Principal Larry Davis, boardmember Royd Hatt, board president Laurel Johansen, Abby Jacobson, board member Marie Johnson, Kelsey Cox, Sidnee Conder, Haylee Beckstead , Dallas McArthur, Taylor Mann, Jessica Murray with the trophy, Coach Steven Gordon, Tayler Jewkes with the key to Castle Dale City, Jeridi Price, Coach Jon Faimalo, Jaiden Huntington, Coach Laura Sterns, and board member Sam Singleton.
The Emery district school board held their April meeting at Emery High. Board president Laurel Johansen recognized Dana Olsen who was named the school nurse of the year for the entire state of Utah. The board also recognized the Emery High girls basketball team for winning the 3A state basketball championship. Principal Larry Davis introduced the coach Steven Gordon and the girls from the team. He described them as superheroes. "They have brought a lot of recognition to our school. They worked hard. They are down to earth girls who have done heroic things."
Coach Gordon said he has appreciated the support from Mr. Davis and the school and the fans. He introduced the team to the school board. They are a great group of girls to work with. Emery wasn't expected to win the championship, but they did. He said the championship rings which the team will receive will be something they can look back on and remember their entire lives.
Taylor Mann thanked everyone for their support. Sometimes she thinks it was all a dream. It means a lot she said to have recognition and be able to come to the school board meeting. She said their coaching staff is amazing and they did a lot of things differently this year. Jessica Murray said she loves every girl on the team. She thanked the fans for their support. She said the coaching staff was hard on them but it was worth it. Tayler Jewkes said taking state was amazing and all the fans were there and everyone was cheering.
Johansen said, the girls are talented on the basketball court and also fine young ladies. She thanked the team and Coach Gordon for attending school board that night.
Jeral Lofley was named the new principal at Cleveland Elementary. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud said there were four applicants for the position. The position is being filled due to the untimely death of Principal Ed Clark.
Ben Carroll, the Emery High band director asked for permission to travel to the Days of 47 parade in Salt Lake. He said it doesn't interfere with any other county parades this year and is a good experience for the students. Grades 9-12 band students are eligible to go.
Johansen said how much she enjoys hearing the marching band in the local parades. Carroll said the band will also be involved in the large groups festival and their spring concert.
Neal Peacock from the theatre department requested funds from the school board to allow them to give free tickets to elementary students for the upcoming play 101 Dalmations to be presented on April 27-29 in the auditorium. This will be Neal's 150th play at the school. They would also like to have refreshments as part of the celebration.
Sitterud said he thought they had some extra funds available to help the drama department. The free admittance for 0-12 year olds will act as an incentive to bring parents and community members out to the play. The school board approved the request and said they would like to recognize Neal and his accomplishments in the theatre department. He has never lost his enthusiasm even though he has directed 150 plays.
Davis requested fees for class novels for English classes and a fee for Sterling Scholars. The board approved the request.
The board approved a request by the Red Cross for the secondary schools to be used as emergency shelters in case of a disaster. In rural areas, schools are the only choice for shelters. The Red Cross will come and do a survey of the facilities so they know what to expect.
The board approved the rebid for carpeting. Two schools are in need of tree removal and in Cleveland, Bowdie and Boys was awarded the bid and in Castle Dale, Tree Top Service was awarded the bid. The bid for asbestos removal in a walkway at Emery High was awarded to Fresh Air Environmental.
Davis gave the principal's report for Emery High. At the beginning of the year, personal goals were set for the school. These were based on input surveys from students, faculty and staff that gave areas where focus would be directed. Goals included: improving classroom instruction, apply Bloom's Taxonomy, engage students from bell to bell, utilize a variety of formative assessments, insist on time on task, respect and motivate all students. Second goal was wage war on drugs; third goal-launch the school integrity program; fourth goal-fiscal responsibility; fifth goal-respect for all Emery High School clubs, organizations, and athletic programs. Work together for the good of the organization.
