School

Creighton middle school teacher Hannah Sucha and two of her students shared the students’ experiences from last month’s wax museum event with members of the school’s board of education at last week’s board meeting.

Ian Crockett (Thomas Edison) and Braxton Eggerling (Husker football coach, Scott Frost) explained the characters they chose to portray and the preparation involved, including research, writing a report and a making Google slide. Sucha then “pushed their start buttons” to bring the characters to life, before the boys presented their recitations.

Sucha said 55 students participated in the event that was held as part of grandparents’ day activities at the school.

“I call it a huge success,” said Principal Ryon Nilson. “I thought it was great having those people in our building, seeing a positive thing going on, academically related. I think it is one of the better things we have done during the time I’ve been here, as far as parent interaction.”

Superintendent Robby Thompson reported on school hours, related to snow days.

Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 10 requirements for accredidation include 1,080 hours for students in grades nine through 12, 1,032 for first through eighth graders, and 400 hours for kindergarten students.

“I figured them out, I think we are ok, but they are talking about snow coming Thursday (April 11)... so we will see how we turn out there, but I think we are ok,”  

On Monday, Thompson told the News that he is rechecking, but still believes the school will meet the requirements.

However, referring to teacher contract days, he said, “That might not be 185 days.”

Annual teacher contracts include 185 days. Thompson said last year, teachers were allowed to make up the contracted days by attending workshops or scheduling work days during the summer, and he expected to do the same this year.

“I think it promotes the idea of some professional development,” Nilson said.

The board also heard that all teacher contracts had been signed and returned for 2019-2020.

There will be just one section of each elementary grade, according to Thompson. Currently there are two first grade classrooms. Justine Kibbie, one of the first grade teachers, will move to the fifth grade position, currently staffed by Rebecca Pischel, who has resigned effective the end of this year.

Board approval was given for contract ratification, with aye votes coming from all six board members, President Kay Morrill, Duane Fanta, Dixie Hanefeldt, Greg Kuhlman, Amy Borgmann and Matt Fritz.

The board also approved Kim Lemke and Teresa Kuhl as Title One summer school teachers and Joe Pfanstiel as driver’s education teacher, as part of the consent agenda.

Classified staff will receive a 3% across-the-board pay raise next term, also with a unanimous board vote, on the recommendation of Personnel and Finance Committee members Kuhlman, Fanta and Morrill.

Thompson reported next year’s activity assignments to the board. Changes include Brenna Thies, a para-educator, assistant volleyball, Ashely Ketelsen, junior high volleyball, Zac Kliment, junior high wrestling, in addition to varsity; Valisa Juracek and Barb Borgmann, 11th grade sponsors; and Christine Baldwin, Chase Maier and Pfanstiel, 12th grade sponsors. Thompson is still working to finalize the list.

Thompson said Kliment will work with the junior high football team, that is co-oping with Plainview, at Creighton, but Kyle Kibbie will travel with them to Plainview, to allow Kliment to be in Creighton for varsity practice.

Nilson reported on technology instruction. Kortney Sayers, the school’s technology integrationist, is currently setting times to work with each  teacher,  either in the classroom or on the back side, assisting with technology issues.

“Every single teacher in the building has to schedule a time,” the principal said. “It’s something new to them, not necessarily new to every teacher in the building, but it’s a step for them. A teacher who is more advanced in technology will be doing something different than one who struggles with technology.”

Nilson also discussed AEE or “AE-squared,” standing for three words - Attitude, Effort, Excellence - displayed on the front of the building that he is using in correspondence as a brand of sorts.

“One thing that impressed me as I visited other schools, they all had a saying or something they identified with,” he said. “We have these three words on the front of our building, so that is one of the things we are gong to do with school improvement, is to kind of sell that as a kind of logo, or saying for our school,”

On the recommendation of the Building, Grounds and Transportation Committee, Fanta, Kuhlman and Fritz, the board unanimously approved a $20,450 bid from Brad Kissler, an architecht with CMBA Architects in Grand Island. Fanta made the motion that was seconded by Kuhlman.

“It sounds like a lot of money when you first talk about it,” said Thompson. “But the scope of the whole thing is that he’s going to come in and tell us what we need to do, send out information, take bids, open them up and if there are any questions, he will take care of that.”

Fanta, who is chair of the committee, said, “It is well worth the money.”

Thompson said it would take the architect about three weeks to draw up plans and another three to four weeks for the bid process. He is hopeful a contractor can be hired to complete the project over the summer.

The board voted to amend the rules of administration of the Erwin McDowell Trust loans, after a lengthy discussion. Morrill said the board of education serves as the administrative board for the trust as well and many terms had never been approved by the board.

The amendments approved included allowing  loans “up to” $7,000 per applicant annually, to be determined each year according to income into the fund and the number of applicants. Discussion included the increasing balance of the fund and concern that few college students applied for loans after the first year of college, although they are available. An adjustment to repayment terms was also approved.

The amendments were adopted unanimously on a motion by Kuhlman, with Hanefeldt providing the second.

The board also approved all loan applications submitted, $2,000 for current year CHS graduates, and $3,000 for past graduates, on a motion by Fritz, seconded by Hanefeldt.

After discussion on features versus cost of tiers one and two, the board approved Hanfeldt’s motion for the purchase of a tier one Sparq E-meeting program at a cost of $1,500, with an additional one-time setup fee of $500, with the second coming from Fanta. The board vote was unanimous. The tier two version had a $2,500 price tag.