San Rafael Junior High School Principal Garth Johnson welcomed the Emery County School District Board to the school for the January meeting. "It is a pleasure to have you here in our school. I want to begin by telling you how much we appreciate everything the board does for us. We especially appreciate the support we get from the board.
"We have an amazing faculty and staff here at San Rafael. Jarett Gilbert, our new teacher, teaches seventh and eighth grade English. He is working out just great and doing a good job. We have three second year teachers and they all have shown much improvement.
"The school lunch program at San Rafael is a really good program. They feed on average 240 a day. I think the numbers stay up well because of the wonderful smells that fill the hallways each morning.
"We had a very successful workshop during the first quarter of school called the New Face of Drugs. It was about the use and misuse of prescription drugs and how easily they are to get hooked on. The idea behind this workshop was to raise awareness of the effects of prescription drugs and to try and alter the students perception of prescriptions being 'only a pill'. Many students wrongly think that because they are prescription drugs, they cannot be harmful.
"Another great experience we had was Reality Town. Our new counselor, Christine Hunt, put that together and the students had a great time and the program was a very good learning experience. Christine has met with every ninth grade student who is struggling with grades or other things. She is a great counselor and very kid oriented.
"The student council has hosted two 'breaking down the walls' days. As the students leave the lunch line with their trays, they are handed a candy bar. The lunchroom is sectioned into areas where holders of each type of candy bar are to sit. This forces the students to intermingle and socialize with different students and get to know them. This has been a very successful experience for them.
"All the teachers received new computers this year and that has been a great asset. The teachers and students have been involved in numerous service oriented projects such as making hygiene kits for the food bank, and also a fun class competition fund raiser that raised more than $900 for Four Corners angel tree at Christmas. We have also had a couple of bullying workshops which I think the students here at San Rafael are responding to very well.
"I have one request and that is for our honor choir. For the past several years, the honor choirs from San Rafael and Canyon View junior highs have traveled to Hillcrest High School in Midvale and performed. This is a two day field trip and needs board approval. There are eight students from each junior high that will attend. I want to inform you also of the combined Valentine's dance which will be held on Feb. 15," said Johnson.
The board approved the field trip for the honor choirs. "We want to thank you for your dedication and hard work and all that you and your staff do here at San Rafael. You have created a great atmosphere for learning for the students," said Laurel Johansen, board president.
Another item approved by the board was the reappointment of Ross Huntington as the business administrator for the school board. The appointment of the business administrator is a two year appointment and required renewal. Huntington suggested the board investigate the salary schedules of business administrators and set a program in line for the future. In the past, the salary of the business administrator in Emery County has been 82 percent of the superintendent's salary, but if that position is vacated and filled with a lesser paid person, the business administrator's pay would be affected. "The two salaries should not be tied together," said Huntington. The board asked Huntington to do a comparison and bring the figures to a future meeting.
Superintendent Kirk Sitterud brought several items to the board for consideration. Several changes in policy have been required due to a difference between district and state policy. "One item is a wording change only. In our policy the word disability needs to be changed to personal leave. Another portion of the policy deals with the time of election of board officers and the length of those terms. Also, our home schooling policy needs to be brought into line with state policy," said Sitterud.
Following discussion of the details of each policy change, the board approved the changes.
Sitterud suggested the board consider adding a new head coach position at Emery High due to the number of students participating. At present there is one coaching position and with the number of students at 40, another position is needed. The board agreed to consider another position for the next season which begins in the fall.
Sitterud handed each board member a draft copy of the changes coming from the state level concerning graduation requirements. These changes will affect the class of 2008. "Principals, counselors, and teachers, along with the board should review these changes. We need to gather feedback about this draft policy as it is very likely that this issue will be coming back to the board before the end of the year," said Sitterud.
Sitterud informed the board of a call from Commissioner Drew Sitterud concerning the progress of the county swimming pool project. He said that Commissioner Sitterud stated that due to the county's need to use the mineral lease money to fund the Moore Road project, that money cannot be used to fund the swimming pool project. The swimming pool issue may be put on the ballot in November for the citizens to decide about the funding of the project. He also stated Castle Dale City may be willing to attempt to keep the existing pool open for one more year.
A 452 foot easement was granted to Green River City for a water project. Huntington explained that Green River City has requested that easement for the installation of a new 10 inch water line into Green River High School. This upgrade in the water lines will provide added fire protection to the high school.
The next Emery County School Board meeting will be Feb. 1 at the Castle Valley Center in Price at 1 p.m.