AURELIA - The Aurelia School District has received sharing proposals from the Cherokee and Alta Districts, and these were reviewed and discussed at length at the Aurelia Board's monthly meeting on Monday. Aurelia Board President Dan Winterhof will contact the Board Presidents of both schools with a response, indicating that the proposals have been received, and suggesting the full boards of the schools meet with the full Aurelia Board some time to further discuss the issue.
The Board also discussed the different options and possible methods of getting the community more informed and more involved. No decisions were made, but the consensus of Board members was that the Aurelia school staff, as well as other community members, and possible sharing partners, need to be informed of any future plans and timetables at least 12 months, and preferably 18 months, before any sharing plan is implemented.
In other business, the Board approved the Senior Class trip to the Denver, Colo. area and approved $500 for additional travel expenses, by a 3-1 vote. Colby Entriken voted against the motion. Susan Corderman was not present. Class sponsors Jolene Hultgren and Grant Peckenschneider were present at the meeting, along with several members of the senior class. Hultgren presented the trip itinerary to the Board. For the first time, all the members of the class (33 students) plan to go on the trip, which will be from May 21 - 24.
Board members were concerned about the timing of the trip, because it would take two teachers who are class sponsors and trip chaperones, out of the classroom during the last week of school, and the Board will discuss future senior trips to see if another solution, be it having parent chaperones or moving the trip to a different week, can perhaps be worked out.
In other business, the Board approved the resignation of Jolene Hultgren as High School Science teacher and Girls Track and Cross Country coach. Jim Hultgren abstained from that vote.
Jolene Hultgren has taught in the Aurelia District for 24 years, and has accepted employment at Washington High School in Cherokee for the 2007-08 school year. Other resignations approved were Diane Kannegieter as Junior-Senior Prom Sponsor and Kate Westphal as Assistant High School Girls Track Coach.
Superintendent Tom Vint reported that all teaching contracts have been returned, Nick Bretz, who will be graduating from Buena Vista University this month, has been hired for the High School Science position being vacated by Hultgren, and Shelley Ballantyne and Ronika Ledesma have been hired as Drill Team co-sponsors, replacing Susan Corderman, who resigned from that position.
John and Brian Lockin were present at the meeting to discuss the insurance plan for 2007-08, and Brian gave a brief review of the last 15 years' coverage and claims paid, to illustrate the value of the school being a member of the Iowa Association of School Board Group Insurance plan. It would cost the school considerably more if they chose a different plan.
The Board discussed the progress of construction of the new Wellness Center. Work has begun on this project, which is located north of the high school band room, and so far, trees and a chain link fence have been removed, and dirt work begun. The hope is that the project will be completed before school starts in the fall.
The Board discussed forming a committee of community members and school personnel to meet and develop rules and regulations for use of the Wellness Center, which will be used by community members as well as students. Board members were asked to think of community members to ask to serve on such a proposed committee and the issue will be taken up at the June Board meeting. The plan would be for this committee to have rules, regulations, and times for facility usage developed before the facility actually opens.
Superintendent Vint presented the Board with a list of maintenance projects that he and Head Custodian Chuck Lindgren feel can be accomplished this summer, and a timetable for doing the projects.
Projects include stripping, scrubbing, and re-coating several floors, installing new carpet in the second floor conference room, shampooing carpets in several rooms and offices, painting in several areas, and general repair and/or replacement.
A new boiler will be installed this summer as well, and an outside contractor will be refinishing the gym floor. Air conditioning will also be installed in the main computer room and the high school administrative offices.
Vint also told the Board that the school still has several coaching positions that have not yet been filled. He will talk to staff to see if anyone is interested, and will advertise locally, if necessary, to fill the positions.
The Board also went over a District Survey regarding the school, which was completed by students, staff, parents, and community members. Vint and the Board were disappointed that only 11 percent of community members responded to the survey, but hope that the poor response was due to the method of administration (in the school newsletter) rather than apathy.
The Citizen's advisory group will review the survey responses at their May 21 meeting, and present their response to the Board at the Board's June meeting.
Vint mentioned that this week is School Board Recognition Week, and he presented all board members with a certificate of appreciation,
Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine told the board about "Go The Distance Day" on May 2. This is an event sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Games, and Iowa State University Extension, and encourages students to spend 30 minutes or more of continuous physical activity. The TK - 4th grade students, under the direction of Mike Fry, participated in hurdles, the 25-yard dash, a 3-legged race, crab walk, shuttle relay, and an obstacle course on the school football field, and everyone enjoyed the non-competitive exercise.
Sandine also said that the TK and Kindergarten classes hosted a "Fun Day" for next year's new students on May 11. At this time, it appears that there will be 10 students in TK next fall and 19 in Kindergarten.
Students in grades 4, 8, and 11 recently took the ICAM assessment in reading and math, and students in all of the elementary grades were given individual reading assessments.
High School Principal Dave Hickman told about the music department's recent trip to Arlington, Texas, which, he said, was "by all accounts, an almost perfect trip." The jazz band got to meet Rick Stitzel, who had composed the "A-Town Blues" for them by commission. The band participated in a festival while there, and brought home a total of nine trophies, including "Best Instrumental Ensemble." They also received many compliments on their behavior from bus drivers, chaperones, and festival officials.The jazz band went to Des Moines last week to perform as a clinic band for Stitzel. Many of the band directors from across the state were quite effusive in their praise of Aurelia's Jazz Band.
Hickman also gave a big "thank you" to Randy Bentsen and First trust and Savings Bank for sponsoring Aurelia's participation in the KAYL School Spotlight series, in which Aurelia students or teachers talk about their programs, providing the school with good publicity, and providing the students with "some real world interview experience." Hickman also stressed how much the school appreciates the support of the Aurelia business community.
Graduation ceremonies at Aurelia will be May 20th at 2 p.m. There are 33 students in the Graduating Class of 2007. The last day of school for students will be Friday May 25.