The Aurelia School Board has approved the District having its own high school baseball program again this summer,rather than sharing with another district. This action was taken at the regular monthly meeting of the Aurelia School Board on Tuesday evening, Feb. 12.
Aurelia Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider surveyed the male students in grades 8-12 on Feb. 8 and found that 13 boys said they would "definitely" go out for baseball this summer and four said that "maybe" they would go out.
Coach Bob Mikos was present, and said he would talk to some of the players who indicated "maybe" and "no" in the hopes of getting a few more than the 13 players. Mikos is hoping to have enough to field a J.V. team and do some scrimmaging in practice.
In other business, the Board approved a bid of $12,478 from Modern Heating and Cooling of Cherokee to provide and install one AC unit in the band room and a second one in the choir room.
In other business, as part of the regular "Focus on Education" presentation, Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine presented information on the "Academic Growth Rate" of Aurelia students over the last several years, as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED). Explaining that the goal is for students to show at least one year's academic growth each year, Sandine displayed graphs which showed the testing results of all the Aurelia classes, from third grade through the eleventh grade, over the course of the last several years. The test scores indicated that for the great majority of classes, the students had shown yearly growth of at least one year each academic year.
Sandine also reported on the success of the "100th Day" celebration, which was expanded from the elementary to the entire student body this year. Students were asked to bring $1 (or $10 for older students) to the "100th Day" celebration, and enough money was presented to representatives from the Aurelia Community Center fund that the school will receive recognition with a plaque on the wall of the new Center. Sandine also said that parent-teacher conferences will be held next week, and that on March 28, Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten assessments will be done. She estimates that there will probably be 18 new students next fall. Another upcoming event will be "Read Across America Day," where the students will gather for a reading session, whose theme will be "Grab a Hat and Read with the Cat," featuring at least one reader garbed as Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat."
High School Principal Dave Hickman said that Bart Smith, a Buena Vista University student (and also the Alta boys' basketball coach) will be student teaching physical education with Mike Fry from March through the end of the school year. As a side note, Hickman commented on the Aurelia school's long-standing good working relationship with Buena Vista, and said the staff always looks forward to having the BVU students come to Aurelia to complete their teacher training.
Hickman also mentioned the comments and e-mails he has received this winter from several people outside the district complimenting the Aurelia pep band and the good sportsmanship of Aurelia student-athletes.
In mentioning the Aurelia Jazz Band's upcoming 11th consecutive trip to the Iowa Jazz Championships, Hickman mentioned that this is a remarkable achievement, considering each year is a different group of band members and they have gone to the championships under two different directors. In fact, one of the years the band went the current director, Jason Heeren, directed the jazz band in the morning, then went to LeMars and Kingsley for his student teaching during the school day.
Hickman also congratulated the Readers Theater group of 15 students, who will be performing at the Large Group All-State on the Iowa State University campus this Saturday. The group, coached by Jason Heeren, is performing a modern re-writing of the Wizard Of Oz, which takes place in a crowded shopping mall. Denise Nicodemus is the Speech Director.
Hickman said that the high school faculty worked on curriculum mapping with the Rubicon Atlas program at their last in-service, and that most of the teachers have completed the curriculum map for one of their classes and are close to completing a second class. He stated that this will become very important as it appears that the state will soon mandate standards for language arts, math, science, and social studies through its Model Core Curriculum initiative.
Superintendent Vint said that the current in-building enrollment for the District is 292 students, five more than were on the "count day" in October. The TK - 4 enrollment is 107; the 5-8 (Middle School) enrollment stands at 81; and the 9-12 (High School) has an enrollment of 104 students. The largest class is the 12th grade, which has 40 students, and the smallest class is the Transitional Kindergarten class of 10. This year's ninth graders have only 14 students (ten girls and four boys).
Vint said that the school has received tentative approval from the School Budget Review Committee in Des Moines for $46,512 in allowable growth funds, due to the increased number of students who have open-enrolled out of the district. This amount is applied to next year's budget.
Vint also reported that he has been informed that there will be no increase in the school's health insurance premiums for employees next year - the third straight year there has either been no increase or a small increase.
The superintendent said that the application for a Legacy Grant was turned in to the Cherokee County Extension office before the Feb. 1 deadline. The school has applied for $7,284 to purchase additional equipment for the Fitness Center. Grants will not be determined and announced until April 1.
Vint said that the 2000 Suburban struck a large deer early on the morning of Feb. 2, just west of Correctionville, as Denise Nicodemus was driving to the Speech Contest in Sioux City. No one was injured, but there was substantial damage to the vehicle. It couldn't be driven, so it had to be towed to the Alta Body Shop. The estimate for repairs is about $4000, which, Vint said, should all be covered by the school's insurance. However, the estimate on the time to repair the vehicle was 2-3 weeks, so the District will have to operate one vehicle short for a time.
The new pickup was ordered and should be here in mid-March. Vint said that General Motors has increased the amount of their rebate, and as a result, the vehicle should cost a little bit less than originally stated.
The Board approved Board Policy series 500 - 504.6 with minor recommended changes after a second reading of the policies.
The next scheduled Board meeting will be Monday March 10 at 7:30 p.m.