AURELIA - At its monthly meeting on Feb. 9, the Aurelia School Board formally approved the School Board Goals they set at their January 29th Board Retreat.
Goal #1 for the Board is "to provide a solid foundation of essential skills, and an environment of excellence in educational opportunities" for the Aurelia students. Progress towards goal achievement will be measured by means of test scores, course offerings, extra-curricular opportunities, college entrance, ACT scores, and attendance, and reviewed annually by the Board, school administrators and classroom teachers. The goal is relevant to students, parents, and the community.
Board Goal #2 is " to prepare students to be competent in a technological society," and will be measured by an annual technology assessment by the Board, Administration, teachers and students, yearly lesson plans and continued maintenance and upgrading, when necessary, of technology. The technology goal is particularly relevant to the students, who need to be as "up to speed" as possible as they enter post-secondary education and/or the job market.
Board Goal #3 is "To maintain fiscal responsibility," and will be monitored quarterly by the Board, Superintendent and Business Manager.
For this month's "Showcase on Education," Aurelia High School student Jordan Glawe presented on "Pizza Futures." Glawe spoke about Marv Munden's Economics class, and how the class of eight students is learning about the stock market and the Law of Supply and Demand, through their selling of tokens for pizza slices twice a week, then selling the actual slices on Fridays. The cost of the tokens and the actual cost of the pizza on Friday may vary, depending on the supply and demand.
In other business, Principal Ann Sandine told the Board that the school is in the process of completing the application for a grant for a Voluntary Four-Year Old Preschool. The application deadline is March 30.
Sandine also said that six Aurelia High School students are again planning on participating in the NASA Space Settlement Design Competition in Houston from March 5 - March 9, pending the Board approval necessary because of the out-of-state travel. The Board did approve High School instructor Nick Bretz and six students going. The six will be traveling from Sioux City to Houston with 144 other High School students from Northwest Iowa.
The Board also approved out-of-state travel for the High School Jazz Choir to participate in a contest in Vermillion, S.D. on March 19.
Sandine also reviewed the Proficiency Report that she is required to send to the State Department of Education. The test scores of 128 Aurelia students in Grades 3-8 and Grade 11 showed that 82% of the students were proficient (i.e, scoring above the 40th percentile) in Reading; 86% in Science, and 77% in Math. Each of the seven reported grades had at least 60% of the class show overall proficiency.
Shelley Ballantyne was present at the meeting, representing the Junior Class parents. She said that plans for the party following the April 25 Jr.-Sr. Prom are not finalized yet, but the group feels that at least part of the non-school-sponsored activities will require use of the school facilities, so they requested permission to use the gym on that evening. The Board tentatively approved the use of the facility, pending presentation of the planned activities at the School Board meeting on March 9.
In other business, Superintendent Lynn Evans discussed his recent meeting with Alta Superintendent Fred Maharry regarding proposed sharing. The Board also discussed the proposed calendar for the 2009-2010 school year, which is very similar to this year's calendar.
A Public Hearing was held and Evans announced that a request has been filed with the State Department of Education for an Early Start Waiver, a necessary step if a District plans to begin classes prior to September 1. Under the proposed calendar, Aurelia would begin classes on Aug. 18, 2009.
The Board discussed their recent Board Retreat, and all members had very positive comments about the experience, feeling they accomplished quite a bit. Board President Jim Hultgren also discussed the recent meeting of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), and said that about 20 people attended. Mary Brinkman was elected Chairman of the group, and they had a favorable group discussion about the importance of Early Childhood Learning. The group also expressed an interest in having a Strategic Planning meeting.
The Board accepted Superintendent Evans' suggestion that they put off acting on Early Retirement requests until after the March 1 deadline. At this point, there has been just one request submitted.
The Board also discussed possible capital improvement projects for this summer. Among the suggestions were continued repairs to the heating system, especially in the High School wing, replacing windows in the gym, and continuing the playground project.
The Board then went into closed session, in accordance with the Iowa Code, section 21.5 (1)(i), to review the Superintendent evaluation.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the School Board will be on Monday, March 9, 2009.