Page 1


FALL 2013

Educating each child for success

Dr. Czerwonka Settles In Construction on New Elementary Schools SJSD Teacher of the Year


Report to the Community FALL 2013

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. Quality public schools are a great investment.



Her principal calls her a powerhouse who captures the hearts of the kids. A third grade teacher at Coleman Elementary School, Dr. Amanda-Fay Moore, the St. Joseph School District Teacher of the Year for 2013-14, describes herself as having a passion for teaching. “I absolutely love interacting with my students each day, and I feel blessed to work with teacher-colleagues and a principal who always put the best interest of our students first,” said Dr. Moore. Dr. Moore, who received the Teacher of the Year honor last spring, has been teaching for 14 years, including 10 at the elementary level. “She is a very child-oriented, nurturing teacher,” said Michael Otto, Coleman Principal. “She’s what I call a powerhouse. She really captures the hearts of the kids. And once she has their hearts, she can work with their minds. And they really perform well for her.” “Childhood comes once,” said Dr. Moore. “I want to make the most of the nine months I have with my students. I love having a part in developing their minds, instilling values, and bringing enjoyment to their childhood years.” For Dr. Moore, the best part about teaching is building the relationships with her students and watching how they utilize the thinking skills they’ve learned in her classroom, even years later. “Once they’re my students, they’re always my students,” she said. “It’s always the little things they remember. I want to make sure when they look back they have positive memories.” When Dr. Moore isn’t busy teaching third graders, she spends time with her husband, Rustin, and two children, Hudson and Felicity. They enjoy spending time together as a family and traveling. Dr. Moore


Dr. Amanda-Fay Moore, St. Joseph School District Teacher of the Year for 2013-14, has been teaching for 14 years, including 10 at the elementary level.

A Passion for Teaching

SJSD Teacher of the Year “A Powerhouse” also has a passion for music. In the past, she played with the St. Joseph Symphony; today, she plays violin primarily at weddings. She refers to it as a “lifelong hobby.” Dr. Moore began college studying violin, but soon discovered that she loved teaching. “Initially, I wanted to be a musician,” she said. “But education is in my blood.” Moore’s mother was also an educator, and Moore quickly discovered she is passionate about education. After college, Dr. Moore taught strings and worked with the youth orchestra at Missouri Western State University. Eventually, however,

she realized she wanted to make an impact on kids across multiple subjects. Teaching in an elementary classroom allows her to work with the whole child. A few years ago, Dr. Moore decided to pursue her doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was considering going into administration, but realized that her true passion was in the classroom with the kids. Some day she may use it to teach at the university level and help other teachers, but for now she uses it every day in the classroom. “Dr. Moore combines knowing about kids with learning,” said Mr.

Otto. “She is truly a professional. Every child in her room has success every day. A lot of times kids think learning is about building knowledge when it’s really about effort, and she really knows how to get the kids to put in that effort.” “Education is my passion,” said Dr. Moore. “I encourage my students to find their passions and their strengths – to focus on their passions and build on those. That is what I’ve done in my life, and that is what has made me successful.”



Q What are your first impressions of the St. Joseph School District? A It’s a phenomenal school district. The kids are great; the teachers work tirelessly to provide opportunities for their children. I am very impressed with what I have seen in the classroom. Q What are your first impressions of the community? A My wife, Wendy, and I have been so impressed. We’ve seen that St. Joseph is a community with a very giving heart. It seems that wherever there is a need, the people of this community will provide for it. Q What is the school district’s greatest strength? A The teachers – the great teachers who work with our kids. As I have visited the schools and seen the great work that is taking place there, I am so impressed with the quality of our teachers. Our children are truly being taken care of in the classroom. Dr. Fred Czerwonka has been Superintendent of Schools since July 1; in photo above, he visits with elementary school students at breakfast.

Dr. Czerwonka Settles In as New Superintendent

“Our children are truly being taken care of in the classroom.” Dr. Fred Czerwonka began his duties as the Superintendent of the St. Joseph School District on July 1. Dr. Czerwonka previously served as the Superintendent of the West Plains R-VII Schools in West Plains, Mo. He holds a doctorate in administration and educational leadership from St. Louis University, and attended the Leadership Institute for Superintendents at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Czerwonka recently sat down for the following interview.

Q You have challenged the staff to know and understand what their “why” is – what drives them as professionals – what is your “why?” A My “why” is taking care of kids – letting kids know that they are loved and appreciated and in that same vein, tending to the relationships with parents and the community. I live by my true north star of “what’s best for kids.”

