Several "good news" items were presented at the regular Aurelia School Board meeting on Monday evening.
Enrollment has risen in the elementary, middle and high schools. The elementary school (TK - 4) has a net gain of five students since school began in August, according to Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine.
Superintendent Tom Vint has received two open enrollment requests from Cherokee Middle School students, and these will put Aurelia on the "plus side" of open enrollment for the first time in several years.
Vint said there have been several new students enter the Aurelia school system this year. The enrollment reported to the state in September was 304, but there are now 313 students enrolled.
Additional good news came when Vint reported that the Aurelia School Foundation has made the following purchases for the school:
- One 32" color television for the Middle School
- Two DVD/VCR recorders - one for the elementary and one for the high school
- One digital camcorder, for use by all grades
These purchases totaled $875, and the administration and Board expressed their gratitude to the Foundation for these additions to the school programs.
Sandine said that attendance in the elementary grades continues to be excellent. She reported that 56 elementary students will receive awards for having one absence or less.
Report cards were sent home last Friday for third and fourth grade students. Results of ITBS and DIBELS testing will be shared with parents at conferences on Feb.16.
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Wilkinson will be having a student teacher from BVU , Reeann Marra, in her classroom from Jan. 26 until March 22.
Elementary students are excited about interactions with residents at Sunset Knoll. The third and fourth graders recently read their favorite stories to some of the residents, and on January 19, first and second graders have been invited to share in a "Winnie the Pooh Celebration" with the residents. The first grade will also be there on Jan. 24 to sing.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that high school attendance is also running very high, with an average of 96.86 per cent for the entire high school, an increase of 0.77 per cent from last school year.
Hickman reported that the high school currently has 13 students registered for PSEO (Post Secondary) classes, for which they earn both high school and college credit. One of these courses, Calculus II, is presented by Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo oveer the ICN, and the other classes are taken online, over the internet. The classes are proctored at the school, and cover a wide range of subjects , from personal finance to foundations of education , to jazz appreciation.
Hickman also said that three students from Cherokee come over for Tim Limbert's A+ computer repair class. Five Aurelia students are also in that class.
The results of student achievement tests were reviewed, and they were very positive overall.
Superintendent Tom Vint reported that a main water line broke at approximately 12:45 p.m. on December 20. The line runs under the handicapped parking spaces east of the school. Temporary measures were put in place that day, and local plumber Bruce Bonneson responded quickly to te emergency as well, fixing the pipe before the home basketball game that evening. Sand was placed in the hole as a temporary measure, and a barricade has been placed around it. In the spring, the plan wll be to cover the hole with asphalt. However, said Vint, some consideration should be given to replacing te pipe as one of the summer projects. Bonneson reported that the pipe is pitted and shows a great deal of rust.
Vint also said that the surveillance camera sytem server had been repaired and was back in service.
Mid-American Energy plans to be at the school for an energy audit on January 26, and will provide advice on saving energy costs in our buildings. The bill for natural gas jumped 65 per cent from last year (December bill), and the overall utilities were up 19.6 per cent.
Ann Sandine presented a demonstration of the Choices career exploration program to the Board. This program has been used in the school for several years, but is now available in an online version, and Sandine says this has been a wonderful tool for career exploration with students. She uses the program with elementary students as an introduction to career exploration, but the program also has a career guidance component, which is used with twelfth graders.
The Board discussed the upcoming Board Retreat , scheduled for Thursday Jan. 26, from 1:30 - 5 p.m. Joanne Smith, superintendent at George-Little Rock, will share her expertise on district sharing with the Board and Administration.
Superintendent Vint presented a list of sixteen possible summer facility and transportation projects to the Board. Some of these included repairing the wateer main, replacing a route bus, ew floor covering in the lunch room, padding for the edge of the stage, and new,plastic bleachers for the west side of the gym. No decisions were made, but the Board Property and Maintenance Committee, Jim Hultgren and Keith Glienke, will meet with administartors and report their recommendations at the next Board meeting. One of the other projects to be considered is a new weight room, and Vint presented a letter from the Septagon Construction Company in Grimes, Iowa, discussing a Butler steel building they recommend. This buuilding, 60' by 40', with a concrete floor, restrooms,possibly kitchen facilities, and/or a couple of showers, would cost around $50/square foot.
In personnel matters, Jerry Sandine has offered to teach Driver Education again this summer, This was approved by the Board, as was an increase in fees for the course from the present $190 a student to $200, to help pay for increased gas prices and an increase in the instructor's salary. The class had 29 students last summer, and it may be slightly smaller this year.
Vint presented the schedule for the site visit by the Department of Education on Feb. 14 - 16. Some sample questions typical of such visits were also presented. Vint feels the school is in "pretty good shape" for the visit.
A joint board meeting with Cherokee had been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 16 , but one of the Aurelia Board members had a conflict, so this has been tentatively rescheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Cherokee Middle School library. This meeting, as was the meeting with the Alta Board in November, is part of the Aurelia Board's "fact-finding" process in pursuing possible sharing opportunities
The meeting went into a closed session for the annual job evaluation of the Superintendent.
Following this, the meeting again went into open status for some board discussion before adjournment.
The next board meeting, on Feb. 13, will begin at 5 p.m. because of the girls' basketball tournament game scheduled for 7:30 that evening.