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School board discusses junior high sports

By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

The Emery County school board met in Green River at Book Cliff Elementary for their February meeting. Superintendent Larry Davis asked for a personnel approval for Melissa Jensen as a 29.5 hour computer aide at Huntington Elementary.

The board updated their bullying and hazing policy. The additions go along with the model policy from the state. The automotive program will send students to Hobbs, New Mexico to compete at a junior college there. They will be using the Utah State University Eastern van to travel to the competition.

Book Cliff Elementary asked for a revision to their school trustlands plan so they can purchase Chrome books for grades third-sixth.

The board approved the watershare leases.

Superintendent Davis presented the capital outlay project list for approval. This wish list of projects the schools would like done will be completed with district money and money from the individual schools. The district staff went to the schools to look at the projects each school wants. Some of the schools are looking at upgrading their phone systems. Funds aren't available for all projects and projects will be completed as funds become available, now and into the future.

There are surveillance cameras waiting to be installed at some of the schools. Emery High needs a new chilling tower as the air conditioner is leaking. There is a roof leak at Castle Dale Elementary and Huntington Elementary. Two new portable units will be added to Emery High to accommodate more students when the ninth graders move to the high school this coming school year. These will be new units, there are portable units at both junior highs but they are too old to move. The high school will also need additional desks for classrooms and the cafeteria will need more tables. The portable units will go where the old tennis courts were at the school. Electricity and site preparation will take place in the spring and the units will be put in place during the summer.

Superintendent Davis said they will look at district resources to help with these additional expenses at the high school.

The board discussed the sports at the junior high schools. At last months board meeting there was a request from junior high coaches to add games to the basketball schedule.

Board President Laurel Johansen said she is concerned that this has the potential to grow and expand beyond just basketball. She has concern with the transportation costs. With the transition period this year with the ninth graders moving to the high school and the sixth graders into middle school there may be unanticipated costs with this transition.

Board member Marie Johnson said she would like to see money go to gifted and talented programs instead of into transportation for sports. Superintendent Davis said there are gifted and talented funds which go to the sterling scholar program and to the honor society. Additional transportation funds could be used for field trips and robotics.

Pres. Johansen asked Superintendent Davis what his insight is into the junior high sports programs. He said when he was involved at the junior high level, they were in a larger conference. Everything changed when the Carbon School District moved their ninth graders to the high school.

He sees concerns with sixth grade students traveling and being out late on school nights for games.

Board member Tracey Johnson said she talked to both junior high principals Yvonne Jensen and Doug Mecham. They thought it was a good idea. Their ideas were for games on Saturdays and not school nights. If the junior highs travel to a tournament, they could travel on the same bus and save transportation costs.

Tracey Johnson said teams are getting taken over by travel teams. Some kids can't afford to be on a travel team. Additional opportunities for junior high sports give kids a chance to play who might not be able to otherwise.

Board member McKenzi Guymon said it would give kids an opportunity to play and expand the program with more games.

Marie Johnson said the kids do have opportunities.

Tracey Johnson said as she watched her daughter play sports from 9th to 12th grade she saw her very shy daughter grow with the opportunities sports afforded her. She said Saturday tournaments were what they had in mind, not pulling kids out of school.

Superintendent Davis said policy states 7th and 8th graders aren't allowed to travel out of the two county area. Ninth graders in the past have traveled with the high school team. Also more games involves more personnel than just coaches, staff needs to be at the schools to open up, clean up, etc.

McKenzi Guymon suggested playing two games when they travel to Price to open up time for games on other days.

Royd Hatt, board member said he has questions with traveling teams that have the same coaches as the school team. Does that make it a school affiliated team?

One idea was to bring junior high teams to Green River for a tournament, this would be a central location for teams to meet.

Julie Johansen said she recently attended the junior high wrestling championships in Richfield and Emery County didn't have an official team there like other schools did. There were Emery County youth participating, but as individuals, not in conjunction with a school.

