Elections for officers took place at the Emmetsburg Community School Board meeting on Sept. 19. BJ Schany was nominated and approved to continue his position as School Board President and Rick Brennan was also nominated and approved to continue as Vice President.
Emmetsburg Community School Superintendent John Joynt informed the board that John Kennedy has turned in his resignation as Middle School Track coach. The board approved his resignation upon finding a suitable replacement for the coaching position.
Stephanie Baker has been approved to increase her hours with Special Education and Title 1 at the Catholic School from half time to three-fourths time. "It would be Special Education money covering the increase in hours," said Joynt of Baker's job change. "She's certainly putting in the time already."
Two policies are being discussed and researched for the staff and students. The first is a policy that would make it possible to use a school vehicle for transportation to a non-school event, such as summer athlete camps and competitions.
"Our girls on the basketball team attended a team camp in Carroll in the summer," said school board member Tammy Naig. "Three or four students were packed into a coach's small vehicle. I just think we would be a lot better off and a lot safer in a school vehicle."
Elementary School Principal Joe Carter has researched the topic and shared his findings with the group. He found that it is legal in the state of Iowa to have such a policy and many schools already have such a policy in place. Many charge a fee to be paid by the group needing the vehicle and those funds are used toward gas and insurance for the vehicle. Coaches, parents and boosters would be approved to drive the school vehicles, but probably not any students. He also found the school would be liable for the students being transported, just as they already are during school events.
Carter added his feelings about the possible policy, "I think it is important. I think without question in some cases our coaches don't go to events because this policy doesn't exist. We want our coaches to do these things. Right now it's become a burden on coaches to do something we would like them to do."
Board member Brennan agreed with Carter and added, "We went to two camps this summer and the parking lots were full of school vehicles on both cases. I think it would help all of us and all of our students for sure."
"I think we drive differently in a vehicle with a school sign on it than a personal vehicle," added Naig. "I would feel more comfortable as a parent."
The board decided to research existing policies used in other schools and move forward with approval process at the October meeting.
The second policy being researched is an Internet policy for staff. Currently the school only has a policy for Internet usage by students, but this policy does not address staff usage. Joynt shared that his research showed that many schools have policies for each, while many others have a universal plan shared by staff and students.
"There are definitely some advantages to everyone having the same rule," said Joynt of the two possibilities. "I have no recommendations at this time."
A focus group has been created to further research and discuss the new policy possibilities. High School and Middle School Principal Fred Matlage and Middle School Assistant Principal Tracie Christensen will be in the focus group as well as three teachers; Randy Oleson, Jennifer Brandisant and Jared Pickett. Christensen has provided the policy used in her former school in Charles City for the group. This plan is an example of including both staff and students under one universal plan. The board will talk over the possibilities with the group and move forward in October.