AURELIA -The Board of Directors of the Aurelia School District met for their regular monthly meeting on Monday and dealt with several issues.
Sara Walter, a teacher in the Aurelia District, presented the monthly "Showcase on Education" to Board members. She spoke about a series of meetings between the Aurelia and Alta teachers regarding the upcoming Iowa Core Curriculum, a student-centered K-12 curriculum for Iowa students in the 21st Century, and said that the teachers seem to be more accepting of the inevitability of the new curriculum than they were initially, and are looking forward to working with groups of students to introduce them to the change of style which will be coming.
Two 12th grade students, representing the senior class, presented the Board with the proposed itinerary for their proposed Senior trip to the Twin Cities from May 31-June 3, and following a brief discussion, the trip was approved by the Board. The students and two teachers will be traveling in the two school Suburbans.
Members of the After-Prom Committee appeared before the Board to request the use of the school gym and lunchroom for after-prom activities on April 16-17, 2011. Those activities will include the appearance of a hypnotist during the first part of the evening, followed by numerous games and activities. The Board approved the committee's request, with the understanding that the parents will pay a special fee to cover liability insurance, as per school policy.
Principal Ann Sandine spoke about two other upcoming special activities involving student groups. Several students, accompanied by teacher Will Dible, are planning to go to Houston, Texas for the NASA Space Settlement Design Competition from March 10-14, pending Board approval, and Tim Galvin will be taking 12 students to Des Moines on Feb. 27-28 to compete at the state DECA competition, attempting to earn a trip to the national competition.
Sandine also noted the recent excellent performances of the Speech Department and Jazz Band. Speech students will compete in the District individual speech contest at Laurens on February 26, and the Jazz Band has qualified for their 13th trip in 14 years to the State Jazz Championships, to be held on April 12 in Des Moines.
Sandine said that BVU student Corbet Butler is currently student teaching with Ryan Meyer in band. She also said that, to this point, students have only missed three days due to inclement weather this school year. If no more days are missed,the three days will be made up at the end of the school year, on May 23, 24 and 25, and the 25th will be the last day of school.
Sandine also mentioned that the administrators from both the Alta and Aurelia Districts have met several times to work on the curriculum and graduation requirements for the shared Alta-Aurelia District, and that these meetings have gone well.
There are a few minor differences between the two districts' current curriculums and requirements, some of which are related to Alta having a nine-period school day and Aurelia an eight period day, but Sandine and Alta Principal Tom Ryherd are confident that the situation can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
In other business, the Facility Committee discussed their concerns about proposed facility repairs and modifications. After considerable discussion, the Board approved Superintendent Jack Johnson's arranging a consultation with an architect. Everyone present was in agreement that there are a few facility items which will definitely need to addressed in the future, and that they needed to "get the ball rolling" to seek consultation and cost estimates.
Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider presented the Alta-Aurelia athletic sharing agreements for the 2011-12 school year, and reminded everyone that these need to be signed by the Administration and Board President and returned to the state as soon as possible. Peckenschneider had the form from the Iowa High School Athletic Association (the boys' governing body), but said the girls' organization (IGHSAU) had not yet sent their agreement form. When it is received, it will be examined and if there are no changes, that form too will be signed by the appropriate parties and returned to Des Moines.
The Board also approved an Early Graduation request from 11th grader Victoria Maymon, who will have completed the requirements necessary for graduation by the end of this school year, according to Sandine.
The Board approved the current rate of $230 per student ($330 per student for students who live outside of the district) for driver's education classes this summer and they also approved the second reading of School Board policy #411.9, "Custodial Employees."
Following discussion, the Board approved offering an "Early Retirement Plan" this year. The plan will consist of four years of health insurance for retiring employees who are age 55 or older.
Several non-action items were also discussed, including the contract for the driver who is replacing another driver who was driving half time. Since the new driver was already under contract, and is paid in accordance with district policy, Johnson said that she will not require a new contract.
Also discussed, but not acted upon, were the issues of hiring a shared Elementary Principal and playing one varsity football game in Aurelia.
The next regular Board meeting will be on March 14.