ALTA - At Monday's monthly meeting, the Alta School Board approved leasing three new copy machines to replace machines which are at the end of their 5-year lease. The Board approved a bid of $956.91/month by Office Elements of Storm Lake to provide the copiers and provide local service for them. The costs have come down considerably from the school's previous machines.
Two members of the Alta Economic Development Committee were present to inquire about the possibility of reviving the Building Trades Program, which the Alta High School had for 13 years and resulted in the construction of 13 homes in town.
After considerable discussion, it was decided that the first step in possibly reviving the program should be high school Principal Tom Ryherd's surveying students to determine the level of their interest in participating. The Economic Development representatives felt that a class of 8-10 students would be required to make the program work. Ryherd will see what the student interest is in such a program.
Three high school teachers were also present to discuss their experience with standards-based grading and project-based learning in their classrooms. The idea behind this new system is to ensure that students actually learn the things they should during their school experience and not just "memorize and regurgitate" facts in order to earn points or certain letter grades.
This new type of "grading" is more in line with the Core program that will soon be mandatory in Iowa schools, and the teachers who presented Monday were very much in favor of this type of grading, though they admitted that it has taken adjustment on their parts because their own backgrounds as students and teachers.
In other business, both boards approved amending the current reorganization resolution to read "The Boards of Education for the Alta Community School District and the Aurelia School District will study reorganization together with the intention of being reorganized as of 7/1/14."
Amending the statement was done upon the recommendation of two consultants from the state Department of Education, because the reorganization sharing money ends in FY 2014. By adding the date in the statement, it will allow the districts to carry into their official third year for receiving the incentive - assuming that the funds are still available. Superintendent Lynn Evans stated that the addition of the date does not lock the Districts into any date for reorganization. If July 1, 2014 comes and goes with no change in the school's whole grade sharing, there is no penalty.
In other business, A-A Financial Officer Vicki Kolpin presented Pay Application #3 from Woodruff Construction to the Aurelia Board. This was a bill for $48,000 for the ongoing Aurelia school renovation. A $13,000 bill was also submitted by the project's architect. These were approved.
Volunteer representatives for membership on the standing Board committees on Transportation, Building and Grounds. Finance (Negotiations), Curriculum and Staffing, and Policy and Public Relations were received and approved by each Board.
Board members Jen Hultgren and Mark Henningsen were appointed and approved as representatives to the Buena Vista County Conference Board, and Brad Rohwer was approved as the Aurelia Board's representative to the Cherokee County Conference Board.
Superintendent Evans reminded the Aurelia Board that the Aurelia District's Instructional Support Levy (ISL), which generates $148,000 annually in cash and general fund spending for the District, expires in FY13, and the Board approved continuing this levy, which is a mix of property tax and income surtax. The Board approved a resolution of intent to continue this levy for another five years, and a public hearing will take place at the Board's November 12th meeting.
The Alta District's ISL does not expire until FY14, and Evans recommended that their Board begin the protocol to maintain their levy next fall.
The Boards reviewed the 400 series in the Board Policy Manual and no action was required.
The Alta Board approved the hiring of Luke Miller as an assistant high school Speech sponsor at a salary of $10/hour, as per past practice.
Elementary Principal Stacey Cole reported that the TK-2nd grade teachers had received training on Wednesday in identifying "hot spots" around the school and teaching proper behavior in those areas to students, and the 3rd-5th grade teachers received training on the use of white boards. Cole also reported that a guest speaker on bullying will speak to 3rd-5th graders in Alta on October 18th and to 3rd-8th graders in Aurelia on October 22nd.
She also said that several coaches from Buena Vista University athletic teams will speak to the students about the kind of personality traits and behavior they look for and expect from their athletes.
Middle School Principal Ann Sandine reported that the Middle School students will be taking the Iowa Assessment tests the week of October 23rd; that the Middle School and High School students would be presenting a vocal concert in Alta on October 25th; that the students participated on the Healthy Walk Initiative last week; that 6th graders will be going to Sioux City next week to hear the Sioux City Symphony; and that the Middle School will be hosting the weekly Aurelia Commercial Club Coffee on November 7th, hopefully in the new school lunchroom.
Sandine also said hat the school's Veteran's Day program this year would be held on Friday, November 9th in the school gymnasium, as Veteran's Day falls on a Sunday this year and neither she nor Grant Peckenschneider would be able to attend the program if they held it on Monday, November 12th.
High School Principal Ryherd reported that the high school instructors recently had a Professional Development session on Google sites and apps; that the 9th period study hall seems to be going over well with students; and that the high school will be presenting the Fall Musical, "Once Upon a Mattress" over the weekend of November 10th.
Superintendent Evans reported that the renovation project at the Aurelia school is getting very near to completion. the gym is in use and the seats are here, but need to be installed. The elevator is also close to completion.
Evans also reported that certified enrollment files for both districts have been submitted to the state; and that the Alta-Aurelia High School band will be performing the halftime show, and also playing with the Pep Band, at the BVU-Luther Homecoming football game in Storm Lake on Saturday October 27th.
Board member Ila Galvin reported on the recent IASB DIstrict Meeting in Paullina, and Evans reported that the IASB Leadership Conference will be held via ICN at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 29th. The nearest location is in Cherokee. Evans will be attending and he recommends that the President and Vice President from both districts also attend.
Evans also reminded the Board members about the upcoming IASB State Convention in Des Moines.