its strengths.

• Program evaluations for facilities and safety, finance and technology were reviewed. All three were rated as “above average.”

• Assistant Superintendent Darin Powell reported on revisions made to the district webpage, which was launched Monday.

“Our goal for his webpage is to be an attractive one-stop shop for students, parents, staff and community members to get to any information about our district within two or three clicks,” said Powell.

Board member Linda Clark how the revised webpage is “so much easier to use.”

Powell also gave an update on the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback,” said Powell, adding that social media is giving the district the opportunity to highlight the good things going on within the district every day that the general public may not know about.

• Rich Stilley, business manager, advised the Board that summer safety and security projects – district-wide camera upgrade, KeyScan installation at the Early Childhood Center, and new doors installed at Korf Gym and the middle school – were completed.

• Maria Mundle, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the Board that the district’s composite ACT score is 22.2, compared to the state composite of 21.8 and the national composite of 21.0.

“Our district average was above the state average in five out of six areas,” she said.

For the second year in a row the district had a larger number of students participate in the ACT since the 2009-10 school year, according to Mundle. She added that this spring, as per state mandate, all juniors will be taking the ACT.

• Approval was given the proposed tax rate of $3.60.

“We believe that levy will allow us to do what we need to to take care of students,” said Johnson.

• It was announced the district is receiving a $28,000 grant from General Mills.