A Tradition of Success.

That’s the new motto for Dawson Springs Independent Schools.

After several months of preparing, Superintendent Lenny Whalen presented the motto, a district mission statement and a vision statement to the school board at its regular meeting Monday night.

The board — Chair Vicki Allen, Vice Chair Tracy Overby, Lindsey Morgan, Wes Ausenbaugh and Kent Dillingham — approved all unanimously.

Whalen came up with the three pieces with help from various focus groups as well as a survey. Ninety-six % of the 144 respondents liked or somewhat liked the mission statement; 94 % liked the vision statement and 92 % approved of the motto.

During an audit of the district and the elementary school last school year, the Kentucky Department of Education said a motto, mission statement and vision statement were lacking.

The mission statement as approved by the school board Monday was: The mission of the Dawson Springs Independent School District is to educate, empower, and equip every student to be transition ready, college and/or career ready, and life ready.

The vision statement OK’d was: The vision of the Dawson Springs Independent School District is that every student and family become lifelong learners and that each grows and flourishes as a responsible, productive and engaged citizen within our complex, ever-changing world.

One of the district’s students took a big step in acting out the statements when he was presented his diploma after completing the Access Academy.

Ethan Daniel Fain donned a purple graduation grown, received his diploma and shifted his cap’s tassel from right to left during the meeting Monday night.

Charles Allen Abbott also completed the Access Academy.

School board members, most of whom are Dawson Springs graduates, were recognized at the meeting with refreshments and gifts from the district and the schools. January is School Board Recognition Month.

The board will meet again in regular session at 6 p.m. Feb. 17, in the board conference room.

In other business, the board:

• re-elected Vicki Allen as chair of the board for a two-year term, re-elected Tracy Overby as vice chair of the board for a two-year term, and re-appointed Debbie Smith as secretary and Amanda Almon as treasurer.

• recognized fine art award winners. The elementary school winner was third-grader Levi Stanley for his piece called “Champion.” Tavionna Thompson, a sixth-grader was also an award winner for her work with texture in “Colornado.” Lyndsie Morse, a high-schooler, was recognized for her “Old Time Rock and Roll” piece.

• heard from Elementary School Principal Jennifer Ward, who had reports of growth in the school. The students had mock KPREP tests in the fall and then again right before winter break. The second test had the same number of questions and time limits as the KPREP and featured more rigorous questions written by the teachers. There was growth in reading and math.

As far as regular classroom instruction goes, the students were tested on reading and math through the iReady program. At every level and in every subject, the scores increased significantly. For example, kindergarten students in Tier 1, the highest level of instruction, went from 11 % in the fall to 69 % in the winter. The %age of students in Tier 1 in math went from 9 % in the fall to 51 % in the winter.

Ward said the rigor of the instruction will continue to increase.

• listened to Jr./Sr. High School Principal Todd Marshall. He also reported growth in CERT results in all subjects: reading, math, English and science.

• heard the attendance and enrollment report from Director of Pupil Personnel Kent Workman. District enrollment sits at 549 and attendance is at 93.91 %. Workman said the attendance hasn’t been that low in a while and he is hoping the students are able to shake these viruses going around.

• listened as Technology Coordinator Laura James updated it on technology and E-Rate. James is working on a proposal to have the core switch replaced in the district’s system. Once she learns how to fill out forms, the district will be able to complete the project with 85 % of the funding to come from the program. The district would be responsible for $4,000 of the $30,000 project. The board will hear the proposal at an upcoming meeting. No action was taken.

• was updated on the Title IX report made after a visit made by an assistant commissioner from Kentucky High School Athletic Association in November. The report states that the school spends more on travel and food for boys teams and that a regulation for athlete recognition should be written. Marshall said the lack of spending balance is because girls and boys teams rotate each year going to tournaments or other activities.

• heard from Chief Academic Officer Larry Cavanah, who said this time of year is focused on instruction leading up to testing. This year, KPREP has changed and sophomores will test, the ACT is being used for transition readiness and the students will take a test on quality of environment.

“It’s an all-new ball game,” Cavanah said.

• heard Whalen read a news release regarding spirit week decorations causing a controversy. Whalen said some inappropriate decorations were added to a hallway display.

• approved the treasurer’s report, which showed a general fund balance of $1,591,521.43, and approved the 2020-21 draft budget. Almon said more budget work will be presented at the March meeting.

• approved meeting dates for 2020 for 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the board office. Exceptions include June’s meeting and January 2021. Board meeting dates for 2020 are: Feb. 17, March 16, April 20, May 18, Thursday, June 18, July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 23, Dec. 21, and Monday Jan. 25, 2021.

• approved 2020-21 staffing policies as carried over from 2019-20 with potential changes based on funding and budget reductions.

• approved to entertain sealed bids (weekly quote) for campus lawn mowing, trimming and landscape maintenance to begin March 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

• approved to accept KETS 2020 second offer of assistance to escrow $5,585 up to three years.

• approved to use capital outlay funds to purchase a new voice-over-Internet-protocol phone system off the Kentucky bid list to replace current phone system.

• approved updated and revised Response to Intervention plan.

• acknowledged personnel action: Lauren Sturnick was hired as a substitute teacher/instructional assistant.

• entered into closed session pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.810(1)©: discussions of proposed or pending litigation against or on behalf of the public agency. Whalen added, “But we are not being sued.” After entering back into open session, he said no action was taken.