Thursday, March 24, 2016

Exeter-Milligan School Board Meets

President Sharon Kuska opened the Exeter-Miigan school board meeting by welcoming the visitors present.

The board approved the consensus agenda after hearing the treasurer’s report from Kendra Jansky.

Board member Adam Erdkamp reviewed the bills.

Caitlin Murphy, an Exeter-Milligan eighth grader, presented her FCCLA Star Project. She will compete at the State competition in April.  Her project involved collecting donated school supplies and distributing them to any students who needed them. 

She was able to receive donations during the Open House and distribute them as well.  She established a system whereby teachers notify her by email when if they have a student who needed supplies.  Also, she has put together kits for new students who have come to Exeter-Milligan mid- year.

Representatives from the school wellness committee, Lisa Soukup, Darcy White and Lori Ruhl, presented an updated wellness policy for the district. Updating the wellness policy was one of the goals of the federal Carol White PE grant that the district is participating in.

Soukup noted, “Some things that are different (in this new policy) were more specifics on foods that we would provide. We are trying to get healthier foods in the classroom for parties.”

White added, “We are working towards healthier eating, liked making better suggestions for snacks.”

Physical activity is another one of the facets of the wellness policy.  The group recognized that the teachers must be role models.  They have started a step challenge with McCool that will go to the end of April.

Soukup explained that their goal is to challenge the junior high and high school students, “In the morning we have the gym open so they can come in and walk.  We want them to take brain breaks throughout the day in their classes. . .try and get some type of movement in during a 45-minute class in the high school.”

Kuska asked about forming community partnerships.  The committee, according to Soukup, hasn’t reached out yet.  “We are trying to get these policies in place before we branch out.”

The board moved on to the building project update.  Superintendent Paul Sheffield explained the west entry is unofficially finished. Currently, construction work now includes doing mud work on the inside and brick work on the outside.  They are “on track to be done at the end of May or beginning of June.”

The board discussed fundraising for different activities. Board member Annette Gloystein was very positive about the students participating in fundraising for their activities, “I think the students learn different abilities.”

Kuska added, “I am of the same mindset.  I think it is great for the students to do.  It gives them a little bit of sales skills and helps them learn to say thank you, set goals and to work toward something.”

Sheffield will present a fundraising policy for review at the next  board meeting.

During the new business portion the board accepted the resignation of third grade teacher Casey Pohl who will be getting married and moving to Iowa this summer.  Earlier in the year they accepted the retirement of first grade teacher Sharon Lott.  The third elementary teacher to resign was PE and Title teacher Derek Harlow.  The resignations were approved.

The board also approved the principal contracts.

Three new teachers were approved including Brooke Neville for fifth grade, Catherine Roemmich for Special Ed/Title and Laura Steuben for third grade.   Sara Lincoln, who currently teaches fifth grade, requested a transfer to first grade which was approved.

Elementary Principal, Laura Kroll, reported receiving approximately 50 applicants for the open positions.  They are still working out who will teach PE in Milligan.  Kroll added that “all of the teachers hired have a special education endorsement which is an advantage in the classroom.”

Several board members mentioned their concern about the absence of a male teacher at the Milligan campus.

Next on the agenda was a discussion on the lunch program.  The district has been participating in the federal lunch/breakfast program and part of that program includes the commodities program. A new addition to the program is fresh fruits and vegetables, which was very beneficial.  Sheffield commented, “To be able to find those (fruits and vegetables) from regular vendors, we have no idea what that would cost.  Yes there are hoops to jump through, but they are making it more enticing.”

Sheffield hopes to start a beef program whereby area producers could donate beef to the school lunch program.

The board has discussed several times the option of removing the district from the government sponsored lunch program.  Sheffield made it clear that if the board chose to opt out of the government sponsored lunch program the option to go back into the program would be available the following year. No decision was made on the lunch program.

The board reviewed the senior trip planned for Minneapolis.  Sheffield reported the information had been given to parents and the canines will be at the school that morning to sniff the luggage.

There will be a very short summer project list as the construction will be wrapping up.  An air conditioning unit that was recently replaced in the current band room may be relocated to the Milligan school library.

Sheffield reported that the application from the Friend school district to join the CRC was not approved by the required number of current members.

He also noted that a human performance program will be brought to the district on Friday, April 15.  The presentation is given by several former Navy seals and is a joint project with the Fillmore County Coalition.  There will be a parent meeting on Thursday, April 14 starting at 7:30 PM.  All parents of students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to attend.

The board set the next meeting for April 13th at 8 p.m. in Milligan before adjourning.

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