Teacher resignations and teacher hirings

Bob Foos

Thirteen teacher resignations were accepted and 13 contracts were offered to new teachers Tuesday by the Webb City R-7 Board of Education.

Those hired include a high school girls basketball coach, Grant Berendt, and a high school wrestling coach, Dallas Smith. They will both teach physical education at the junior high.

While at Mt. Vernon in 2021, Berendt coached the girls team to second place in the state. He is currently the Seneca boys head varsity assistant coach.

Smith, from Neosho, won a NCAA DII national championship as a wrestler for Ouachita Baptist University. He has been the head wrestling coach at Lindenwood University for the past four seasons. His wife, Shea Smith, is being hired as a school psychological examiner, a job she has held the past four years at Wentzville.

Getting the lead out

Josh Flora, assistant for business operations, reported that the district is meeting requirements of Missouri’s Get the Lead Out of Drinking Water Act.

The firm Environmental Works has determined the water from all drinking fountains is below the specified amount. However, out of caution, Flora said the district went beyond the requirements and tested water from classroom and kitchen sinks.

A list of those with lead content above the allowed amount are listed on the school website. The worst lead content was found in the junior high boys showers, which are not in use.

Flora $65,000 cost to replace fixtures not meeting requirements is reimbursable.

Paper tutoring program renewed

Paper, a 24-hour “great program” to help students through online chat, was renewed for a second year by the board.

Angie Broaddus, director of virtual instruction, gave a positive review of Paper, saying usage has been going up as more students and parents realize its benefits. It’s even used in the classroom. She said help with math and critique of essays are two of the main uses.

Usage spikes, she says, after parent-teacher conferences. As teachers hear the common comment, “I don’t know how to help my kid,” they recommend Paper.

Since Webb City is among the first school districts using Paper and serving as a positive example, it will receive a $60,000 discount for the coming year.

Impact of SB 727?

Since Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 727 into law (over the veto request of Southwest Missouri superintendents) Superintendent Tony Rossetti said, “We’ll have to make the best of what we’ve got.”

Although he said it’s good that SB 727 raises the minimum teacher salary to $42,000 over a three-year period, he said board members are now challenged to keep the district’s competitive hiring edge.

“It cuts our lead,” Rossetti said.

Webb City teachers currently start at $44,250. After the first three years of the state funding salary increases for districts not reaching the minimum level on their own, he said districts will be required to continue raising starting salaries annually according to the Consumer Price Index.

Rossetti said a majority of SB 727’s measures won’t take effect until the 2025-2026 school year. That gives the school board time to realize how they will impact the district.

Teacher resignations:

• Brian May, art at Webster and Bess Truman primary centers. He has taught three years in the district.

• Ashley Ebbs, third grade at Mark Twain Elementary – six years.

• Monica Pelham, speech language pathologist at Webster Primary Center and Eugene Field Elementary – three years.

• Melissa Gurley, junior high math – one year.

• Amanda Walls, junior high writing – one year.

• Shelly Dun, high school communication arts – two years.

• Kimmie Sowder, junior high social studies – 16 years.

• Lance Robbins, junior high physical education – 10 years.

• April Hurst, fourth grade at Harry S Truman Elementary – eight years.

• Taylor Edwards, fourth grade at Harry S Truman Elementary – six years.

• Abby Lett, junior high social studies – seven years.

• Tanner McNutt, hish school special education – two years.

• Andrea Dicharry, district behavior specialist – three years.

Teacher contracts

• Derek Bycroft, physical education at Harry S Truman Elementary.

• Anna Hogard, third grade at Harry S Truman Elementary.

• Payton Waits, middle school fifth grade.

• Amber Smith, middle school fifth grade.

• Dave Wiemers, high school in-school suspension.

• Jason Frerking, high school social studies.

• Grant Berendt, junior high physical education and varsity girls basketball coach.

• Victoria Overton, junior high science.

• Dallas Smith, junior high physical education and varsity wrestling coach.

• Zeke Wall, junior high social studies.

• Kaitlyn Welch, junior high counselor.

• Alycia Allen, junior high English language arts.

• Shea Smith, school psychological examiner.