Lexington School Board Addresses Student Safety With New Policies

Students in Lexington are benefiting from the TeamMates mentoring program.
Torri McCracken, Lexington Middle School counselor and local chapter coordinator shared a report on the program during Monday night's school board meeting.
The Lexington chapter currently  has 68 active matches of adults mentoring students in  grades six to 12.  Seven additional mentors are undergoing training.  A long term goal set a few years ago was to have 75 matched pairs by 2017, said McCracken.  
Data from the last school year indicated 56 percent of the mentees showed academic improvement, 94 percent had fewer disciplinary referrals and 88 percent had fewer unexcused absences.
The Lexington chapter averages over 24 visits per match per year.
Established in 1991 by Tom and Nancy Osborne, TeamMates was formed in an effort to provide support and encouragement to school-aged youth with a goal to see youth graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education.  TeamMates has touched the lives of thousands of youth and currently provides a mentor for close to 8,000 youth in more than 135 communities in Nebraska and Iowa.
During the brief meeting, the board approved the purchase of a 2017 Chevrolet passenger van from Plum Creek Motors for $28,027, which was the lowest bid submitted.  Superintendent John Hakonson said the vehicle will be used for transportation for school activities and will eventually replace a vehicle with high mileage.
The board approved several school policies related to student safety as recommended by the district's legal advisors.  Hakonson said the policies needed to be updated to comply with new Department of Education rules.
The board accepted retirement announcements from two long term employees who will leave at the end of the school year:  food service manager Mary Stauffer and high school teacher Lennie Ambler.
They approved the transition of a teacher position at the Early Learning Academy from full time teacher to half teacher and half instructional coach.
They also approved an additional contract for High Ability Learner coordinator Josey Blessin to be a community liaison for the Multiple Choices after school program, which is a grant funded position.  Hakonson said Blessin now has two part-time positions.

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