President Sharon Kuska opened the regular Exeter-Milligan school board meeting and welcomed the visitors before diving right into an agenda which included a vote on the new building addition.
The first item on the agenda was quickly addressed as board members heard the treasurers’ report, the March expenditures and the minutes from the last meeting.
Next on the agenda was a curriculum report given by high school teachers Rachel Haider and Jordan Marr. Haider began her presentation speaking about the work the teachers have been doing on state writing. “New at the service unit this year we have been able to take papers written by our fourth, eighth and eleventh graders and have them evaluated.”
“This has helped us gauge where our students were at and what we needed to work on. We noticed a big improvement from what we saw from the evaluation in the fall to the January tests.”
She noted that they won’t get the results until May but they are very optimistic that the Exeter-Milligan results will be on par with the rest of the service unit.
Haider also touched on the technology she uses in the classroom showing the board the sample of she uses a learning management system called google classroom. She showed an example of the teacher side of the application and using a pretend student, their side of the program. “I hope that this also teaches them folder management and filing systems for their college future.”
Marr addressed the board next. He teaches in the high school as well, with classes in the social sciences, p.e., math and business. He shared a little about three of his current classes, government, economics and world dance. He reported on the civic engagement projects his government class has been involved with included roadside clean-up and food drives. He also described the way they have been doing a co-curricular actibity with the English class reading “1984.”
In the Economics class that Marr teaches he is teaching some of the business concepts by guiding the students who have opened a business to sell snacks and drinks to other students. Their goal each year has been to raise $1000 to donate to a charity. The students learn advertising and have also had the opportunity to film a full length commercial.
“I hope to get them to understand the basic economic ideas in a way that engages them. . .it helps with understanding salesmanship, inventory, and marketing. I am grateful the school allows us to do this,” noted Marr.
This semester Marr reported he is teaching a new class, “World Dance.” He is teaching ballroom style dancing and currently has four students. “The kids have had a great time and it has been a great experience. We hope to go to a showcase of professionals in Omaha in April.”
After the curricular report the board moved on to old business which included a building project update. Superintendent Paul Sheffield reported that he had met with the architects on Monday and “got things hammered out on design and placement of items in classroom. It would go out to bid in April and then ready to break ground in May.”
President Kuska responded that “some of the items, including covering the driveway (just outside the kitchen) and the commons area mayb be ready before the winter sports season starts next year. It should be completed in August of 2016.”
The board discussed the contract with the architect and board member Tim Pribyl noted that Tim Williams, the school’s lawyer, had reviewed the contract. The board voted to approve the contract with the architects Clark Enerson Partners.
Kuska also reported that the Cedar Bluffs school district has now formed a Joint Public Agency to build a new vocational center. “It does work. They (Cedar Bluffs)are looking toward the future at other projects.”
Again under old business, Superintendent Sheffield broached the subject of replacing the bleachers in the Exeter gym. “When we talked about this before we thought we needed three walkways. After going to Sandy Creek for districts they just had two walkways. It would still reduce our seating capacity but I think it would hold the number of people we have coming.”
Sheffield reported that there would be a loss of 75-80 seats but “the people who would come would be able to sit comfortably.”
The new bleachers would telescope electronically, they would have hand rails on them going up the walkway and would have four to six more inches on the bleachers.
The board discussed the possibility of replacing the bleachers on the stage and made no decision on this. Board member Kendra Jansky responded, “I don’t think they’re going to get any cheaper. I think it will be beneficial to look into.”
Sheffield noted, “If I can’t get them to go with the two aisles I am not going to move forward with it.”
Pribyl explained, “If you could come in from both sides of the gym (like the building project plans for) then maybe everyone will be more evenly distributed even if we lose seats.
The board voted to approve replacing the bleachers providing the condition of two walkways was met.
The board accepted the resignation of high school English teacher Rachel Haider.
The board discussed several upcoming conferences and convetions before briefly touching on summer building projects. The next meeting was set for April 15th at 8 p.m. in Milligan.