Q What is the school district’s greatest challenge? A The financial challenge is our greatest challenge; that is a challenge we share with other school districts and communities. Unfortunately, districts are being asked to do more – in many cases those are mandates – with less state and federal money. In turn, that is shifting the burden more and more to local communities. That shift is forcing us to be more innovative and to work hard to find efficiencies. Another challenge that we face is our buildings – the age of the buildings is a challenge; however, the community has made a smart decision to build new schools. And that’s very exciting.



Q Is the school district on the right track? A Yes, the school district is on the right track. I am blessed to be able to stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before me. Their commitment to excellence, which I now benefit from as Superintendent, will open the doors of opportunity for generations of our kids. Q You have been meeting with members of the community, listening to their concerns and viewpoints – how will you use that feedback, and when? A That feedback, which has been invaluable, will be the core of my 100-day report to the Board of Education and the community. I will be sharing what I have learned on this “listening tour” later this fall. Dr. Czerwonka sits in on an elementary school reading class; “I am very impressed with what I have seen in the classroom.”

“We Love Cars”

Ken Smith Autobody L.L.C. 1611 Frederick d i k Ave. St. Joseph, MO (816) 279-6406 Owners: Mike & Mary Brown 75010810

Proudly Supporting Our Community, Our Schools, Our Youth Visit all of our wonderful Hy-Vee departments: FLORAL L • KITCHEN K • ITALIAN • CHINESE DELICATESSEN • SUSHI • PRODUCE • BAKERY • SALAD BAR • DAIRY • FROZEN MEAT & SEAFOOD MARKET• PHARMACY • HEALTHMARKET • WINE & SPIRITS

201 N. Belt Hwy. y • 816-232-9750 75010812


Follow us on become a fan on




Construction on New Elementary Schools Moves Forward

Top: Floor slabs have been poured; superstructure going up; elevator shaft in center of photo. Bottom Left: Hard hats and shovels await ground-breaking ceremony at Carden Park. Bottom Middle: Floor slabs have been poured; superstructure going up; elevator shaft in center of photo. Bottom Right: Grading of the Carden Park site is underway.

Something happened in April 2013 that hadn’t happened in approximately 40 years: construction began on two new public schools in St. Joseph. That work was driven by the public, who supported the no-tax rate increase bond issue by a two-to-one margin the previous April. From April 2012 to April 2013, architects were hired, buildings designed, specifications written and on

April 8 the Board of Education awarded Brooner Construction and Crane an $11,271,473 contract to build a new elementary school at 16th and Duncan streets – Carden Park. Just moments after that vote, the Board awarded Lawhon Construction an $11,928,200 contract to build a new school just north of the Cook and Bishop Roads intersection. In less than two weeks, work had begun.

At Carden Park, more than 90,000 cubic yards of dirt would be moved. At the Northeast site, approximately 62,000 cubic yards would be moved. To put that in perspective, a typical residential driveway might require 30 cubic yards of dirt removed. At Carden Park, the dirt was simply moved aside to be used later for fill; similarly, at the Northeast site, the dirt was retained for later use to help with street improvements.

As of late September, about 95 percent of the dirt work was completed, according to Chris Silcott, the SJSD Director of Maintenance and one the District’s “point people” for the projects. Rounding out the District’s team are Tad Hopkins, the SJSD Architect, and Ron Fuston, Project Manager. As the dirt work progressed, pipe was laid to manage the storm and waste water from the schools. Also


From Dirt Work to Pouring of Concrete, Contractors Push Ahead



is proud to introduce

Dr. Sara Summers-Stein, PhD Newspaper in Education (NIE) Coordinator

A St. Joseph native, Sara has degrees in Elementary Education, Higher Education and holds her PhD in Educational Leadership. ----------------------------------------------------------------What does NIE bring to your child’s classroom? •Provides the newspaper, a source of non-fiction text, to the classroom •Gets kids both community-engaged and civic-minded •Corresponds to curriculum standards set by the Missouri Assessment Program and Common Core State Standards •Gives teachers an additional, local resource and developmental training.

------------------------------------------------------Above: Grading of the Northeast site is underway. Top Right: Pipe for storm sewer is being installed. Middle Right: Rebar will tie grade beams to floor slabs. Bottom Right: The grade beams visible will support the pre-cast walls; white pipes are the plumbing rough-ins.

during this earlier stage, soil was being compacted to industry standards to accommodate the construction of the buildings. Then came the pouring of concrete for footings and foundations, and the rough-in work for the buildings’ electrical and plumbing systems. A gravel sub-base was laid, then overlaid with metal mesh to accommodate the pouring of the concrete

floor. Again, as of late September, most of the floor at Carden Park had been poured, with the Northeast floor expected to be poured into October. Probably the next big, noticeable component of work will be the erection of pre-cast walls at the Northeast site. At Carden Park, the steel superstructure – the framework on which the building will be built - is going up. “It may seem that not much is

happening from day to day,” said Silcott. “However, behind the scenes it’s incredibly busy as sub-contractors and the general contractors, the architects and us are exchanging and reviewing information, approving and confirming details and preparing for the next phases of construction. It’s quite an effort.”

