ALTA - The Alta and Aurelia School Board members heard about plans for the 2012-13 school year at their monthly meeting here on Monday. Students begin their classes on Thursday morning in both districts.
High School Principal Tom Ryherd reported that current enrollment figures show a High School enrollment of 215-220 students, down slightly from last year's 228 students. Ryherd also said that the number of participants for several extra-curricular activities are good, with 45 boys out for football, 32 girls out for volleyball and 20 out for cross country. Ryherd also said the cheerleading and dance squads have had good turnouts.
In other news, Ryherd said that a new sign for the Alta-Aurelia High School has been ordered from Pilot Rock Signs in Cherokee and will be delivered soon. He also said that the class day this year has been changed from nine periods to eight, and that an "Early Bird" Physical Education class, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7:42 a.m., has been added to the schedule. He also told Board members that the Alternative classes are being held in three rooms at the old High School in Alta.
Middle School Principal Ann Sandine said she and her staff are excited for the new school year to begin, though some modifications will be necessary at the outset because not all of the summer construction renovations are completed. One change will be the location of the Band and Vocal music rooms. These classes and activities will be held in Room 7 (band) and Room 2 (vocal) of the former Aurelia High School building until free access to the band and vocal music areas is re-established.
The gym is also not useable at this point, so early season Middle School volleyball practices and games will take place at the gym in Alta. Students who have activities in both buildings will need to walk outside for the time being. Sandine also reported that the new modules for the Industrial Technology Program have arrived and she is very excited about students getting to experience that. Sandine said that "STEM" programs will be emphasized in the Middle School this year. (STEM being an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Elementary Principal Stacey Cole stated that the Aurelia Elementary School will be implementing a Cross-Grade Reading Program this year, and there will be two groups of Targeted Readers for those who require additional help. Cole said that several Aurelia elementary teachers were able to attend training for this program this summer and they are very excited about the program and its possibilities.
Cole said there are currently 20 students enrolled in Kindergarten in Aurelia, and 18 in Junior Kindergarten and 18 in Pre-Kindergarten (14 4-year-olds and four 3-year-olds), Cole and Superintendent Evans said that enrollment figures for this age of students usually fluctuates from day-to-day in all school districts at the beginning of the school year, so final enrollment figures will take a little time to sort out. The Alta District currently shows similar early enrollment figures, but again, next month should provide more accurate figures.
Cole is also the District's Curriculum Director, and she reported that she will be talking a lot about the "Core Curriculum" this year, as the time to implement that state-mandated program nears. She also said that classes for the Pre-School students in Aurelia will not begin until August 27 due to some changes which need to be made in the classroom area.
Superintendent Lynn Evans reported that recent public sales of excess equipment in both Districts went well, with the Aurelia District taking in more than $1000 in sales and Alta a slightly higher figure. He also said that the August 6th School Registration went well, with several people choosing to use the Online Registration.
Evans also reported that the roof repair in Alta has gone well and is close to being completed. He said that a leak in the roof above the gym in Aurelia has been discovered and will need to be repaired soon. He estimated the cost of patching the leak will be between $6000-$7000.
Transportation Director John Hill was present at the meeting and he addressed several changes in bus routes and town stops in Alta this year. An additional driver was added for Special Education routes, due to the number of students and all-day class schedules. There will be no additional cost to the District.
Two mothers of Alta Elementary students were present as visitors, and they thanked Hill and the Board for changing routes so that elementary students on the east side of Alta will not have to walk to school.
Hill also reported that the District has implemented the use of a Crossing Guard at the Elementary School in Alta before and after school, and one of the Teacher Associates will be assuming this duty. Superintendent Evans said that parents will be invited to discuss any concerns they have regarding student safety and/or busing at the next meeting of the School Improvement Advisory Committee.
Evans mentioned several accomplishments by Alta-Aurelia students over the summer. Several High School softball and baseball athletes were selected for All-Conference honors, and Jalen Henningsen and Neil Marshall received All-State honors in baseball. Henningsen was also selected to play in the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star series of games.
Alta-Aurelia also received the Highest Sportsmanship rating among Twin Lakes Conference schools in baseball and the second highest rating in softball.
In other business, the Aurelia Board approved a Change Order for $27,000 for leveling and raising the Gym Floor, and $426 for relocating the ceiling fans in the gym and the new switches and wiring required.
Both boards approved a report from Business Manger Vicki Kolpin on the Whole Grade Sharing Financial Transfers, involving sharing of salaries for several positions and the Middle School and High School, and she will now issue those checks.
The Aurelia Board approved the low bid of 38.1 cents per line by the Aurelia Star as the District's newspaper of record.
The Alta Board approved offering a contract to Will Dible for the position of Assistant High School cross country coach and the assignment of Rory Payne for one year as High School girls basketball coach.
The Aurelia Board approved offering a contract to Ashley Henningsen, a recent graduate of Loras College, for the positions of Middle School Family and Consumer Science and Health teacher and Middle School volleyball and girls track coach.
After the meeting adjourned, the Alta Board members met with the administration to discuss setting dates for public meetings to address the issue of future use of the old high school building in Alta.