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story.lead_photo.caption The New Bloomfield R-3 Board of Education had heard from district administrators about the academic gains of students in Monday Academy during its monthly meeting. Photo by File photo

NEW BLOOMFIELD — New Bloomfield R-3 Schools has been recognized with a statewide innovation award in recognition of its Monday Academy program.

New Bloomfield switched to a four-day schedule this year, inviting some students to come in on Mondays for extra support and remediation.

Each year, the Missouri Association of School Administrators rewards an innovative idea from one small school district and one large school district. This year, Monday Academy fit the bill.

"The move to a four-day school week has allowed our school to offer specific and individualized instruction to our struggling students," Superintendent Sarah Wisdom said in a press release. "This is the first time New Bloomfield R-III has won and been recognized at this level."

Wisdom learned the district had been chosen Thursday evening — shortly after the New Bloomfield Board of Education heard from district administrators about the academic gains of students in Monday Academy during its monthly meeting.

New Bloomfield Elementary School Principal Jennifer Fletcher told the board elementary participants in Monday Academy have made leaps in literacy.

For first grade participants, there was an average increase of two reading levels in the first semester. The average second grade participant improved by 7.5 reading levels and increased sight words by 19.14 percent. The third grade average increase was by one reading level with an increase in sight words of 4 percent. Fourth, fifth and sixth graders increased their average fluency by 30.5 words per minute.

For elementary students, reading levels do not correspond with grade levels.

"It's working," Fletcher said.

Between 35 and 40 elementary students participated in the program over the semester. Several students improved enough that they no longer need the remediation, Fletcher said.

"At that third, fourth, fifth grade level, if they're behind, they know that," board member Gina Clark said. "So it's not going to take long for them to be motivated when they're coming in on Monday Academy and they're seeing themselves improve."

For the younger elementary student participants, teachers set a learning goal. For the older elementary students, there's an extra level of motivation because they set their own goals.

"They had to sit down with their teacher and create the goal of what they wanted to improve on," Fletcher said.

New Bloomfield Middle and High School Principal Paul Cloudwright said his Monday remediation students have improved in reading by 1.5 grade levels over the course of one semester.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve an on-call agreement with Navigate Building Solutions to serve as an owner representative.

If over the next five years the district decides to pursue a construction project, it now has the option of contracting Navigate's services. If called in on a project, Navigate will help with the design and bid process, charging a fee based on hours. South Callaway R-2 currently uses Navigate's services.

"When you're not tied to a percentage of construction, it really gives me the incentive to give you guys the most economically efficient option," Navigate representative Cory Bextermueller said.

Wisdom said an advantage with working with Navigate is the company is more familiar with the design and construction process, as well as state and federal regulations, than school employees.

"We are education experts, but we're not building experts by any means," Wisdom said.

The board also heard about curriculum. Fletcher said the elementary school is looking in to a new math series to better meet standards without having to rely as much on supplemental material.

Cloudwright said in the future, the school might want to increase computer science and technology course offerings.

"We want to give our kids every opportunity and I think that's the next thing we need to do curriculum wise is move forward with a little bit more technology," he said.

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