PHOTO ABOVE: Superintendent Tracy Bottoms prepares for an upcoming meeting. This will be Dr. Bottoms’ second year as superintendent for the Monroe City School District.
After completing his first year as superintendent of the Monroe City K-12 School District, Dr. Tracy Bottoms is already prepared to come back for round two, which includes planning several changes to provide ample time for faculty to address the growing needs of the student population.
Bottoms has 13 years of supervisory experience including 6 years as a superintendent, and a total of 22 years in the educational field. He has worked at multiple school districts including Paris, Moberly, Keytesville, and currently Monroe City.
This previous school year, the idea arose about the possibility of a four-day school week and has been a hot-topic for community members in recent months. Bottoms explained that this idea didn’t immediately start as a four-day week. The district’s Frameworks Committee has been discussing betterment changes for several years.
“On top of federal mandates, state mandates…we are seeing a huge increase in our special education population and an increase in children with diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues,” explained Bottoms. He also said that the school district has had increases in the free or reduced lunch population, single family homes, and foster care.
Monroe City High School expects almost 80 incoming freshman for the 2017-2018 school year. Bottoms attributes the spike in enrollment to the town’s close proximity to larger cities, new area jobs, and its ability to provide care to those with special needs.
They currently have Megan Moss, a behavioral analyst on staff but, according to Bottoms, it takes the analyst time to delve into each kid, their family, the problem, and a solution.
Many schools in the area have already put a four-day week into place. Schools with such include Montgomery County, Wellsville, Community R-6, North Calloway (starting in the fall), Holliday, and Harrisburg.
After sending out and receiving back surveys, the Monroe City School District had a community meeting on May 25 that addressed a majority of concerns. You can find the link to the community meeting information PDF on the district website: www.monroe.k12.mo.us.
Bottoms does not see the school district moving ahead with the four-day week. However, he did admit, “I do think it is something we will continue to monitor.”
He also believes that there will eventually be some type of calendar modification to accommodate better professional development, but doesn’t know the specifics at this time. The current 2017-2018 calendar was adopted March 13 of this year and was revised April 10.
“Right now we are gearing up towards a bond proposal in another year or so,” said Bottoms. He is hoping that the district will be able to renovate or rebuild the elementary school. The current building was established in 1923, with only minor renovations to date.
Bottoms plans on spending this upcoming school year prepping to make the bond proposal possible. “The building is worn. It is just time.”
Disclosure: Article and photo were published by Danielle Wheelan while working at the Monroe County Appeal.