Davis said in the learning strategies class they are always presenting information on drugs. Students are learning from drug users and the impacts these users have suffered due to their drug use. In the last four years drug use nationwide has increased by 22 percent. "It's a battle, but we are making progress," said Davis.
Twenty seniors graduated early and next year the enrollment at Emery High will drop to under 400 students. Emery will also drop to the 2A classification and schedules in the new region are being worked on now. He said the new region will consist of Emery, Grand, San Juan, South Sevier and Richfield. Davis reported Coach Dean Nelson will be retiring after this year. Diane Carter will return to the high school full time and Doug Mecham will be the French teacher next school year.
Davis told of the homework class held each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school. Bobbie Hymas is the instructor for the class and student tutors help other students with their homework. Students who are on probation are required to attend homework class. The tutors are trained by Josh White. Students can also work on A+ credit recovery on the computer to help them make up credits so they can graduate. Average attendance at homework class is anywhere from 20-40 students.
Emery High will hold a ninth grade orientation day on May 12 where the ninth graders in the county will spend the entire day at the school. They will hear from speakers and begin filling out their registration papers. Davis said this day has been helpful to ninth graders to alleviate any anxiety they might experience in making the jump from junior high to high school.
Students meeting the requirements will have a party in May with activities. "All the extra-curricular activities and the classroom instruction are what makes EHS a great school. I believe Emery High will continue to be competitive in their new region. Smaller schools just don't have the depth to compete against larger schools," said Davis.
Sitterud thanked Davis for hosting the symphony and the schools that attended enjoyed the show. He said in addition to Coach Dean retiring, Alta Anderson, kindergarten teacher will also retire this school year.
Schools will begin their testing windows in April and May. Minimum score levels will increase this year by 6 percent meaning scores must be up by 6 percent over previous years. Sitterud fears that 85 percent of the schools will not meet Adequate Yearly Progress with these elevated score level requirements. All students must be at 100 percent proficiency by 2013. "The bar raises each year for testing scores. This will be a critical year. It's tough. On May 11, the state school board will be in the county for meetings." He invited the school board to meet with the state school board and superintendents from our region will travel to Emery County to meet with the state school board as well.
Sitterud covered the education bills that passed the legislature this season. The regional service centers are back into law and fully funded. There were a few changes in the school community council laws. Parents or guardians who work for the school district aren't eligible to be on community councils as parents. Davis said with this new rule, he will lose three parents off the EHS community council. Advertising on school buses passed as well as a bill to protect student athletes from head injuries. The civics curriculum must teach that the United States is a republic and not a democracy and the schools must report back to the Lt. Governor how that is being implemented. There were also changes in the taxes school districts levy, with the nine levies being repealed and put together in two levies. Also grades for schools will be published. Another bill gave the OK for an online education program with a voucher bill which would allow the WPU to follow the student to online schools. Sitterud said it's yet to be known how this will affect the Emery district.
Another bill passed states that all elected officials, school board members, community council members all need to have listed phone numbers so their constituents can reach them. Another bill increases the number of employee evaluations required.
Sitterud said he took exception to legislators saying education was fully funded this year in the legislature. They took money from other programs to put in the weighted pupil unit and it actually declined by $23 per student and education was only funded 46 percent. Sitterud meets with the legislators regularly while they are in session and also at other meetings during the year. Sitterud said for the most part our representatives are very supportive of education.
Business administrator Jared Black stated in his report that a sidewalk with retaining wall will be placed at Cleveland Elementary. This will help with the steep incline on that portion of the playground and it will be leveled somewhat to make mowing easier. Black told of a letter that came to Jeneane Warren regarding federal regulations on the pricing of school lunch. It stated that $1.99 or more must be charged for each meal. There is a possibility that rates will be increased.
The bids for new lighting for the Emery High football field will be looked at during the May meeting. They should last 20-30 years and be cheaper to operate and give off more light than current light fixtures. Depending on the lights chosen, there could be a need for more light poles around the field.
The May school board meeting will be held on May 4 at Ferron Elementary.