JEWELL - At its first session since the start of the 2013-14 school year, the South Hamilton school board started off Monday evening with the introduction of four new teaching staff, who were in attendance to get acquainted with the board members.
Preliminary enrollment figures were reviewed. Secondary principal Scott Dryer told the board that the numbers are currently about even compared to last year. "I expect us to be slightly ahead when everything is factored out," he added.
According to elementary principal Paul Hemphill, there are 15 more students in that building currently when compared to the 2012 count day. Tuesday, October 1 is official count day this fall.
In the remainder of his report to the board, Dryer included information on a leadership conference that seniors attended at Adventureland in Altoona. All 54 South Hamilton seniors were invited to the event, which was open to seniors from all around the area. Dryer said he thought the format and content of the conference was excellent, and he was pleased that the entire SH senior class-except for two--could attend and benefit from the day. In comparison, five seniors from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines attended, out of a class of 700.
Dryer also reported that the class of 2013 averaged about 16 college credits by the time they graduated, for a total of 841 credits, the highest number in the Heart of Iowa activity conference. The next closest senior class was at Gilbert High School.
"It's been a busy beginning," elementary principal Paul Hemphill told the board about starting off the new school year. With elementary special education numbers increased, there
may be a need to hire additional teachers, but that is still under discussion. The elementary is using a new language art series this year.
In other business, the retirement of a long-time teacher and coach was accepted by the board. Jim Klein has submitted his resignation and plans to retire at the end of the current school year.
Athletic director Todd Coy discussed with the board issues with protective equipment. Concerns center on the condition and safety of equipment purchased by families for their young athletes. Following discussion with the board, Coy said he will check on the policies in other districts and report back to the board at the October board meeting. Plans are to work with superintendent Tim Johnson on a new policy on the issue.
Coy also told the board about concerns he has of the condition of the wrestling mat, which has been in use for more than two decades and needs replacement. He has talked with the SH Pride booster club, and they have agreed to purchase a new mat. The board approved paying for a hoist to be used with the mat. Total cost for the mat and hoist comes to $18,908.
High school vocal instructor Jolene Shaefer was at Monday's meeting to discuss with the board this fall's high school musical production of "Beauty and the Beast." Shaeffer recommends adding a Saturday matinee.
According to Shaefer, because this musical is owned by Disney, royalty fees are higher than the school has paid for other musicals. Also, costumes for this production will be rented, which will add to the cost. Offering a Saturday matinee in addition to three evening performances will generate additional revenue to offset those costs and will also make it easier for school-age children to attend. "This is a good show, a good time, and we want people to come see it," Shaeffer remarked.
The board approved Shaeffer's recommendation and also set musical ticket prices at $5 each for everyone school age and above. Dates for the musical are November 14, 15, and 16.
Shaefer, who is also middle school student council sponsor, reviewed her proposed plans for a reward trip for student council members. This is a new incentive, which the board approved. Plans are to spend a day at the Zearing Learning Center in April.
In other business on Monday, the board:
Appointed junior Molly Houdeshell to be the student school board member. Senior Mikayla Monthei will remain on the board in a support role.
Approved Cara Sloan's resignation from seventh grade girls basketball.
Approved Angie Robinson, Amanda Luhman, and Brett Johnson for assistant coaching positions as well as Nathan Hill and Laura Read to be volunteer coaches.
OK'd the purchase of 10 radios for use in emergencies.
No bids were received for snow removal.
The board made plans to work on 2013-2014 board goals at its October meeting.