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Aurelia board ready for Thursday feasibility visit

Monday, May 15, 2006

State Department of Education representative Barb Byrd will visit the Aurelia school on Thursday to meet with School Board members, staff, students, parents, and community members as part of her feasibility study of the Alta and Aurelia school districts.

Bird will be having similar meetings in Alta on Wednesday, and there will be a public meeting in Aurelia on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. for final questions and answers. Bird will then prepare her official report and the schools should have the report in hand an approximately six weeks.

The study was requested by the two school districts so the DE could analyze both district's strengths, and determine whether or not the schools' sharing programs would be good for the students, teachers, and communities.

The wrapup meeting Thursday is tentatively scheduled for Room 7 in the High School, but may have to be moved if the attendance is too great. The gymnasium would not be the alternative site, however, because it is being used that evening for the school's Fine Arts Award program.

In other business, the Board approved the donation of a defibrillator to the school by the children of the late Lester Hiemstra. The machine appears to be easy to operate, and it would be placed in a convenient location for quick access if needed. Training will be available to any staff who request it, but will probably be mandatory for athletic coaches and others.

The school's new Wellness Policy had its first reading, following a brief description of the policy development by school nurse Sonia Galvin, the chairperson of the Wellness Policy committee. A second reading of the Policy will be presented at the June Board meeting, and , if no objections are raised, it will then become school policy.

The goal is to have students become more physically active and nutritionally sound, through the efforts of such areas as the school lunch program, the student "Dog Pound" concession area, and the physical education program. In line with this, Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine mentioned that this Wednesday, May 10, will be the third annual "Go The Distance Day" for TK-4 students. This event is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Games, and the Iowa State University Extension office, and encourages 30 minutes of continuous physical activity by the participating students. Students will be participating in a "hurdle" event, a 25-yard dash, 3-legged race, crab walk, shuttle relay and obstacle course. Sandine noted that the day will not be considered a "competition". Students will be encouraged to "just have fun."

Having fun is largely what the springtime, with its accompanying good weather, is about, and Sandine mentioned several student outings which are on the agenda for elementary students during this last month of the school year. Included are a field trip to the Sanford Museum by the 2nd grade, a trip to Sunset Knoll by the TK/K, parent's days in both the TK and Kindergarten, a 3rd grade field trip to the Pioneer School and BV County Museum, 1st grade bike rodeo, a 3rd and 4th grade field trip to the Battle Creek Museum and Old Town in Moville, and the annual Puppy Relays on May 15. Also on May 15, the TK and Kindergarten students will host a "Fun Day" for next year's students. On the 16th, the TK and Kindergarten students will go to Martin's Access.

Students in each grade of the Elementary school went to Sunset Knoll, in shifts, on May 5 for the 100th Day service project they had chosen. The students collected money on the 100th Day of School , and chose to buy flowers to plant at Sunset Knoll with the money they collected ($114).

High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that the overall attendance for TK-12 this year was 96.46%, well above the 95% required by the "No Children Left Behind" act. In the high school, attendance was even a bit better, at 96.55% for the year.

Hickman mentioned that the KAYL radio program "School Spotlight" has brought very positive publicity to the school and community. Members of the Student Council or a teacher or activity sponsor do a telephone interview with KAYL's Chris Boeckman every three weeks to discuss what's going on at the school. This community service program has been made possible through First Trust and Savings Bank.

Hickman also gave special notice to the Music Department and their recent accomplishments. The Jazz Band just competed in the State Jazz Championships for the ninth consecutive year, and finished fifth in the competition. Jazz Band member Brian Janssen, a junior saxophone player, received a "Best of Center" award for his solo at the solo/ensemble contest, and he also recently performed a solo with the Cherokee Symphony, as one of the "Young Artists" who were chosen through auditions.

Superintendent Tom Vint reported that the canopy sign at the front entrance was blown down in a severe wind storm three weeks ago, but was being re-installed that day, with more fasteners than the installers used in the previous installation. Vint noted that the incident occurred on a weekend, and no one was hurt.

Vint noted that a representative from Employer's Mutual Insurance had been there earlier that day to do an annual review of the school's property/liability insurance, and noted no major problems. Vint also disclosed the annual sportsmanship ratings by the Athletic Association. Aurelia's coaches rated slightly above the state average, the players slightly below, and the spectators slightly above average.

Upcoming events, in addition to this week's feasibility study, include the Fine Arts Award presentation on Thursday evening, the Middle School Concert on May 16, Baccalaureate and Senior Awards Night on May 18, High School Graduation on May 21 and Middle School Awards at 2:15 p.m. on May 23. The last day of school for the students is May 25, while the teachers have a mandatory in-service day on May 26 and a voluntary one on May 30.

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