At the February meeting of the Neosho Board of Education, members heard reports from several departments.

At the February meeting of the Neosho Board of Education, members heard reports from several departments.
OPAA!, the food service company that now provides breakfast and lunches for all students in the district, provided a summary of the 2017-18 school year thus far. Three breakfast choices are offered daily for students at the high school, junior high and middle school. Elementary students have two breakfast choices. At the junior and senior high schools, OPAA offers two entree choices on the main lines and two entree choices on the specialty line. They also offer a fresh salad bar as well as a fruit/veggie bar and Ala carte items.
At the middle school and all elementary schools , students can choose from three choices on the line including two hot entrees and an entree salad. There is also a salad bar provided as well as a fruit/veggie bar.
Something new this year is a "staff only" meal at all locations with an entree, sides and desserts.
OPAA! will add some new options districtwide in March. OPAA! Munchables will be an option for two days per week. Munchables were described as to-go type meals that will be boxed and ready to serve to students. The Munchables will include popcorn chicken, nachos, and pizza. They also plan to offer things including sandwich wraps, subs and along with classic PBJ sandwiches. The expectation is that kids will love the new options and will also speed up students moving through the lines.
Jackie Kenny, longtime foreign language instructor at Neosho High School, prepared the report for the department. Kenny is in her 39th year with the Neosho district. She taught both Spanish and German for three decades. Although she formally retired several years ago, Kenny has taught German part-time for seven years. She taught both German and Spanish full-time last year is currently teaching Spanish full-time. The past two years are considered an emergency basis because retirees can do so for two years. This year will be her last year in the classroom.
258 students are currently served by the foreign language department with six sections of Spanish at various levels. Last year was the last year German was taught at Neosho High School due to the difficulty involved in finding an instructor for the courses.
The other foreign language instructor, new this year, is Ms. Lafon. Lafon is a native speaker of Spanish, who spent her first ten years in El Salvador with her missionary parents. Both Kenny and Lafon are very active in professional associations and district committees.
Tammy Gunter, Special Services Director, presented a report on the program. She noted that the district's gifted program is in substantial compliance with all state requirements. Neosho High School Special Olympic Coordinator and Coach Keith Patterson contributed to the report. He noted that NHS hosted the state area district tournament in January with 391 coaches and players in attendance. He offered thanks to the many volunteers who assisted with the tournament and to the custodial staff who worked that date. This year marked the 5th year that Neosho hosted the tournament and it has grown with each year. Neosho teams will also be played in a tournament at Nevada on March 3 and in the state bowling and basketball tournaments held in St. Joseph, MO March 15-17.
A summer work experience program, a new internship program, will also be implemented this summer in Neosho. The program helps at-risk students make a transition into the workforce. Tara Marty, special education teacher at Neosho High School, has worked with the program previously in another area and she strongly believes Neosho students will benefit from the program.
The transportation department also made a report, noting that winter weather has hit harder this year than in other years with five days out thus far for winter weather. Transportation director Michelle Embrey noted that Superintendent Dan Decker, Embrey and her assistant each personally drive roads to gauge conditions before a decision is made. Safety is a top priority for students. Ridership numbers will be updated in March and a recommendation for some new buses for the district has also been made.
The technology department announced that summer projects have been lined up and will include rewiring the Jefferson Street Campus, the last building to be rewired, a new intercom/clocks/bells system for Carver Elementary, a possible camera refresh at the middle school, and ongoing work with the construction of the new Goodman Elementary School.  It was also noted that 800-900 Chrome Books used by students need to be replaced. Another 600-700 devices are also needed to expand the technology program to the 3rd and 4th grade students.
The technology director noted he would be working with the board over the next few months to determine how to meet the technology needs of the district.