The Emery County School Board met for their December meeting at Canyon View Junior High in Huntington. Those present were Laurel Johansen, chairman, and board members Sam Singleton, Royd Hatt and Rue Ware. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud and Ross Huntington, business manager were also in attendance. The first item on the agenda was the approval of the warrants and minutes.
The next item was the principals report with Larry Davis, CVJH principal giving the status report on his school. He said he has been working this school year with Doug Mecham who is serving as an intern with administrative duties. Davis said he appreciates Mecham as his assistant and they have worked together on some difficult projects.
Mecham was next to speak and said, "It has been a learning experience for me, Larry is very organized and sometimes I'm not. We would like to introduce you to our school. We have 83 students in the seventh grade, 79 students in the eighth grade and we have 75 ninth graders. We have 11 more students than we did last year. We are seeing an increase from move-ins and single parent families. We have 30 percent of our students on fee waivers which represents $3,820 in fees not collected for use at the school. We have 51 percent of our students on free or reduced lunch which totals 122 students. I think that says something about the economy in our area.
"We have a staff of 26 at our school. We have 14 teachers and we have three commuting teachers that we share with
other schools. We have two media specialists and a half-day counselor. We have a half-day resource aide, two fulltime custodians, three food service workers and a chorus accompanist for two periods each day. We receive compliments all the time from visitors to our school on the cleanliness of our facility. Larry Davis serves as principal in our school and Roma Brotherson is the administrative assistant. Doug Johnson is the computer technician and he is always willing to help out and he does a great job.
"We have started an integrity program this year which helps teach self esteem. Our honor society helped collect donations for the Brown family when they lost their son in a car accident. The honor society also makes items each year and donates them to the Primary Children's Hospital. They also conducted a food drive and gathered 900 items for the local food bank. We also have a Top Cat program which awards students each quarter for positive behavior. One half of the studentbody achieved Top Cat status which is a combination of academics and citizenship. Our football team took first place in league play and the volleyball and junior varsity volleyball took first place in the tournament. Our wrestling team is undefeated. We have a great school and great parents," said Mecham.
Principal Davis went on to explain how the school is working to refurbish the greenhouse. Lee Moss, science teacher is working with the forest service on a program to introduce seedlings into the forest that are grown in the greenhouse at the school. Emery Telcom was mentioned as the sponsor of the Top Cat Achievement program with an academic grant. A federal grant is also being used for new fitness equipment which will be installed soon. Upgrades to the media center are also planned with the installation of a new bar code system for all the library books. Davis also described the Homework Helpers program which operates three nights a week for two hours each session. "It has proven to be a vital program. We also received from the Salt Lake Olympic Committee some nice things including a TV, fax machine, office supplies and some tables. We are also looking at the installation of air conditioning as a capital improvement. It will be nice to have climate control in our school. We also have a new copy center which is close to the classrooms which has worked out well. Other improvements include new teacher computers, refinishing of the gym floor and the remodeling of the girls locker room. This has helped a lot and needed to be done for a long time and is a nice asset for the school. We have new science books which the teachers are pleased with and they fall in with the core nicely.
"We are still working on the accreditation process which was started last year. We formed six committees which include every member of the staff and also included students and community members. We will complete the process by the middle of January and will have a site visit in February. We are comfortable with that and have made great strides. We have included a lot of staff development as part of our efforts. We are also deeply involved with UPASS it has been a huge undertaking with amazing challenges. We are also working on remediation and holding students accountable for repeating their core classes if needed. They are expected to have a foundation before they move on. We are also focusing on English as a Second Language; we have 20 Spanish students and a meager budget. Eric Mortensen works with these students and helps them in their core classes. Also Lee Moss and David Bird help with the Spanish students and deal with parents. We see this as a growing need.
"We have been working on teaching positive lessons on honesty, integrity and discouraging lying, stealing and cheating," Davis also described situations which have been worked out including high school students who would visit the junior high on their way to school. Problems in the bus loading zone have also been worked out. Each of the faculty have been trained in CPR and have practiced various drills with the students. Our counselor helped with crisis intervention when we had the death of one of our students earlier this year. I was never so proud to be a part of this school as I was at this time. The students worked to collect funds for the Brown family.