Teachers can contact Sara at sara.summers@newspressnow. com or (816) 344-9066.

BUSINESSES! Sponsor a classroom! Your support is critical to student success and the success of the NIE program, locally.



SJSD Foundation Making a Difference for Students, Teachers

2221 N. Belt Hwy St. Joseph, MO 64506

816-671-1133 WWW.ATAKICKSMART.COM 75010351

Ben Byrd, President of the SJSD Foundation, says the Foundation is evaluating additional ways it can advance the needs of the school district and community.

The St. Joseph School District Foundation is making a difference in the lives of students and teachers, and taking on an increasingly important role as the school district’s partner. Ben Byrd, the Foundation’s President, says the Foundation exists for a few key reasons. “Our ‘why’ is to raise and manage private funds so that we can honor deserving students and teachers with scholarships and grants that are earmarked for specific uses by donors,” said Byrd, who is in his second year as President of the Foundation Board of Directors and is the Vice President, General Counsel at Nodaway Valley Bank. “Another ‘why’ is to provide financial assistance for gaps that the District sometimes cannot support. With the state’s school foundation formula underfunded by some $600 million, the Foundation can give District programs and services a boost. “And we can help the District afford those special programs and activities that may fall outside the traditional 75010815

curriculum, giving students and teachers participation opportunities that they might not have had otherwise,” he said. The Foundation was established in 1984 and is governed by a 19-member, volunteer board of directors. Its 501 (c) designation means that donors can not only see their contributions enhance students’ education, but be eligible for a tax deduction as well. The board’s current focus is completing the remaining fund-raising needed to start construction on the Advanced Science Research Center at Hillyard Technical Center. Upon completion of the approximately 10,000 square foot Center, students will have a distinctive learning experience with hands-on, real world training in science, technology, engineering and math. “Importantly,” said Byrd, “the Center will help boost the supply of welltrained personnel for our local animal science businesses, which help make St. Joseph the fourth largest animal science research center in the country.”

Thanks to the generous lead gift of $250,000 from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., together with allocated funds from the District and federal government, the dollars needed to start construction are close to being met. Until then, the Foundation will solicit the community for the needed funds. “Building on our traditional function of providing financial assistance to District students, teachers and staff, the Foundation is currently evaluating other ways in which it can advance the needs of the school district and the community,” said Byrd. Prospective donors may contact the Foundation Office at the Enright Center, 514 N. 22nd Street, or by calling 671-4115. More information regarding the SJSD Foundation may be found by visiting the school district web site at, clicking on the “Community” tab and scrolling down to the “Foundation” link

13-14 Budgeted Revenue Excl SFSF, REPORT TO THE FALL Federal, 2013 Other, Misc,COMMUNITY 0.27%



SJSD Revenues and Expenditures for 2013-14 Detailed

Interest, 0.51% Other Local, 6.37%

13-14 Budgeted Revenue Other State, 3.98%

Federal, Excl SFSF, 10.79%

State Formula, Other, Misc, 0.27% 35.12%

Property Taxes, 33.93%

Other Local, 6.37% Other State, 3.98%

Proposition C Sales Tax, 9.03%

The St. Joseph School District budget for the 2013-14 year projects a slight surplus of approximately $400,000. The budgeted operating revenues for fiscal year 2014 are $116.9 million, a decrease of $1.5 million from the prior year. The largest amount, 35.12 percent, comes from the state’s foundation formula. Another 33.93 percent comes from local property taxes. Approximately 10.79 percent comes from the federal government. All federal revenues are designated for special programs. For fiscal year 2013-14, the St. Joseph School District estimates that the state’s foundation formula will only be funded at 93.5 percent, costing the District $2.85 million. The budgeted revenues for fiscal year 2013 exceed expenditures by $409,492. At 78.5 percent, salaries and benefits make up the majority of the District’s expenses. Buildings and equipment account for approximately 3.68 percent, and “Other” expenses include such items as food service, transportation, utilities and other plant operation costs.

Interest, 0.51%

State Formula, 35.12%

Federal, Excl SFSF Interest Other Local Other State Property Taxes Federal, Excl SFSF Proposition Interest C Sales Tax Other Local State Formula Other State Other, Misc

Property Taxes, 33.93%

Property Taxes Proposition C Sales Tax State Formula Other, Misc

Proposition C Sales Tax, 9.03%

SJSD Expenditures SJSD Expenditures

Benefits, 19.26%

Buildings and Equipment, 3.68%

Benefits Buildings and Equipment

Salaries, 59.24%

Other Benefits, Expenses, 19.26% 17.82% Salaries, 59.24%

Other Expenses, 17.82%

Buildings and Equipment, 3.68%

Other Expenses Benefits


Buildings and Equipment Other Expenses Salaries



3500 S. Belt Hwy | St. Joseph,MO 64503 | 816-233-9149 Everything is transparent priced. No Extra Fees, No Surprises, No Gimmicks!