Pres. Johansen said she doesn't think a policy change is the answer, but would like to look at proposals on an individual basis. If you want to go to a tournament or host a tournament, present a request to the board.

JR Jones, the principal at Book Cliff Elementary gave his report. He said the school had a burglary in December. The sheriff's office has recovered all but one I-pad. The high school student council came to the elementary school and did an ice cream social to take the minds of the elementary students off the burglary and student safety. They provided activities for the students. PD Ace Hardware and Melon Vine sponsored a fund raiser spaghetti dinner for the school.

They raised $4,842 and Emery Telcom donated $1,000 to the school. With this money the school will update PE equipment and help finance the Chrome books. They will keep the public informed on what the funds are spent on. The money will be spent on items the students need. Principal Jones thanked the school district for their quick response after the burglary. They were quick to come down to the school and thanks to the sheriff's office for their investigation of the burglary and fast recovery of the items.

The school is setting goals for their students and participating in incentive activities. The robotics club from the high school will be asked to come down and perform for the students as one of their activities.

All of their goals and activities are working towards increasing students proficiency in testing and core subjects. The school sent a homework packet home over Christmas break and a sixth grade student won a Kindle in a drawing from those students returning the packet. The school participated in their first science fair and had a great turnout, some students will move onto the district science fair. The first and sixth grade students had an activity together.

Kacey Fluckey, principal at Green River High School gave her report. She said the block scheduling was implemented this school year and students are achieving success with this program. They are working through any issues with the block scheduling. Increased classroom time has led to more direct instruction and cooperative learning for the students.

The students have been able to work on more projects. Teachers are more engaged with the students.

"The faculty has been excellent with these changes. They have turned in suggestions. Neal Peacock came to our school and did a training on cooperative learning with students and teachers. Rob Murray and Ashley Jensen have helped with the STEM and robotics program. Our kids won the award for most inventive robot at the Thanksgiving Point competition. We have added Crosby Hatt to our staff, she teaches choir and it's been fun having a choir program again.

"Our student council has done some great things with community involvement. They hosted a Veteran's program. They retired flags. It was a touching program. For 45 minutes our students stood with their hand over their hearts as the flags were retired."

Fluckey mentioned a strengthening families 11 week class they are having at the high school, this class is currently for Hispanic families and will be expanded. Fluckey said she appreciates the help from Doug Johnson for the technology needs at the school and all the help from the district office. "They have made extra effort to be in Green River in our schools," said Principal Fluckey.

Pres. Johansen thanked the student council for being good examples to the community and the elementary students.

Superintendent Davis said the Green River student council put together a card and donation for the family of Ethan Winter, an Emery High student who was killed in a car accident in November. They presented it to the Emery basketball team when they came to Green River to play basketball.

He also thanked Tony Herrera for his rendition of the National Anthem on the guitar.

Superintendent Davis said he has been out in the schools and learning and going to their faculty meetings. He believes students are being helped and encouraged throughout the county. He will begin to attend community council meetings.

He asked for permission from the board to advertise for an assistant at Canyon View Junior High as their aide is going to Huntington Elem. to be the computer specialist. JJ Grant will retire from the Service Center at the end of June. Applications for this position will close on Feb. 17. Much work is going into the transition for the sixth and ninth graders. Registration at the high school was just finalized. Positions will be filled with existing staff, then transfers will be considered and then positions will be opened up. Getting staff in place is a high priority right now for the district said Superintendent Davis. He has sent out a letter asking any teachers who are going to retire at the end of the school year, to let him know now.

He has been to the legislature and is keeping an eye on education bills. The state school board association and the superintendents association are looking out for the children of the state. He also met with all of Emery County's legislators and will attend the legislature again.

He is working on a state of the school district report and also a recognition program. They are also working on a drop-out prevention program that will be unique to the Emery district. There will be a program to get students back into education and on a pathway to graduation. The funds for the state technology grant were finally approved and this is for more than $70,000. The technology committee will meet on Feb. 22.






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