Superintendent Updates

 



John Downs joined the faculty of the Hallsville School District more than twenty years ago. His first fifteen years in education were as a classroom teacher and building lead teacher, the latter focused on teacher mentoring and professional development. John accepted a central office administration position leading district curriculum and instruction in 2008 and became Superintendent in 2016. You can follow him on Twitter @HR4Supt and on his blog posts below.


November Superintendent Update


As always, our goals are to keep our students and staff safe while also providing the highest quality of education. We often get questions from parents on how they can best help us to meet these goals in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first step is to review the district's
return to school plans, which were crafted to slow and reduce the spread in an effort to keep everyone healthy and allow our schools to remain open. The second step is to continue doing our part outside of school to help reduce the spread. By working together, we can limit the impact of COVID-19 on our schools and community. 


Increasing positive cases and quarantines have the potential to halt in-seat instruction due to the number of students absent from school and staff shortages. In addition to student absences, choices made outside of school can also have an impact on continuing to provide in-seat instruction. Please help us in our ongoing efforts to both reduce the spread of the virus and also keep school in session by staying vigilant in observing both CDC recommendations and local health orders, both within and outside of Boone County. This includes ensuring your child follows guidance provided by the health department if he or she is placed into quarantine. 


We understand these protocols were not part of everyday life prior to the pandemic and can be inconvenient, but they are extremely important for the continuation of in-person learning. By working together as a community, we can reduce the spread of the virus to keep one another healthy and keep our students in school. We appreciate your continuing support and partnership.


 

John Downs

Superintendent of Schools


September Superintendent Update


While this is certainly the most unusual start in my twenty-four years with the Hallsville School District, we are well underway and the start of school has gone smoothly. It has been especially encouraging to see our return-to-school plans come to life in our buildings, and it has been inspiring to witness our students and staff take the established protocols seriously yet also in stride.


Although our response to the pandemic has been the most visible aspect of our work in recent months, a school district is a complex organization and we are always busy addressing multiple priorities. One such priority for our district, as reflected in our strategic plan, is improving our school facilities.


With nearly 75% approval, voters in the Hallsville School District passed Proposition 2 in April 2018. This ballot measure authorized the issuance of $7 million in general obligation bonds, the largest in the history of the school district. The funds allowed the district to continue with its capital improvement plan, beginning with the expansion of the primary school. Thanks to the hard work and careful oversight provided by the Board of Education, the district, and our construction industry partners, the new second grade classroom wing and gymnasium came in under budget.


As a result, the district was able to complete several additional high-priority safety projects:

  • A partial re-roofing and masonry work at the secondary building;

  • Additions of security cameras and a public address system at the secondary building;

  • Replacement of the antiquated telephone system in the intermediate, middle, and high schools; and

  • Demolition of the aging and vacant maintenance building north of the high school. 


The district is extremely thankful for the trust and support of the community to provide quality facilities for our children.



With the completion of these projects comes the time to revisit our plans and establish priorities for future capital improvement projects. Mrs. Yeagy received a grant for the free administration of a community survey to be conducted by Patron Insight. This brief survey will address a number of topics but will be primarily focused on our remaining facility needs. The survey will be distributed widely, and we hope all parents, employees, and members of the community use this tool to share your thoughts as the district plans for future bond issues and campus improvements.


The survey is scheduled to open next Monday, September 28. Please watch for communication from the district, then take a few moments to provide your view on this important topic! 

John Downs

Superintendent of Hallsville Schools

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