The South Hamilton School is serving as a collection point for donations to the Marsh family, who lost their Jewell home and all of their possessions in a recent fire. Two of the Marsh children are high schoolers, and the family also includes three preschoolers.
Plans are for a kennel to be set up in the high school rotunda, where donations can be placed and lists of needed items will be available. Clothing and personal care items are needed, as well as household goods. Cash contributions can be made as well to an account for the Marsh family at a Story City bank.
The school board approved the collection at their regular monthly meeting Monday evening, part of a brief agenda as the first day of school approaches on Thursday.
All ready for that first day is the renovated high school/middle school kitchen and cafeteria. Work on the $1.2 million project began in April, and the project met the completion target date of August 1 with a few days to spare. The cook staff has been busy getting equipment in place. An open house was held Tuesday evening for the public to view the remodeled facility.
In a related matter, the board discussed the trophy cases that were located in the high school commons before the renovation project. More space is needed to house trophies, but the board made no decision on the matter.
In other property matters for the start of a new school year, Supt. Tim Johnson told the board that the custodial crew has "been working very hard to prepare school for fall. Kudos to them."
There are seven new teachers on staff for the new school year, according to Johnson. All the staff has been working on preparations for opening day. "I don't know if I have ever had a pool of teachers like this come in this early," he remarked. "This is an indicator of how they will be working this year."
The resignation of middle school/high school secretary Amy Barquist was accepted. Shirley Nelson, formerly employed at NEH who started at SH this summer, will transfer into Barquist's position. Janet Greufe was hired to fill Nelson's position as administrative assistant in the administration office.
In other personnel matters, Todd Coy was approved as junior high football coach and Jennifer Geneser was hired to coach junior high volleyball.
Elementary Principal Paul Hemphill said that preliminary enrollment figures show the number to be in his building this year at 369, while last year on official count day it was 381. Secondary Principal Scott Dryer told the board that the teachers in his building "are ready to go" for the start of another school year and commented that some new computers will be needed to accommodate additional students in grades 7 through 12.
Johnson shared with the board information on the need for new band uniforms and instruments.
Another item on Monday's agenda was the Fruit at Schools program which has been in place in the middle school/high school for several years so students can have fresh fruit daily at no cost. The program was originally funded by a grant, which has expired, and the annual cost is $10,000, which the school cannot absorb. Board members agreed that it's an important program which they would like to continue and discussed several options. Some $1,300 was been donated at school registration to continue Fruit at Schools, and Johnson will contact several area businesses for possible financial support.
Also on Monday, the board approved:
Purchasing new narrow band bus radios.
This year's milk contract with AE.
Rental agreements with the Randall and Ellsworth gyms and the Jewell golf course.
A board retreat was set for 5 p.m. on Wednesday when the board will work on superintendent and board goals.