The Superior Express -

Tie vote defeats mask repeal motion for Superior Schools


April 15, 2021

Members of the Superior Board of Education met Monday evening in regular session. They presented a glass apple to both Allison White and Diane Kile. White is the upper level music and band instructor and Diane Kile is a longtime second grade teacher. Kile is the most recent Superior teacher of the quarter.

The board of education accepted recommendation from Supt. Marty Kobza to hire five new certified staff members. Ashley Wulf will serve as a middle school special education teacher. A Guide Rock resident, she has been employed as a preschool paraprofessional for five years and as a long-term substitute.

Audrey Arsenian will replace Jackie Porter as a school counselor. Arsenain plans to graduate in May from the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she is pursuing a master of science in education, school counseling. She has a passion for families and comes with a variety of experience. However, it will be her first time as a school counselor.

Nelsen Peterson has traveled the world and has become a well respected substitute in Superior. He has published two books relating to the contemporary view of historical events involving discovery and expedition. He holds a degree in secondary education with and emphasis in history and an endorsement in social studies. From 2009 to October of 2019 he was part of the Lincoln Public Schools where he was the head cross country coach and a distance coach.

Kate Elting was hired to teach third grade. She has recently married and lives in Hebron. She also has taught third grade in the Lincoln Public Schools. There she designed and implemented Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings.

Randall Lock will come to Superior from Alamosa, Colo., He was hired to teach middle school and high school physical education and to be the head volleyball coach. His experience includes being a student assistant for the women’s volleyball team at the University of Nebraska.

The board accepted the resignation of Sonia West. She will be moving to join her husband. She is a first grade teacher.

March expenditures from the general fund in the amount of $578,604.56 were approved.

The substitute teacher salary rate was increased from $110 per day to $115 per day.

A contract with ESU 9 for $209,242 was approved. It is higher than this school year because the district will once again be contracting with ESU 9 for speech language pathology services.

After considerable discussion, the mask mandate remains in place. Matt Bargen moved to lift the mask mandate. Jason Jensen seconded the motion. It died on a split tie with Sullivan, Jensen, Bargen voting yes and Luke Meyers, Brad Biltoft and Peggy Meyer voting no. The school currently has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 : one in the middle school and one in the high school.

Dr. Leibel was granted permission to speak during the discussion. He said, “It worries me when we have it in school. We have two ways to fight COVID-19: masks and vaccine. We don’t have vaccine for youth. I hate to see us mess up.”

Sullivan asked Leibel what he was seeing related to COVID-19 and youth and who he was concerned about.

Dr. Leibel said, “Youth do not get tested because generally they have it without symptoms, but they take it home to their parents. We have seen one person get COVID-19 twice.”

Support staff confirmed that all staff members who want to receive the vaccine will be fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second shot) by May 11. Seventy-four percent of the staff have been vaccinated.

Bob Cook said, “We had substitute teachers tell us that they will not be able to substitute if the mask requirement is lifted and we already have a difficult time finding enough substitutes.”

He also reported several seniors had come to him asking that the mask requirement not be lifted as they were afraid they might not be able to have prom or commencement.

Meagn McMeen, the school nurse, pointed out that the district is once again in orange and the guidelines the district agreed to follow early in the pandemic state that masks are required.

Sullivan responded that they are just guidelines and not mandates.

Doug Hoins, elementary principal, said, “We have had no cases of flu this year in the elementary school and we usually have 15 or more confirmed cases of influenza A or B.”

Sullivan said, “Then we could argue that we should wear masks forever. When is this ever going to stop? At what point do we get on with life?”

Luke Meyers said, “That is a discussion we have next year. These walls are different than what we do personally. What people do outside these walls are on them.”

Peggy Meyer agreed, “We have too many active cases. This is a different environment.”

The principal reports focused on testing and a recent tornado drill. Hoins also reported that more than four dozen donuts were given out to dads on “Donuts for Dads” Day April 1. That day, dads are encouraged to bring their pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students to school.

The elementary third quart PBiS pizza party was held March 26 for 15 students. Names are drawn from a pool of students who have received no behavior reports during the third quarter. Those students get to attend a pizza party. This year PBiS quarterly assemblies have been recorded and sent to classroom teachers to show in their classrooms.

Cook reported that during the spring semester, 22 students will earn credit for 39 college classes. Twenty-four will be for dual credit for classes taught at Superior High Schools. These classes are calculus, English composition and appreciation in literature.

Seven students are enrolled in certified nurse assistant (CNA) class.

“I have never known of one of our students to fail the CNA training. Meagan (McMeen) does an excellent job with it and if they miss something, she is out here helping them,” he said.

Supt. Kobza reported on the accreditation visitation last week. One member of the team also served on the Superior’s 2016 accreditation team. He said, “It is like night and day difference.”

Another said, “I am jealous. I wish my district were where you are at.”

Both were referring to the phenomenal changes which have come with professional learning communities and the implementation of curriculum alignment.

Supt. Kobza said, “It is a tremendous amount of work. The teachers have been grinding and the staff are feeling implementation fatigue. When you see a teacher, thank them!”

“The principles have taken on things they had never done before too and I would also like to thank the board of education for your vision to make this happen.”

Biltoft, a member of the accreditation team, said, “It was my first time to be part of the process. I was impressed with the positive attitudes, even with all the work.”

Bargen, also a member of the accreditation team, was also impressed by the positive comments from the visiting team.

The board entered into an executive session to discuss the acquisition of property.

They expected to the tour the performance gymnasium after the meeting. The final finish was applied to the gymnasium floor late last week.


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