An early graduation request was approved at the October meeting of the school board Monday, Oct. 20.
Kelsey Marker, a junior at Prairie High School, had started the process with a letter of intent at the beginning of her sophomore year. She took summer school and Idaho Distance Learning Academy (IDLA) courses to cover the credits needed to graduate. According to principal Todd Shumway and counselor Lydia Deiss, she’ll have all the required courses taken as well as enough total credits to graduate by the end of this school year.
Marker is planning on going into school counseling, which is a 6-year course of study.
School board members expressed apprehensions about early graduation, especially with the college credit courses now being made available at the high school level but unanimously approved Marker’s early graduation request once Deiss said that she feels this is in Marker’s best interest.
The auditor’s report was given by Mitchell Marx of Presnell & Gage. Marx reported everything looks good. The report was approved by motion of the board.
A large group of football cheerleaders was in attendance at the meeting along with a couple of football players who were there for support. Kristi Poxleitner, cheer captain, spoke for the group requesting use of a bus to the Kendrick game Oct. 31 at no charge to the cheer squad that would also be open to other students and/or the public for a fee. She stated they didn’t feel it was right that the cheerleaders had to pay to go on the bus to the Troy game. She felt they should be treated either as a sport where transportation is provided by the school or at least as a performance group like the band when they go to perform. Either way the school district should get 85% reimbursement from the state.
Superintendent Gary Blaz said that since they weren’t on the agenda, the board couldn’t really make a decision at this meeting. Board member Gus Hoene said his business would sponsor the bus to make sure they have one to make the trip.
Erin Shears and Chandra Eimers appeared before the board and did a presentation on the Center For Discovery. Eimers is the project coordinator for the local consortium which includes Kamiah, Grangeville, Elk City, Cottonwood, Kooskia and until this year, Riggins. She said they have been approved for another 5-year grant by the state.
She presented data that shows that students participating in the CFD scored better on the Idaho Standards and Achievement Test (ISAT) than those that didn’t. The most marked difference was in math. When asked by the state what they were doing to show such improvement in the math scores the response from the site coordinators was “homework assistance.”
The Grangeville consortium also has a lot more stability than many of the programs around the state where there is turnover at the coordinator position. In Cottonwood, Shears has been there since the program started.
Shears reported that one thing they added this year was extended preschool. Preschoolers can stay at the CFD after their preschool session is over and be bused home with the others at the end of the day.
In other business before the board the resignation of the school nurse was accepted by the board. Blaz said he has some applications for a replacement and should have a recommendation by the November meeting.
Blaz also reported that he’s like to see the board approve doing a Fuels for Schools assessment. This is a no-cost assessment of the heating systems in the school buildings. He reported that Liz McLeod’s advanced biology class at the high school is helping out by drawing floor plans and identifying ventilators and the various heating bill comparisons. Blaz reported this was done at a school in Montana that he worked at and they were able to recommend things that resulted in substantial fuel cost savings.
The board gave their approval to proceed with the assessment, especially once they learned it came at no cost or future obligation.
Blaz also floated the idea of giving senior citizens free admission to PHS games. Athletic director Travis Mader had asked for a hold on any decision on this until he brings it before the League. The White Pine League in the past few years has been trying to make admission prices consistent throughout the league.
In administrative reports Blaz said that the wellness room at the Elementary School is up and running and has seen plenty of use already. The wellness grant from the Nez Perce tribe covered the costs. Blaz feels if they can show the staff is taking care of themselves better that they can get some reduction in their health insurance premiums.
He also reported that parent/teacher conferences will be held the week of Nov. 3. At the elementary school they attempt to schedule these at the parents’ convenience in the evenings.
Todd Shumway reported they are working on the flats for the December play production at the high school. They will be doing Gift of the Magi. He said they will be doing Pirates of Penzance in the spring.
He also reported the gym lobby trophy case has been painted and all state trophies are on display. They are also using the old track record board as a thank you board to those who donate to the athletic programs.
He reported the Advanced Biology dual credit course has been set up through the U of I and he is working on geology. Once completed they will start working on aligning elective classes for college credit.
The athletic complex is showing progress as they now have enough topsoil for the proposed baseball and softball fields. He received a letter from the Idaho National Guard confirming they will be here the first two weeks of June to do the leveling.
He also reported he plans to send out letters to home schooled students and have a formal meeting with Summit Academy to offer IDLA enrollment through the school to see what the interest is.
The board adjourned at 9:45 p.m. The next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.