Aurelia School Superintendent Tom Vint reported that Aurelia students will have three make-up days this spring, two for "snow days" and one for the funeral of student Jacob Dreier.
These days will be made up on April 13, May 24, and May 25. The last day of school for students will be May 25. Teachers will have their end-of-the-year workshop on May 26.
Vint reported this at the monthly Aurelia School Board meeting Monday. He also reported that an additional staff development day outside the regular contract period, has been added to the teachers' schedule.
This will be a day for Staff Development, and will be paid for from funds received from the state for this purpose. The training day will be on Tuesday May 30, and teachers have chosen to have three different courses in technology presented that day - "Digital Photography In The Classroom", "On-Line Technology Usage in the Classroom", and "Designing and Maintataining a Teacher Web Page".
Teachers receive a $150 stipend if they attend the courses , because it is outside of the regular contract days. Attendance is encouraged, but not mandatory.
ACT test results for this year's Senior class showed a composite score of 22.3, which is slightly above the State average of 22.0. This is the fourth highest composite score for Aurelia seniors since 1993. A major difference was present between the students who completed the core curriculum (4 years of English, 3 years of math, 3 years of social studies, and 3 years of science) and those who did not. The former group had a composite score average of 23.6, while the latter group had a composite average of 18.0. The Board recently raised graduation requirements to include the core curriculum (less one semester in science), and Vint felt that these scores indicate that this was a good decision.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that high school attendance is great, with 96.12 per cent attendance for the this school year. Overall attendance for TK-12 is 96.34 per cent, well above the 95 per cent figure required by the "No Child Left Behind" program.
Hickman said that several area schools have arranged to periiodically have a "drug dog" brought in from law enforcement to check out school lockers, The students would be required to remain in their classrooms during this inspection. If the dog detects something, that is considered sufficient evidence to search the locker and question the student. Hickman felt his was a good idea, and the Board was in agreement. Arrangements will be made.
Hickman also discussed the school's transportation policy for activities. Students are required to ride home from events either in the school transporation provided, or with their own parents. Requests to ride home with someone else's parents are denied. There are occasional exceptions made to the policy if students need to return early for another school activity, or for family events that can't be rescheduled, such as weddings.
Also discussed was the new Eligibility Policy from the State Legislature (the "no pass, no play" rule) which raised some concerns. It appears that, under the legislation being considered, a student who fails a class one semester can go out for a sport in which they have not previously participated without any period of ineligibility.
Upcoming high school events include the Jazz Band competing in the Iowa Jazz Championships in Des Moines (for the ninth consecutive year) on April 18., and the prom on April 22.
Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine reported that the "Playground Committee" had decided on a climbing wall and a "glider" as the new purchases for the playground. If there are funds remaining from the amount approved by the Board, they would like to see those funds applied to the purchase of some new swings. The elementary teachers have indicated, in response to the recent site visit by the Dept. of Education, to further evaluate and discuss implementation of a new spelling program. This is what their agenda will be on the May 30 Professional Development day. Twenty-seven students participated in the TK/Kindergarten Roundup and Assessment on March 31. At this time, it appears Aurelia will have a TK of 11 students next year and a kindergarten class of 16.
A group of Senior students made a request to do a landscaping project south of the school, in memory of their classmates Kay Ann Kruckenberg and Jacob Dreier. The site would include some benches and plaques, and the class plans to assume all the costs. The Board thought it was a fine idea, but did not vote, as the item was not on the agenda. It will be a future agenda item.
Jared Rapp presented , on behalf of Lester Hiemstra's family, the Hiemstra family's wish to donate a defibrillator to the Aurelia School District. Rapp distributed material about the proposed equipment and training program. No action was taken at this meeting, but the Board members have the specific information and will discuss the issue further at eiher the April 18 meeting or the regular May meeitng.
Superintendent Vint presented and explained the proposed school budget at an open meeting prior to the start of the regular meeting. No one raised any objections, and the budget was approved by the Board. Proposed 2006-2007 salaries for both the certified staff and support staff were also presented and approved. by the Board. The proposals call for a total package increase of 3.84 per cent for the certified employees , and 3.5 per cent for the support staff.
In other business, the Board approved renewal of the 28E agreement with WIT for the 2006-2007 League of Schools. Several vocational-technical courses are offered to students for dual (HS and college) credit. Mr.Hickman presented a list of 33 spring graduates for Board approval . Graduation will be May 21.
Three out-of-state student trips were approved. Group sponsor Denise Nicodemus and some members of The Thespian group were present to request a one-day trip to Minneapolis to see a matinee performance of "West Side Story" on a Saturday in May. The group will be accompanied by Nicodemus and her husband Randy. The group made a similar trip last year to watch a performance of "Grease." Biology students will also be making their annual trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha during the second week of May.
The Senior class will be taking a class trip to Colorado in late May, visiting Colorado Springs, Denver, and the Six Flags Amusement Park.
The Board approved a request for modified allowable growth to the School Budget Review Committee in the amount of $179,032 for the increased expenditure cost of converting to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAPP ) - an accrual system.
The Board also discussed developing a list of questions for the Dept. of Education Feasibility Study. This will be a two-day study, to take place in both Alta and Aurelia. An exact date has not yet been set, but it will most likely be in early-to-mid-May. The study group will be meeting with students, faculty and community members in both communities.
The report from the recent Dept. of Education Site Visit was also discussed. There were no non-compliance issues stated in the report, and many strengths were noted. A few suggestions were made for improvement, and action has already been taken or planned to meet most of these areas.
Bill Smith, of Smith Productions, presented his specifications for the proposed Weight Room/Wellness Center addition.
A Board meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on April 18 to open the bids for construction of this project.