Board, SIAC cover recommendations
Reading and participation discussed

Posted September 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm


The Boyden-Hull school district and School Improvement Advisory Committee covered progress made so far regarding recommendations made to the board at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.

SIAC president Lisa Te Slaa met with board members Mark Warntjes (president), Mark Nilles, Aric Van Voorst, Joy Hurst and Jake Ten Haken and they had a roughly 35-minute discussion during the two-hour plus meeting.

The top suggestion was to review and improve upon the book selection process for the upper elementary grades in terms of both interest and reading level.

Paraphrasing Boyden-Hull Elementary School principal Tom Kerr, the accelerated reading program has given those students access to 30,000 books, including those at the Boyden Public Library.

SIAC also recommended that the district focus on its reading scores, add professional development to the accelerated reader program and pay close attention to those students who are at or near the cutoff mark when determining the school’s annual yearly progress (AYP).

“Students have to be in the 40th percentile or higher,” Boyden-Hull superintendent Steve Grond explained.

The accelerated reader program is a hands-on computer-based system.

In addition, sports was scrutinized by the SIAC. The group recommended starting junior high school softball and baseball programs and to review the sharing agreement with Rock Valley’s school district in baseball.

The SIAC is worried about the number of Boyden-Hull students participating in baseball. Te Slaa expressed concern that some may be getting “shorted” or not getting “a fair shot.”

This is a “sensitive” issue, Grond admitted. However, in recent years, a shared baseball program with Rock Valley has been a major success.

The Nighthawks have won more than 20 games, garnered the Siouxland Conference championship and advanced past the first round of the playoffs in each of their past two campaigns. BHRV also won the league title in softball this summer.

The committee recommended replacing the concession stand and adding locker rooms at A.R. Hesla Field. The board said it would like to consult with Western Christian High School on such a project.

SIAC also asked for stalls or curtains in the elementary school restrooms. Grond said the administration will get quotes on the cost of either stalls or curtains.

Drinking fountains in the commons area of the high school have been fixed. One new fountain was installed in a hallway.

The group also asked for earlier out times before major holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. The current out time is 2:30 p.m. One consideration is a 1:30 p.m. dismissal.

The SIAC is made up of three administrators (Grond, Kerr and high school principal Dan Pottebaum) plus two teachers (one at each center), two students, a pastor and several concerned parents.

The school board also discussed new state-mandated concussion procedures.

The Sioux County Index-Reporter will examine this issue in a column in the forthcoming Wednesday, Sept. 29, edition.

Don’t be alarmed

The school board approved the purchase of a new fire alarm system at the high school.

The previous zone-based system was operational for 30 years, Grond said.

The new addressable system will have 35 horns and strobes. It will be able to pinpoint where the first alarm was signaled.

This new system will cost the district $10,694.

In addition, the school district approved the purchase of two Yamaha T1-18 pianos, one for both the elementary and secondary center. The cost will come to $8,295, including a pair of moving carts.

“The pianos will be in ready-to-play condition,” Grond said. “(Music teacher Colin) Mr. Conner said he’s having trouble keeping the high school piano in tune.”

The new piano at the high school will be placed in the shell of the chorale room. The existing piano will be moved to the stage. The old piano at the elementary center will be removed.

The board also accepted a new contract with Western Christian High School concerning the use of A.R. Hesla Field.

Western Christian will be charged a $2,400 rental fee for 10 events during football season, and an additional $200 for each event beyond that. The rental fee for the track is $1,000.

Board bits

• The board accepted new dates for parent-teacher conferences. The new dates are Thursday, Oct. 21 and Tuesday, Oct. 25. The Oct. 21 session will run from 4-8 p.m. and the Oct. 25 conferences will occur from 4-7:30 p.m. Dates had to be changed to avoid a conflict with playoff volleyball.

• The board met with Andrea Janke, from the Minneapolis-based TAHER program, which runs the school lunch program.

During the 2009-10 academic calendar, the program ran at a loss. She said the goal was for TAHER to end the 10-11 fiscal year with a $3,600 fund balance.

Janke said the loss could have been attributed to costs ordering food plus labor, wholesale milk prices and working with food “in the raw” as opposed to processed goods.

• The district received two good bits of financial news. The district refinanced a bond stemming from construction at both the secondary and elementary centers in 1999.

The refinanced bond will save the district $125,000. But, the district will be charged $1,000 per year as part of that refinancing.

Also, the federal government passed an Education Jobs Act last week.

This is a $96.7 million program and the Boyden-Hull school district will receive $120,000 in one-time money.

• Boyden-Hull High School principal Dan Pottebaum said the School Resource Officer program is “going well.”

The board covered a memorandum of understanding concerning the SRO during its meeting.

Pottebaum said SRO Waylon Pollema has been helpful in a couple of instances already.

• The board approved Grond to be able to go on instructional rounds at other school districts as part of the Iowa Leadership Academy.

Superintendents form teams and troubleshoot problems or concerns within a district.

• The board tabled renaming the A.R. Hesla Relays to the Nighthawk Relays, taking no action on the matter.

This track and field event has been known as the Hesla Relays since 1974.

• The board discussed, with no action taken, hiring three additional part-time associates at the elementary school.

A person will work on average 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours per day.

The district is currently taking applications for those positions.

Grond said he took a wait-and-see approach concerning enrollment before requesting the additional personnel.

• During Sue Huls’ business report, she said certified personnel will supplement of $5,436.69, $4,737 after taxes.

The first payroll went out this past Monday and King, Reinsch, Prosser & Company of Sioux City was also expected to start its audit of district finances on Monday as well.