School board swears in re-elected members
The Emery County School Board met for its Jan. 5 meeting. The first item on the agenda, after the pledge of allegiance, was the swearing in of two re-elected board members. They are Royd Hatt and Marie Guymon Johnson. The election of board officers was held with no challengers. Laurel Johansen is re-elected to be the Board President and Royd Hatt will be the Vice President. Jared Black has been re-appointed to be the Business Administrator.
The consent agenda included warrants, minutes from December 2010 meeting, financial reports for November and December 2010, and was approved.
Personnel actions: two teachers, Brandee Stoddard an aide for Cottonwood preschool and Melinda Durrant for half day principal/half teacher for Book Cliff Elementary, were discussed and approved for hiring. A teacher Ken Krausen was approved for Green River High School, but declined due to the inability of finding housing in Green River. Krausen has looked at the possibility of commuting from East Carbon to Green River. Supt. Kirk Sitterud stated, "There is no available housing in Green River right now. The homes and apartments are full in Green River. It is sad to lose a very qualified teacher for this reason."
Approval of water share leases for 2011 was given and will be the same as last year with the exception of the student built house in Castle Dale which requires two water shares.
Supt. Sitterud pointed out that Principal Thomas Baltzer has had some real health issues this past year. "We appreciate having him back," said Sitterud. Principal Baltzer reported to the board, the receipt of an award in November from the Utah State Office of Education indicating that Huntington Elementary is recognized as a recipient of the 2010 Utah High Performing Title I Schools Recognition. This recognition is provided to Utah Title I schools that are able to demonstrate high levels of student achievement. Ferron Elementary was also recognized as a Title I School and received a similar award. The teachers and administrators worked very hard with students and parents to achieve this award.
Principal Baltzer then presented the award to School Board President Laurel Johansen who accepted the award and thanked Principal Baltzer and his staff.
Principal Baltzer said, "We have set up a recognition tower in Huntington Elementary. We call it a treasure tower. Ferron Elementary also has one. We have the teachers, the faculty, staff, lunch ladies fill out a slip on each outstanding child and that child gets a token to put in the tower. At first everyone thought the tower took quarters and they were putting in quarters in hopes of getting a toy. When the fellow comes to replace the toys, he will be asked to return the quarters. We have had more than 210 recognition slips. A copy of the recognition slip goes home to the parents and a copy stays with us. "We have a tremendous faculty and staff. I love each one. When I am done I will miss them but I would not have any other faculty and staff. I have been to the other schools and I like what we have here."
The board thanked Tom for all that he does at Huntington Elementary.
Sitterud gave the Superintendent's report. He started off introducing a new education program from the state. The name of which is Common Core. "Many of you have seen things and heard things about the Common Core. More information can be found on the internet at www.corestandards.org or www.commoncore.org. This is the talk of the state of Utah now. Common Core will replace the current language arts and math curriculum. This has been adopted by about 38 states. They are now working on a Common Core Assessment. This is basically a national test. The test however will not be ready for about four year," said Sitterud.
The implementation of Common Core will start next year. The state has scheduled all grades K-12 for Common Core Language Arts. Next year Common Core math will be implemented in grades six-nine. It is not known as yet how this will affect staffing.
In Language Arts there is not see a big change, but the math curriculum will change dramatically the content and the names of the courses. Basically seventh grade math will become an algebra class. The eighth grade class will be learning algebra and geometry. The public needs to be aware of these changes and what they will mean.
Supt. Sitterud said, "The real challenge will be to provide help for those students that are having difficulty learning math. We will have to decide how to deal with those challenges, possibly through after school programs, summer programs or some sort of lab classes. This may require additional staff without additional funding. Common Core is not a bad thing. It will be extremely good for our students. When you hear students talking about Math 7 and Math 8, these are not low level math classes, these are algebra and geometry classes. The rural schools are excited about this program and are preparing for implementation over the next three-four years. Tests will be administered to assess how well the Common Core is accomplishing our goals.
"The Governor's budget recommends some increased funding for education. He is recommending just more than $50 million statewide for growth and money to continue the kindergarten program. We hope to extend the kindergarten program for an additional three years. You have to understand that the governor proposes a budget and the legislature does with it whatever they want. Do not expect any more money than what you already have. The governors budget is encouraging but optimistic. The current WPU or weighted pupil unit or money allocated per student is $2,514 dollars," said Sitterud.
Supt. Sitterud reported the School Activities Association recommended Darrell Gardner 3A Coach of the Year for 2009-2010.