"I am happy with the replacement schedule for carpeting the rooms and encourage that to continue. We are also working towards involving the parents more in the school. We appreciate the support of the school board," said Davis.
The next item on the agenda was the request of David Bird, chorus teacher at CVJH to take the honor choir to Salt Lake City for a performance at Kearns High School on Jan. 17-18, 2003. The board agreed to the proposed trip.
The next item on the agenda was Reed Fehlberg, band instructor with a request from his department. He emphasized the importance of music education and how those students who play musical instruments score higher on tests. He pointed out that San Rafael Junior High helps fund the sixth grade band program at Ferron and CVJH helps fund the program for Cleveland and Huntington elementaries. The high school helps with the program for Castle Dale and Orangeville. He also mentioned the need for more practice instruments.
Fehlberg explained how they have kept old instruments past their prime in working order to enable students to have practice instruments. He also requested a digital recording device to help the students with their recordings for both band and chorus.
San Rafael has a similar need for instruments and they have turned in a proposal. There are 71 students enrolled in the band program at Canyon View.
Huntington said in previous years they have funded the band programs in spurts. He thought it would be an advantage to allocate a certain amount each year so the band instructors would know what to count on.
The next item on the agenda was the discussion of the proposal for a second science lab at San Rafael Junior High. There is only one lab and two science teachers. The proposal is to turn one of the vacant classrooms into an additional lab with the addition of water, countertops and gas. They also proposed that one of the trailers currently in use at the school by two part-time teachers could be eliminated with the sharing of a classroom inside the building to eliminate the costs of the trailer which would free up funds for the lab.
Yvonne Jensen who is the 9th grade science teacher performed experiments outside when the weather permitted at the beginning of the year. A certain amount of labs are recommended by the state science core. It was determined that a significant number of students are missing out on lab work and the school board will visit the school to look at the situation.
The discussion of the meeting schedule for 2003 was next on the agenda. It was determined that they would rotate the schools they visit so they are not holding a meeting at the same school at the same time each year. The new rotation will begin with Canyon View Junior High on Jan. 8, 2003 at 7 p.m.
Huntington reported that negotiations with the certified personnel went well. It was moved and approved that the negotiations be accepted.
The next item for discussion was the field trips and excursions policy. Ware reported an incident which had taken place when he was following one of our buses and a student threw out a cup of ice and water from a bus window. It didn't break his windshield but it frightened his wife. Ware felt that the district would be involved in a lawsuit and in court at this time if this incident had involved another vehicle besides his. He felt that the chaperone policy needs to be looked at.
The boy involved has written a letter of apology to the Wares. Ware was concerned that if the correct number of chaperones were not on the bus, then it should not leave. One suggestion of having backup chaperones available for trips if the chaperones do not show up on trip day was made. Or possibly arranging for more chaperones than required by the policy.
Ware also made the suggestion that there be another level of approval for trips. The teacher makes a request which then goes to the principal for approval and then to the transportation supervisor to see if a bus and driver would be available at the requested time. Ware also questioned sending inexperienced bus drivers over the hill. He said it was his understanding that subs would be used on the home routes and the experienced drivers sent on the longer trips. Superintendent Sitterud said at the present time they do not have a large pool of drivers. Ware said if they don't have adequate drivers then the bus should be kept home.
Superintendent Sitterud said the district has a good safety record and they will work to eliminate the problem. It was determined that no field trip should proceed without required chaperones. Ware made a motion that supervisors approve all field trips and excursions. It was determined that this would be adopted on a trial basis for the rest of the school year afterwhich time feedback will be taken. The board pointed out that the principals have done a good job screening for field trips.
The next item was the tabling of the discussion for the early retirement policy until the executive session. The next item was the update on the roof at Ferron Elementary. The early storms of September resulted in leakage at the school and these spots have been repaired. The next item was the discussion of the hiring of an architect for the warehouse project. It was determined that the board would tour a warehouse currently under construction in Richfield to gather an idea of the work by architect, Kevin Madsen.The meeting adjourned into executive session with the next school board meeting to be held at Canyon View Junior High on Jan. 8.