School district to implement summer feeding program
The Emery County School Board met in their March meeting at Huntington Elementary. Jeneane Warren, director of school food service addressed the board, she said Green River High is the only school without a breakfast program and a program will be started there when school starts in the fall. Warren talked about a summer feeding program which will start this summer. Three schools qualify for the summer feeding program including, Huntington Elementary, Ferron Elementary and Book Cliff Elementary. A school needs to be 50 percent free or reduced lunch to qualify for a summer program. Schools qualifying are: 55 percent-Huntington; 52 percent-Ferron and 68-percent Book Cliff. Warren said she is getting two to three applications a day for free-reduced lunches.
The summer feeding program will run until July 31 and begins June 1. Warren said she has analyzed the potential for meals being served and has averaged out the results. The Community Center in Green River has been doing a summer feeding program and they will bring the students to Book Cliff Elementary for lunch. Any age students to age 18 can come and have lunch for free. There are no income requirements to the summer feeding program for the three schools. Adults can also eat for $3.50 a meal after all the students are served.
The staffs at the three schools are willing to make the program work. The summer feeding program can also go along with any other summer programs at the schools like summer school. Other school districts participate in summer feeding including Carbon and Richfield. Richfield feeds 1,700 meals a day and Carbon feeds 1,500.
In operating a summer feeding program, the funds for the regular school lunch program during the year will increase because for each summer meal served, funding will go into the regular school lunch program. Warren said the summer feeding program is a real opportunity for a community. Families can use money saved at lunch to purchase food for other meals. Anyone from outlying communities and not just the community where the summer lunch program is available are welcome to participate.
The school board agreed to try the summer feeding program to see how it goes this summer.
LaVar Jensen from the Huntington Stake Presidency requested that the school activities end at 5 p.m. on Monday nights so kids can get home to be with their families. Research shows that children who eat regular meals with their families are less likely to try drugs and other harmful activities.
Board President Laurel Johansen said she appreciated the input from Pres. Jensen.
Superintendent Kirk Sitterud said the board can't pass a formal policy, but can make recommendations. Board member Marie Johnson said the number of meals eaten together as a family makes a difference and she supports a recommendation to avoid activities on Monday nights.
Emery High has hired a swim coach, Marilyn Collard, to begin a swim team for Emery High. It is a new program and will begin right away to get athletes who want to be on the swim team ready for the swim season which begins in the fall. The new pool facility is ready for swim meets and Emery High will host meets at the pool.
Whitney Smuin was approved as a special education assistant at Book Cliff Elementary in Green River. The board approved a 1/3 contract for Marilyn Collard. Superintendent Sitterud reminded everyone that part of the bonding for the pool was based upon a swim program being started for Emery High. This program will practice during after school hours. The pool is also to be used for PE programs where healthy lifestyles are stressed and swimming is part of the program. The schools can come in and use the pool free of charge for two days each year. Everyone agreed the swim team program should begin now so preparations can be made for the swim season.
The board talked about the early retirement incentive program. A survey was sent out to employees to see how much interest there was in an early retirement program. Any wishing to take advantage of the early retirement would not be replaced due to reductions in the budget.
Superintendent Sitterud said there were nine responses sent back which he felt was enough interest to send out formal application forms. Employees opting for the early retirement would still receive the equivalent of 18 months of health insurance which they can use to purchase health insurance, use for other health needs or take the money in cash. In some cases the retiring person would have to be replaced but would be replaced with a lower salaried person. The money is paid out of fund balance payments.
The superintendent gave his report; he said he has received letters of intent to retire from Christine Hunt-counselor; Dale Richards-teacher at GRHS-Pam Jeffs-teacher and Annette Cook-teacher at Huntington Elementary.
Sitterud also talked about the legislative session and the anticipated cuts there. He said declining enrollment over the last several years in the Emery district and budget reductions will lead to belt tightening at the district level.
Business Administrator, Jared Black said an assessment on the conditions of the school buildings will be done in the fall. He will work to put together a facilities committee which has input and discussion on the buildings. Several architects want to help with doing the studies and prioritizing projects for the buildings.
Sitterud presented a letter written by Jesse Malan thanking the board for allowing the participation of the FFA in a competition in New Mexico.
In the principal's report, Huntington Elementary Principal Tom Baltzer submitted this report: "A very special thanks to each of you for all you do to make the district a success. Likewise to our superintendent and district personnel for their great support.
"Peer tutuoring was done again this year with fifth graders tutuoring second graders for nine weeks, in reading skills. Sixth graders worked with first graders for nine weeks and Canyon View Junior High students came down to tutor our third and fourth graders.
"The fourth graders were trained to work with our kindergarten students in pre-reading, phonemic awareness during the month of February and March.
"I Can Read" was replaced by "Star" reading. Jennifer Mortensen supervised instructional assistants in doing Star with individual students first-third grade on a one-to-one basis. This is a real asset to our getting every student on grade level in reading. For fourth-sixth grades, Read Naturally, a computer based fluency and comprehension program was provided.
"Mrs. Mortensen supervised the training of teachers and assistants in the implementation of using the DIBELS test to monitor and track students on each grade level in their understanding and use of phonemic awareness as well as building fluency in reading. Each student grades 1-6 were tested three times during the school year and their progress was recorded for ongoing teacher instruction.
"Emily Mills' kindergarten class presented a program called Mother Goose's Goose is Loose written by Lana Kofford. Teri McElprang's second graders will present their class program in March.
"Throughout the school year many teachers have been involved in workshops to help improve literacy, writing, and reading on each grade level. In addition, each faculty member will attend the Core Academy three day training in July where teachers are trained and updated on the state core subjects science and math.
"Through the efforts of Jon Crawford from the district and Jennifer Mortensen along with Judy Rowley and Lori Kay, Huntington Elementary now has a web site, which can be accessed by parents, students, teachers, or other interested community members to find out pertinent information about faculty and staff, activities, lunch menus, etc.
"We have a very energetic and active PTA board this year that have sponsored many varied activities to encourage the students in reading and math as well as other activities just for fun.
"In February we held another very successful Valentine's Day Carnival which raised money for school improvement projects. The PTA also sponsors the Sunshine Citizen of the Week, with one student from each class being selected each week for outstanding citizenship and exemplary school and classroom behavior. Each recipient was given gift certificates donated by different businesses in our community.
"We are again pleased to have made Adequate Yearly Progress along with passing the U-Pass assessment.
"We will strive to continue on in the great traditions of providing the best of everything for our students under the capable hands of each teacher and staff member at Huntington Elementary so that we can continue to be the best elementary school in the district," said Principal Baltzer.
The next school board meeting will be on April 1 at Cleveland Elementary.