The Emery County school board approved the drug testing policy for Emery High in their January meeting. Emery High Principal Larry Davis said they have completed two years of research on drug testing and held a public hearing. The administrative team came together and streamlined the policy to present to the board. It will begin as a pilot program for the spring sports. The school will initially bear the costs for the program. Beginning next school year a $10 fee will be added to the student fees for drug testing. Testing will include 13 substances.
Superintendant Kirk Sitterud wondered if parents were aware the program would begin the end of February. Principal Davis said the parents would be alerted and the parents were involved in surveys at the beginning of the year as were the students. A positive test will not result in a court referral.
Student government will be involved in the testing as well as athletics.
Currently students can be recommended for a drug test if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use. This practice will continue under the new drug testing policy. Principal Davis said there is a tipline and a buddy box for suspicious activity. Teachers can also make referrals for testing.
Names approved for hire in the Emery School District included: Hailee Willis in the Huntington Elementary preschool; Shaun Bell as the head softball coach; Darren Olsen and Diane Jensen as assistant soccer coaches; Heather Jorgensen Behling teacher in the special education preschool at Huntington Elementary-part-time.
The comprehensive guidance program report was approved. Dayna Terry gave the report to the board. The counseling department has been working with the students in making sure they are ready for graduation. They held senior SEOPs as a workshop where the students went on the computer and filled out applications for college. The name of the SEOPs will be changing to Career and college readiness. They are working hard to prepare juniors for the state ACT on March 4. When the sophomores were tested they were above the national average. Another focus has been the state accreditation process the school has been working towards. The counselors have been making use of the iPad lab and the students have been on there exploring colleges. The applied technology college representatives came to the school and gave a presentation.
The state ACT test is free and it is new this year. It will not be held on a Saturday. The paid ACT tests will still be held four times each year and will remain on Saturdays.
Superintendent Sitterud said the counseling department is doing great and the Emery District has the mandatory one counselor per 350 students.
The board approved out of state travel for the auto mechanic students to travel to Hobbs, New Mexico for a competition. USU Eastern picks up the cost for the trip.
The board approved the lease of the school district water shares to Huntington and Cleveland with a .25 cents increase for a total of $3.25 a share. The school district gives two water shares each year to Castle Dale City for the house the students build each year.
The board reviewed the bids for the school bus purchase. The wheel chair accessible bus will cost $111,515 and the standard school bus will cost $111,190. These buses are purchased to phase out the older higher mileage buses in the district.
Principal Davis gave the principal's report for Emery High. He reported the Academic All-State for fall sports: Cross Country Sarah Collard, Jamie Gilbert, Melece Pulli, Hans Guymon and for tennis Banner Fauver.
The student council held a food drive and a blood drive and raised money for quarters for Christmas. The school had a Veteran's Day program and is proud of their military display case which highlights Emery High graduates in the military.
The school received a B for the UCAS Accountability grade.
There are 424 students enrolled at Emery High. It is projected that Emery High will gain 37 students in the 2014-2015 school year.
The school will have a site evaluation in March for the school accreditation which has been ongoing since last year.
A select group of students took a PISA test and they scored higher than average on math and science.
Principal Davis said all the sports teams have done well this fall. All teams except the boys cross country qualified for state. Most teams participate in 2A except football which was in the 3A classification.
Superintendent Sitterud said students are falling down in math scores. He believes part of it is teachers aren't being adequately prepared to teach math along with other factors.
Principal Davis said he appreciates the help of everyone in making Emery High a great school. The school continues to get better. The school continues to work on professional development. "I appreciate the school board and the district office support," said Principal Davis.
Laurel Johansen, board chairman said, "We're fortunate to have you as part of our school district."
Superintendant Sitterud said they would be attending the state school board conference. He will also be meeting with the Carbon District to discuss how to handle the junior high sports programs. Carbon District will be sending their 9th grade to the high school next year which will change the make-up of the Castle Valley Athletic Conference which includes Mont Harmon, Helper, Canyon View, Green River, Pinnacle and San Rafael Junior Highs. Carbon County Elementary schools are bursting at the seams, but in a few years, that will give them 1,400-1,500 at the high school level.
The legislative session has started and Superintendent Sitterud will spend some time at the legislature on education issues. He will attend each week.