School Board expected to hear update on nature school, superintendent search

Sunday, March 9, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The Columbia School Board is expected to hear an update Monday on a proposed nature-based school.

Peter Stiepleman, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, will present more information to the board about the nature school that was originally brought before the board in September.

Meeting materials

The agenda and other materials for the board's Monday meeting can be found on the School District's website.


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Columbia Public Schools would partner with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to develop and build the school building. The board is expected to vote on the partnership at its April 14 meeting; however, the April agenda has not been finalized yet, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

The nature-based school would be an alternative program for fifth-graders interested in exploring hands-on learning in nature. The students would have the opportunity to spend the year in a school located in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The school would include four classrooms, holding 100 students overall.

If approved, Stiepleman has proposed that the school open in August 2015.

Superintendent search

The board is also expected to hear an update on the search for a new superintendent. Board President Christine King will announce the two finalists for superintendent to the general public.  The two finalists — Dred Scott and Stiepleman — were announced Wednesday.

Scott is deputy superintendent for the Independence School District located just outside Kansas City. Stiepleman is assistant superintendent for elementary schools for Columbia Public Schools.

A meet-and-greet for the community, along with a moderated Q-and-A session, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Neil C. Aslin Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Neil C. Aslin Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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