ALTA - The regular monthly meeting of the Alta and Aurelia School Districts' Boards of Education, held here on Monday evening, featured a brief presentation by Physical Education instructor Terri Zimmerman on the 'P.E. 4 Life' program which is being used throughout the Alta-Aurelia schools.
Zimmerman said the Alta School District has been awarded a $35,000 grant to purchase physical education equipment that will encourage students to realize the importance of physical exercise now and throughout their lifetime.
A program has been implemented where students of all ages participate in selected physical activities at different times during the school year, and they are presented with a goal time or number which they should strive to reach. Students performances are not compared to each other, but rather to their own previous performance, so each student's individual progress is monitored, and he or she can see how much they have improved - or need to improve - toward reaching the goal.
In old business, the most recent bids on a new bus for the Aurelia District were presented to the Aurelia Board members by Superintendent Lynn Evans and Transportation Director John Hill, and, after some discussion and recommendations from Hill, who had the opportunity to drive both of the buses, the Aurelia Board approved purchasing a new 65- passenger Thomas-built bus for a price of $82,675.
In new business, Evans stated that Districts which are sharing need to pass a resolution to study re-organization in order to receive weighted funding, which would amount to roughly $30,000-$50,000 per District. Passing such a resolution does not necessarily mean that the Districts will re-organize, but that they will study re-organization over the next three years. Both boards approved passing a resolution to study the re-organization process.
Reports from the recent meetings of the School Improvement Advisory Committees in each District were summarized. The Alta SIAC meeting had a lot of discussion about what to do with the old Alta High School building. No definite solution was reached, but many creative and innovative suggestions were offered. The issue will continue to be an on-going topic.
The Aurelia SIAC group took a look at ADA compliance issues and the ideas for renovation/remodeling that an architectural firm has presented to the Aurelia Board. SIAC recommended that the Aurelia Board continue with their plans to contract for renovation/remodeling of the Aurelia school facility, and the Board approved this recommendation. After some discussion, the Aurelia Board decided that they would seek a second bid on the architectural projects they would like to see completed, and Evans said he would contact both the Invision firm, which presented the initial proposal, and another architectural firm this week and see if both can visit the school and present their bids in a timely manner.
The Alta Board appointed Board member Dave Turnquist to be their representative on the Buena Vista County Conference Board, and the Aurelia Board appointed Brad Rohwer to represent Aurelia Board on the Cherokee County Conference Board. The Aurelia Board approved adding the Music Boosters as an "additional insured group" to the school's insurance policy for a nominal fee. The school had already added the Athletic Boosters.
Teacher Dave Curbow appeared before the Boards to ask permission for an out-of-state educational field trip. Curbow plans to take a group of five students from his Critical Thinking class to Dallas, Texas later this week to visit sites involved in the JFK Assassination and participate in critical thinking groups to discuss theories surrounding the event. The school is not being asked to fund the trip in any way, as the students are providing for their own expenses. The trip will last from Thursday - Sunday and parental permission slips have been signed. The Alta Board approved his request for out-of-state travel.
Curriculum Coordinator Stacey Cole reported that the school has been using a database program which is able to show the proficiency levels of different sub-groups of students, so that they can better identify if particular subgroups need increased attention; Middle School Principal Ann Sandine and High School Principal Tom Ryherd both reported that more than 90% of their students had participation by their parents in the recent Parent-Teacher Conferences. Both also praised their students for their behavior and attitude in school, saying that "we have a good group of kids."
Ryherd said that the recent move between buildings for the High School students and classes was accomplished in just 2 hrs. 15 minutes, thanks to the participation of the students, staff and community members. There was no real disruption of the class day, said Ryherd.
The move took place on Thursday October 27 and Friday October 28, and students started attending classes in the new building on Monday morning, October 31.
Evans said that the High School play, 'Schoolhouse Rock,' which was presented this last weekend, was very well done, enjoyable, and very well-attended. Ryherd said the play, staged at the Roxy Theatre in Alta, was the most well-attended play he could remember since he had been at the school.
Evans also announced that the Alta-Aurelia Cross Country coach, Wendell Larson, had been named the "At Large Cross Country Coach of the Year" by the Iowa Association of Track and Field Coaches.
In personnel matters, the Alta Board approved the resignation of Jeannie Henningsen as High School Head Volleyball Coach with appreciation, subject to finding a suitable replacement; the Aurelia Board approved the resignation of Ted Galvin as Assistant High School Softball Coach, subject to finding a suitable replacement; and the resignation of Renee Sand as Assistant Cross Country Coach was also accepted.
The Joint Board also discussed proposed policies on Early Retirement and Travel between Districts, and Evans will re-work these, based on Board input at Monday's first meeting and present a formal Policy at the next meeting.
Evans also presented the Certified Enrollment figures for each District. Aurelia's 2011 enrollment of 258.30 was up from the 2010 enrollment of 255.9, while Alta has a 2011 enrollment of 505.44 compared to 2010's enrollment of 493.7.
The meeting concluded with a discussion about fundraising, with some suggestions of having fundraisers which are less intrusive on the public - for example, not selling items which may not be desired door-to-door, but rather doing things like tailgate suppers, soup suppers, etc., that people can attend if they choose, with the money going to a certain school group or project. No formal decision was made.