School Board looks at scholarships, football field renovation and the school's report card

The Haakon District 27-1 Board of Education meeting on Monday, November 19, 2007, began with communications from the audience.

Philip second grade instructor, Jessica Wheeler, is the head of the Haakon Education Association's playground equipment project. She reported that a fundraising auction of special items will be held on January 20th, 2008. Wheeler said that her students are "excited about the progress" and about the different items coming in the mail. Items are coming in almost every day.

All auctioned items will be donations from famous individuals or businesses. Some current objects are a John Crane framed print, a crew-signed photo of the Red Green television show, a Jim Davis signed drawing of his comic character Garfield, a Jim Yellow Hawk limited print, a Jim Belushi signed DVD, an author signed Berenstein Bears book, and many more items are still arriving.

Lisa Schofield, representing the Philip High School Alumni, reported that the organization has donated $10,000 as the base for a second year scholarship fund. One percent of the capital's yearly interest will be returned to the capital, while the rest will be a scholarship that would vary around $400 to $500. It will be operated through the school's current trust fund. The PHS Alumni also donated $5,000 toward the HEA playground program.

The school board approved an additional School-to-Work site. Brigitte Brucklacher oversees the program. Students have been experiencing on-site and hands-on learning at the sites under the administration's permission until the board could officially approve this year's list of sites.

The board approved Brad Haynes as the assistant boys' basket ball coach. Boys' basketball practices will begin Monday, November 26th. Practices for high school wrestling began on November 12th, with the first tournament to be on November 30th and December 1st in Stanley County. Practices for girls' basketball began Monday, November 19th. The board also approved the list of volunteer coaches. The approved list is a precautionary technicality to clarify any liability such as workman's compensation.

The board approved the application of the Teacher Compensation Achievement Program (TCAP). Superintendent Keven Morehart said that an estimated $12,000 granted to the school is based on the school's enrollment. Its goals and objectives are as a type of compensation to be divided "basically to individual teachers who are on committees and go the extra mile."

Bids were opened for the Cottonwood Roping Club property that was donated to the school system to support future scholarships. The 10 gates went for $700. The board authorized the administration to dispose of all remaining equipment and to accept any reasonable offer on the roping chute and the water tank.

The board approved the renovation of the football field. The plan is for a contractor to rip up eight to 12 inches of the surface, truck in around 300 cubic yards of topsoil to level the field, then plant grass and provide maintenance for a season. The work must be done before next football season. Morehart reported that at least two opponent coaches said they would not like to return to the current Philip field. Morehart and Secondary Principal Jeff Rieckman voiced concerns about the possible liability with debris working its way to the surface. For the last three years, the community has helped the school to improve the field, but to no avail.

The board went into executive session for student matters. No action was taken.

Senator John Thune has sent a letter congratulating the Haakon School District on being designated as a distinguished district for the third year in a row. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) report card stated that Haakon School District has 96 percent of its third through fifth graders proficient in math. For the same students, 98 percent are proficient in reading. For the 11th grade, 70 percent are proficient in reading, while the state goal is 72 percent and the state score is actually 71 percent. Rieckman said, "Everything runs in cycles. We have to give credit to all our Philip, Cheyenne and Milesville teachers. We also have to realize, as the kids get older, they may get smarter, but they are also getting smart enough to think 'I don't care about this test.' The NCLB has a sliding scale so by 2014 all students are supposed to be 100 percent proficient."

Morehart said, "How do you argue with that? We all want each of our kids to do well, but 100 percent proficiency for 100 percent of the time probably won't be possible."

Board member Craig Hanrahan attended the Associated School Board of South Dakota meeting. He was frustrated and stated, "It didn't seem like any of the delegates had any impact on the resolutions because the top people had already gone through everything and gave patent answers. The group was almost a rubber stamp for what the higher-up people wanted." He noted that the great majority of the 57 delegates did not understand the 150 percent rule and how it effected property evaluation and mill levies. "The ASBSD wanted to get rid of the rule, but did not propose any safeguards," said Hanrahan.

Rieckman reported that the next grade check will be November 27th. He said that the winter concert series begins on December 3rd with the elementary performing. The junior high band and vocal students and the fifth and sixth grade band will perform on December 4th. The high school band and chorus will perform on December 17th.

Morehart reported that instructors Betty Berry and Marie Slovek attended an RTI workshop, which is an early intervention program to help students. Berry and Melanie Morehart attended a state special education workshop on lesson plans and transitioning. K. Morehart attended a school law seminar.

The next board meeting on Monday, December 17th, will be at 5:00 p.m. in order to adjourn before the high school Christmas concert.