School Board Members Discuss Their “Why?” “Many wonderful teachers gave me a boost and helped me when I was in school, and I have always known how indebted I was to them. Now, as a board member, I have the great opportunity to pay it forward so that the district is a place of warmth and opportunity for students and staff – the way it was when I was a youngster.”

Being a member of a local school board can often be a thankless job. Board members volunteer their time, submit themselves to public scrutiny, and make tough decisions that affect the lives of more than 11,000 students and 1,500 staff members. They strive to make the school district better for our community, while federal and state agencies eat away at local control. Today, we ask our board members “why?” What is your why?

Sue Wagner

“My why - is Kids!!! Since joining the Board, I have tried to attend all committee and board meetings because the decisions made impact our students. As a board member, I believe it is my duty to look after the safety and welfare of each child, as well as to educate each child for success. Our kids deserve the best we can give them. When making a decision, I always ask in my mind … is it good for kids. This is my why - my guide and compass.” “One of my goals in life is to make a positive difference in my community. I’m a firm believer that education is a great equalizer in society. I believe the best way to impact the minds of our youth is to be a part of the educational process. Being on the St. Joseph School District Board of Education allows me to be a part of the policy making process which impacts the education of our youth. It’s an honor for me to be a representative for our community on the BOE.”

Martin Rucker

Sarah Siemens

Dr. Dan Colgan President

“I am on the school board for the benefit of all kids. Plain and simple. I want the students to receive an education which prepares them for all aspects of life and to feel like they are a priority in this community.”

“My parents instilled in me the importance of serving. I have served through my work within the nursing home industry, being a Rotarian, coaching youth sports, and memberships on several professional and community boards. I just saw the school board as a part of my service to the community. I thought my business experience, my education and my support of education, was a good fit as well as my positive attitude, and ability to collaborate well with Brad Haggard all groups could be beneficial and valuable to Vice President the board. I wanted to help the school district continually improve instruction, implement new programs, and hire and train qualified teachers who help all students succeed, while being fiscally responsible. I wanted to be a part in sustaining improvement of the buildings, ensuring a safe learning environment for all students. Just as important was my wanting to expand the openness and engagement with parents and the community. I am excited for the opportunity to work with parents, community members, district employees, administrators, and other board members to continue to better our school system for the success of our children.”

“I have spent most of my life in school – first as a student, then a teacher, a school counselor and also as a parent of three daughters who graduated from the SJSD. Schools make my heart smile! What an honor it is to teach students and to be an influence in their lives! As a board member, I want to be that positive influence at a higher level.”

Chris Danford

“I want to give back to the school system that opened many doors for me.”

Dennis Snethen



Gary Riepl - Agent 1807 N. Woodbine Rd., Ste. A, St. Joseph, MO 64506-4892 P 816-232-5404 TF 800-217-7306

We’re your Shield. We’re your Shelter.


Proudly supporting the education of our area youth. • Teacher Supplies • Educational Toys & Games • Church & Home School Needs


Pigtails ‘N Inkwells 400 South Belt Hwy. St. Joseph, MO 64506 816-232-5607 • M-F 10-6, Sat. 10-4



“No-Cost Pre-Approvals.”

Special Programs Available for 1st Time Home Buyers FHA - VA - USDA


1807 N. Woodbine Rd., Ste. C St. Joseph, MO 64506


at Missouri Western State University

Phone: 816-390-8898 Fax: 816-390-8828 FIMC #2289


This information is not intended to be an indication of loan qualification, loan approval or a commitment to lend. Other limitations may apply.

Missouri Western is an equal opportunity institution. Fall 2013

Apply online at 75010559


Report to the Community FALL 2013


A perfect moment to talk about alcohol. An alarming number of pre-teens are drinking alcohol — which makes it urgent to find every opportunity to talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. For tips on how — and when — to begin the conversation, visit:



Your best DEFENSE against the u is a FLU SHOT! TIPS to stay Flu Free at health


Contact your St. Joseph Health Department, care provider or pharmacy

St Joseph School District Fall 2013  

Report to the Community. St Joseph School District Educating each child for success. Dr. Czerwonka Settles In as New Superintendent “Our c...

St Joseph School District Fall 2013  

Report to the Community. St Joseph School District Educating each child for success. Dr. Czerwonka Settles In as New Superintendent “Our c...