Upgrading bus barn conditions is among capital improvement projects for 2024-25

Webb City R-7 Board of Education members discussed planned capital improvements for the next school year Tuesday during their regular monthly meeting.

Upgrading the bus barn is the largest project.

Increasing security at two more school buildings by installing double entries is another project. The buildings still due for that are Webster Primary Center and Madge T. James Kindergarten Center.

The board approved a three-year financing agreement with Apple for new laptop computers and cases for elementary teachers. At the end of three years, the district will be able to purchase all of the laptops for $1. The deal is part of a cycle of computer purchases for students and faculty.

In other action, the board:

• Approved advertising for candidates to fill a new position, assistant financial officer, before the end of this school year to smooth the transition when Tim Workman retires in 2025 as the director of finance.

• Approved a $7,500 contract with Solution Tree to provide a professional development speaker specializing in Professional Learning Community. Byrd likened PLC to “sharpening the pencil” as educators make sure they are engaging every student.

• Approved a contract with Marzano Research to use data from the district’s alternative assessments to determine if they are equivalent to the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test.

• Accepted faculty retirement letters:

– Dana Perry, art teacher at Eugene Field Elementary. Seven years with the district.

– Leigh Ann Goswick, Title I instructional coach at Webster Primary Center. 33 years with the district.

– Jill Short, district instructional coach. 32 years, 20 of which were with the district.

– Aimee Cooper, process coordinator. 30 years with the district.

– Janel Smith, high school math teacher. 25 years, 20 of which were with the district.

– Tracy Metcalf, Title I instructional coach at Madge T. James Kindergarten Center. 30 years, 17 of which were with the district.

– Rhonda Lawrence, high school girls physical education and training teacher. 30 years, 19 of which have been in the district.

• Accepted resignations from:

– Reagan Hayes, kindergarten teacher, Madge T. James.

– Joseph Dankelson, high school social studies.

– Casee Steere, early childhood special education at Heritage Preschool.

– Aaron Snow, physical education/health teacher at Mark Twain and Harry S Truman elementary schools.

– Taylor Roderique, junior high eighth grade communication arts.

– Paige Bordewick, junior high eighth grade ELA teacher.

– Darby Reynolds, third grade at Harry S Truman Elementary.

• Voted to offer a contract to Ragan Neece as a high school theater teacher.

• Was reminded that the Webb City R-7 Foundation Honors Banquet will be March 26 and the MAP banquet will be April 1.

Allison Pope receives support from Central Office while source of offensive tweets on her deleted account is being investigated

REPORTING CORRECTION: The school district learned of the tweets and retweets before the story appeared in The Turner Report. It did not learn about them from The Turner Report as it was initially written. 

Byrd says he is not accusing any staff members of spreading the story.

Despite the discovery of some “not very kind Twitter posts” on the account of Allison Pope, his recently hired successor, Webb City R-7 Assistant Superintendent Brenten Byrd says he is 100% supportive of her.

Pope was hired last month by the School Board to succeed Byrd in his role as the district’s instructional leader – while Byrd is succeeding Tony Rossetti as superintendent.

Byrd says the matter of the offensive tweets and retweets on X (formerly Twitter) came to light last week and an investigation was begun.

He says Pope maintains her account was hacked and has shut it down.

Byrd has asked the district’s technical department to investigate the source of the offensive posts. After reaching some dead ends, he says the district is asking X to further the investigation.

A day after the situation was discovered, Byrd sent an email to the entire staff about the situation.

Byrd says he is not accusing staff members of spreading the story.

Pope is finishing her seventh year as superintendent of the Hurley R-1 School District.

Byrd says that after all the supportive letters and emails he has received from Pope’s colleagues at Hurley that he is 100% sure that she is an “upstanding mentor and educator, loves kids and will help any kid.”

Pope has visited Webb City schools three times since she was hired. Prior to becoming superintendent at Hurley, she was the junior high principal at Aurora for five years. She began her career in the Kansas City area. At the height of those years, she was an assistant principal at William Chrisman High School and vice principal at Winnetonka High School.