Approval of the school calendar for the 2006-07 school year, discussion of the Junior High wrestling program for the current school year, and the readings of some policy changes were the highlights of the regular monthly School Board meeting at Aurelia on Monday.
In administrator reports, Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine reported that the parent-teacher conferences had an attendance of 99 percent of the parents of the elementary students. She also said that the students in grades 3 and 4 had visited Sunset Knoll that afternoon, in conjunction with Children's Book Week. The students paired up and read some of their favorite books to small groups of Sunset Knoill residents.
Sandine stated that the elementary school is giving out attendance awards to students for each nine-week period. These will be awarded to students who have missed no more than one day for the nine-week period. For the first such period this year, 65 of the 100 students will be given this award. Sandine also reminded everyone of the Elementary Music Program on Thursday, Nov. 17.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that attendance so far this year has been outstanding. The high school as a whole has a 97.43 percent average daily attendance, with the freshman girls leading the way with 98.7 percent average daily attendance. Grades are also high, with 59 percent of high school students on the honor roll for the first quarter, and 9 percent of the students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Hickman also congratulated Grant Peckenschneider's government class on their excellent Veteran's Day program. An estimated 100 people from the community attended, in addition to school students and faculty. About 35 guests stayed after the program for lunch at the school.
Hickman said that the senior class leaders will be on the agenda at the December meeting to request an open campus for seniors in the second semester. He also mentioned that Dec. 12 will be the Middle School Winter Concert, and the Board determined that the regular December Board meeting, which is also scheduled for that evening, will start earlier than usual, so that Board members may attend the concert. At this time, they are looking at a 5:30 p.m. start.
Other items of interest: Hickman said that the monthly school calendar function is again up-and-running on the Aurelia school website, and that he keeps it up-to-date as changes occur or new activities are added. The Aurelia school will serve as host for the Aurelia Commercial Club coffee on Wed. Nov. 16, in honor of American Education Week. The coffee will be held in the high school library.
The Fall Athletic Banquet will be held on Nov. 21 in the gymnasium. Students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving vacation, and return on Monday, Nov. 28.
Superintendent Tom Vint reported that the school had received a rebate from their health insurance carrier, which will be applied to the rates for the 2006-07 fiscal year. The result is that the school's health insurance premium for next school year will be reduced by $4,015.19. Vint also said that the Middle School Student Council is sponsoring a food drive this month, with all food collected being delivered to the Mid-Sioux Food Pantry in Cherokee in December. The class which collects the most food will receive a prize.
The School Improvement Advisory Committee had their first meeting of the school year, and will hold their second meeting this week, on the 15th.
The Department of Education will be making a site visit to the Aurelia school Feb.14-16, 2006, and Vint feels that the school should do well. They will be interviewing staff and school board members, and Vint will set up a schedule for these interviews.
Vint also spoke about staff using school vehicles vs. using their own vehicles and receiving mileage reimbursement. He believes that using school vehicles is best for two reasons -- the operating cost per mile is much better and the school insurance covers drivers of the school vehicles. Drivers of their own vehicles leave themselves open to additional litigation if they have an accident. Aurelia school policy is that all Aurelia students and employees who are attending a meeting or activity on behalf of the school are expected to use a school vehicle. The only exception to policy would be if there are no school vehicles available.
Sandine presented a group of five high school students who attended a conference in Ames called "The Road Less Traveled". This presentation talks about women pursuing careers in "non-traditional" (for women) areas dealing with science and math. The students - Courtney Glienke, Jodi Husman, Megan Janssen, Chrysta Cmelik and Kaitlin Sandine, thanked the Board for allowing them to attend the conference and each described a presentation they attended. The reports sounded like it was an educational and entertaining meeting.
The Board then went into closed session to deal with a student who was requesting to have their eligibility reinstated. The Board met with the student and his parents, then went back into an open session, at which it was moved that the student's eligibility be reinstated, in line with school policy.
It was announced that two members of the School Foundation, Jack Galvin and Rhonda Handy, have terms which are expiring, and some candidates for filling those positions were suggested. They will be contacted and when two people have agreed to serve, they will be appointed by the Board.
The first reading of the amended School Policy regarding dogs and other animals on the school grounds (Policy 606.3) was read. Second reading will be at next month's meeting, and, if approved, this will become the policy. With the exception of guide dogs for the vision-impaired, permission from the principal must be obtained before any animals are allowed on the school grounds.
Two options were submitted for a 2006-07 school year calendar. The first option was basically the same as this year's calendar and the second included a three-day spring break in March. Easter break would be cut back from three to two days (Friday and Monday), and the school year would end two days later, but still prior to the month of June. The Board voted, 4 to 1, to approve the second calendar, with the Spring Break.
The Talented and Gifted Program for students in grades 3 -- 8, under the direction of Mary Brinkman, was revised, and the revision was approved by the Board.
Discussion was held concerning what to do with the Junior High wrestling program this year. The season begins in January. Aurelia will have only 3 to 8 boys out, and Alta has said they would be willing to bring our students into the program. Alta has 13 or 14 boys who will be going out, and the Alta coach has asked for an assistant if he will have more than 14 athletes, which he would if Aurelia joins the program. The Board will continue to explore the situation and provide an answer to Alta by the next Board meeting on Dec. 12.
Vint and the School Board members will be attending the annual State School Board Convention in Des Moines this Thursday and Friday (Nov. 17-18). The School Board members plan to make their annual visit with students and staff at the school, probably in December (date to be determined). Final discussion concerned next steps on looking into sharing. Some of the suggestions included a January retreat, a Feasibility Study, and inviting the state legislators representing the district to a meeting to discuss the sharing issue.