The North Platte Public Schools Foundation in conjunction with North Platte Public schools is excited to announce that Kelli Spurling and Autumn Ball have been recognized as the BIG Award “Bulldog” staff members of the month to round out the 2016-2017 school year. Kelli is the English Language Learner Teacher and ELL Coordinator for North Platte Public Schools and Autumn is a Kindergarten Teacher at McDonald Elementary.
Kelli was nominated by Denise Digiovanni, Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning for NPPS. Her nomination read, Kelli has distinguished herself as a conscientious and committed educator. Kelli is effective in building wonderful relationships with students and because of that students are motivated to learn and improve. Kelli displays a joyful willingness to explore any means necessary to reach students and families.
Kelli taught at Jefferson Elementary for two years and prior to that taught in the Grand Island School district before being hired for the ELL Program. Kelli says that The ELL program focuses on providing students opportunities to practice all four modes of language: writing, reading, speaking, and listening; as well as to explore their native culture and the culture of their classmates. By doing this, students can be proud of where they came from, and where they are headed.
Autumn Ball, McDonald Kindergarten teacher was nominated by her Principal Trent Benjamin. Mr. Benjamin stated in his nomination that Autumn is an incredible educator, colleague and leader for McDonald Elementary. He considers her a “child whisperer”. Autumn has tremendous respect from her peers and continues to grow as a leader on our staff. She currently serves as a member of our CIP team and is also our NPEA representative. Autumn is a difference maker and we are fortunate to have her.
Autumn has been a teacher in the school district for 4 years. Autumn stated “I believe that all students can learn and with the right mindset and encouragement they can accomplish anything! I believe that as a teacher its my job to set the stage and teach my youngsters to believe in themselves and to never give up. Having this type of attitude will help them as they continue to grow and become lifelong learners.”
The North Platte Public Schools and North Platte Public Schools foundation developed the BIG AWARD Staff recognition promotion to provide incentives for deserving teachers and support staff. The program is designed to recognize outstanding teachers and support staff for their contributions to NPPS. The nomination symbolizes the esteem and appreciation that everyone has for our school district employees.
Teachers are rewarded with a gift basket, balloons and a gift card to the Bulldog store at NPHS. The North Platte Public Schools Foundation is facilitating the program and takes nominations from principals and administration. An overall award will be presented by random drawing from all of our award winners for the year.
All medications, including inhalers, & Epipens that have been brought to school during this school year must be picked up by a parent/guardian by on . Medications that have not been picked up by the last day of school will be destroyed. The school is not allowed to store medications over the summer. Medications will not be sent home with students.
We have a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for school board members. Let’s face it, our school boards, and school board members across this state help make Nebraska a great place to live. They have accepted the challenge of providing a quality education to the children of their local community to prepare them to be productive responsible citizens.
As parents, teachers, principals, and superintendent, we’ve been lucky to work with and for school boards all across Nebraska, and have found them all to be very conscientious, inquisitive, and dedicated to the children of their communities. One common thread of each school board we’ve worked with or for is “PRIDE” in their school and community. They understand the important connection that communities and their public schools share.
School board members are extremely accountable, just like the school districts they serve. Among all of their other duties they have to ensure their school district adheres to state mandated spending and tax levy lids; follows all of the Nebraska Department of Education “Rule 10” guidelines that are laid out for public schools to meet or exceed; maintains all of the policies that meet special education guidelines, assessment and accountability measures, and deal with more “red tape” than most folks can imagine. While doing that they must remain accountable, as locally elected officials, to their patrons to provide a high quality education for students while also being wary of the “local tax burden.”
There is much ‘chatter’ across the state as to who is to blame. School board members are not to blame for high property taxes. Low levels of state funding for education is at the heart of Nebraska’s property tax issues, not school spending.
The 2015 Legislative Fiscal Office report showed that school spending growth over the past decade was at its lowest level in the past 30 years. A number of districts have average annual spending increases of less than 1.6%. North Platte School District average annual spending is 2.02% over the last 11 years.
Nebraska ranks 49th in the country in the percentage of K-12 funding that comes from the state. Nebraskans pay the 7th highest effective property tax rate in the nation.
Our school board members don’t have a school spending problem. Our state has a “school funding” problem.
We need to reform the way Nebraska’s schools are funded, with significantly less reliance on our local property taxes.
We need our elected officials inside the Capitol including the Governor and the 49 Senators, many of whom made campaign promises of lowering your local property taxes, to stay true to their word. Let’s work to adequately fund our public schools without such an extreme over-reliance on our local property taxes.Dr. Ron Hanson