At their regular monthly meeting Monday night, the Aurelia School Board was thrown another curve in their plans for a Wellness Center, when Board President Dan Winterhof was notified right before the meeting that there was some concern about the procedure to let bids. After a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to table the issue for the time being, and give Superintendent Tom Vint time to contact some architectural firms and the school attorney before proceeding.
The Board reviewed three bids for providing new lighting for the high school classrooms and/or the locker rooms and music rooms, and approved a bid by Nepple Electric of Alta to replace the fixtures in the high school classrooms, most of which are 35-40 years old. nepple plans to do the rooms during inservice days, when the students are not present, and will take care of the disposal of the old fixtures. Superintendent Vint thought that the replacement of lighting for the music and locker rooms could be a summer project.
Four students from the senior class were present to request that the Board approve a Senior Release Program for the second semester. The Board approved a Senior Release Program during study halls and the noon hour, provided the student has at least a 2.0 GPA this year, and maintains that average.
The Board approved the plan for the junior high to share wrestling with Galva-Holstein and Schaller-Crestland. A schedule is in place , but transportation and coaching issues need to be firmed up. Superintendent Vint also commented on the need to make a decsion regarding the junior high football program, which was shared with Alta this fall. Sixteen of the seventeen boys who will be in grades 7-8 next year have indicated hat they would like to go out for the football team, and the coaches and Board are leaning towards the District having their own 8-man team in 2007. There are a limited number of 8-man teams, but it was thought that perhaps some of them might be willing to schedule two games, one at Aurelia and the other at the opponents' site. Five games is the maximum number of games the junior high may play.
Vint also gave the Board an update on the Kruckenberg accident case. The case against the school was dismissed in May, but the plaintiffs are now seeking damages from the manufacturer of the sumo wrestling suit and the company from which the suit was rented.
Vint said that Aurelia is one of the 25% of schools in Iowa which are not currently represented in the Hall of Pride in Des Moines. After consulting with other schools, he contacted a tech company in Pella which other schools have used, and that company is now workng on getting an Aurelia site set up. The company charges a fee of $750-$1000, depending upon the number of hours needed, and they take care of the entire site. It is hoped that the site will be up-and-running in January.
Superintendent Vint also reported that the recent enrollment of two Middle School students who have considerable special needs made it necessary to advertise for another aide for the Resource Room, and that someone had been hired and had just started her employment that day.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that he and Mrs. Sandine have been looking into the "Plato" learning program, which is now available for on-line use. and can be used by students with deficiencies in their reading proficiency.
Hickman stated that the high school semester tests will be given on December 20, 21, and 22. The high school students will be going to bowl in Storm lake on Thursday, and will finish up their tests on Friday. Any students who have time or work to make up will do so beginning at 12:30 on Friday. All work must be done before a student can leave on Christmas break, which is scheduled to begin at 2:30 on December 22. Classes resume on January 4. The teachers return on January 3 for an inservice.
Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine reported on the results of the ITBS testing done with students in grades 2-4 in November. The second graders' composite score was in the 67th percentile nationally, while third graders were in the 70th percentile, and fourth graders in the 82nd percentile. Sandine also said that several members of the senior English class assisted the TK and Kindergarten students with writing letters to Santa last week. Both the young students and the older ones enjoyed the experience immensely.
The TK and Kindergarten students will be going on a field trip to Santa's Castle in Storm Lake this Wednesday; the 4th and 5th graders will be going to SUnset Knoll for their Grandparent's Program on December 19th; and grades TK - 4th will have Christmas parties on December 21, the last full day before the Christmas break.
The Board discussed two faculty resignation requests. Marv Munden requested to resign from his position as junior high football coach, and this was approved by the Board.
The other request came from Mary Brinkman, who has taught Elementary and Middle School Science at Aurelia for 34 years. In her letter to the Board, Brinkman stated that she is in the process of becoming a foster parent , and feels she will do a better job of that if she is not employed as a full-time teacher. With that in mind, she plans to retire at the end of the current school year. The Board approved her resignation, recognizing her 34 years of devoted service to the Aurelia school and its students.
In other Board business, Donna Janssen was present at the meeting, representing the Aurelia Music Boosters. The music students will be performing at a Music Festival in Dallas, Texas in April, and also attending clinics, visiting the JFK Museum, and Six Flags Amusement Park during their visit. The Boosters asked the Board to consider providing some help with funding, as the transportation cost has risen more than $4000 since a similar trip in 2003. The Boosters have been holding several fund raisers, and have more scheduled, but do not know exactly how much money they will have. The Board approved $1500 to assist on trip expenses.
The Board also approved the District's continued participation in the IASB's Drug and Alcohol Testing Program for mandatory testing of bus drivers, and approved the proposed school calendar for the 2007-2008 school year.
Registration will be August 7th, from 7:30 a.m.- 8 p.m; a faculty in-service will be from August 16-20, and a "Meet Your Teacher Night" will be held from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. on August 20. Classes begin the next day, Tuesday August 21. Christmas Break is December 24 - January 2, and Spring Break March 19 - 24. Graduation will be May 18, and the students' last day of school May 21. Make-up days, if needed, will be :
1) February 18 (President's Day); 2) March 19; 3) May 22; and 4) May 23.
In other business, Board member Jim Hultgren was appointed as the Board's representative on he Buena Vista County Conference Board, and the Board policy on Early Retirement was reviewed, in light of recent court rulings. The school attorney has recommended making a few changes in the policy to make sure that the District's policy is in compliance with the law.
The Board also received the annual report from the IHSAA on sportsmanship ratings for schools. Aurelia's coaches, players, and spectators were not rated in either the top 10% or the bottom 10% of the state's schools. With an average rating of "2", Aurelia's ratings of 1.67, 1.56. and 1.79 were all above average.
The Board also reviewed the results of a survey taken by members of the School Improvement/Advisory Committee at their December 4 meeting. Participants were asked to rank nine items regarding the future direction of the school. The participants were asked "How important is it for students of the Aurelia School District to..."
The top-ranked item was "Having curriculum choices for core courses." The second-ranked item in importance was "Having curriculum choices for elective courses, such as shop, health, business, and home economics." Third in importance was "Having the opportunity to participate in band and chorus," followed by "Having the opportunity to participate on athletic teams." Next was "Having the opportunity to participate in speech and drama." Ranking sixth was "Obtaining a high school diploma while attending classes at Aurelia facilities." The next area was "Completing education at the lowest possible tax burden;" followed by "Having special events, such as Homecoming and Prom at Aurelia facilities," and the lowest ranked item, in terms of importance was "Attending a high school with 'Aurelia' in the name of the school."
Finally, the Board members were given schedules for their visits to classrooms on December 14, with the understanding that their visits will not be limited to the rooms to which they were "assigned."
The Board concluded their meeting with a discussion about a Board Retreat on January 24. Topics for the retreat will be harassment and sharing programs with other districts.
The next regularly-scheduled Board meeting will be January 8, 2007, at 7:30 p.m.