Community service project a success, Goessel board told

Goessel junior/senior high school principal Stuart Holmes reported to the school board at the Dec. 10 meeting that the weather was nice for the community service afternoons.

Students helped individual city residents and Bethesda Home. Elementary school principal John Fast said students had raised money for the New York Red Cross in November, and the local bank matched those donations. Students are currently collecting food for the local food pantry.

Fast also reported that the electrical work at the grade school is nearly completed. Only the music room and front hall need to be finished. He said it’s a big improvement.

Board member Richard Drake added, “I just echo the dramatic difference the lighting makes. I don’t see how they could read before. I applaud the administration.”

Superintendent Chet Roberts said energy costs will go down because of the new lighting.

Fast said the students noticed the difference, too, and expressed appreciation.

Fast also noted the grade school cooks were pleased with the water softener and the new counter tops.

Roberts presented plans for other improvements for the future. He said the list he made is not prioritized. It includes a track, roof repair to the grades seven through 12 building, parking lot, completing the replacement of windows at the elementary school, storage shed on the north side of the high school, storage shed for the elementary school, finishing the fence construction project, shot-put rings, discus ring, javelin area, football field lights and stadium construction.

Roberts said he would like the board to spend some time addressing the outdoor plan.

Board member Lynette Duerksen suggested adding better lighting outside at the elementary school to the list of possible future improvements.

Drake suggested adding water-flow corrections to the list.

“Is there any way to redirect the flow of water?” he asked. “Would we culvert the whole thing?”

Roberts responded, “We would have to build the track up.”

Drake and Roberts said the track is covered with water when there is a four-inch rain.

Board chairman Lynel Unrau said, “A lot of the city actually drains onto USD 411 property.”

Since Drake is on the city’s task force to study water flow through town, he was asked to keep the school’s situation in mind when addressing the city’s water problems.

Roberts summed up the discussion of outdoor improvements: “The more pride you have in what you do, the better you do. I feel things have really improved out there. We’d like to continue that. We perform well in the classroom. We’d like to perform there too.”

Roberts mentioned the brown pine trees at the elementary school had been removed. The board discussed planting replacement trees, but no decision was made.

Holmes presented a request from vocal music teacher Greg Bontrager for an “experimental” Intro to Music class project: the class will produce a musical in spring. The board approved the request and the following stipulations:

— All rehearsals will be during the class hour except the week of the performance, when evening rehearsals will be allowed.

— Only Intro to Music students can be involved as participants in the production, as well as technical roles such as lighting, sound and stage crew.

— The Intro to Music students will build and paint any stage backdrops during class time.

— Intro to Music students will be responsible for selling tickets.

— Approval of this class project “experiment” is for this year only.

In other business:

— Holmes commended the students and teachers involved in the high school play “Pillow Talk” and the junior high band and choir concert.

— He said the fall sports program had been successful. Sandy Banman organized a fall awards night. Winter sports are now underway, and the high school girls won the Bennington basketball tournament.

— Holmes expressed appreciation to the bank and credit union for providing food for the faculty and staff during teacher-appreciation week.

— Duerksen was appointed to the meet-and-confer committee. Board member Dan Miller was reappointed. Miller explained the group is a liaison between the teachers and the board. He said the group is not dealing with any issues right now.

— Drake reported on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting he had attended. He said there is talk of adding an assistant-director position.

“It’s tough to spend those dollars right now,” he said. Drake said the Oasis school has 19 students, with 12 or 13 of them in high school-but only one high school teacher. With seven or eight subjects per student, that teacher has a lot of preparation. Consequently, the co-op is considering the possibility of adding another high school teacher.

— Board member Dewayne Voth reported on the Learning Consortium meeting he had attended. He briefly explained a technology seminar about wireless communication. But he noted Goessel schools don’t have acess to it.

— Fast said the December reading incentive will be popcorn and a movie. The November incentive had been a hot-dog roast.

— Fast said the elementary school Christmas program will be Dec. 17 and the high school program Dec. 20.

— According to Fast, the fourth and fifth grades each have one new student, bringing the total full-time equivalency to 155. He said the fourth grade now has students, 15 in each section.

— The board approved Roberts’s recommendation to accept the school’s crisis plan as presented at last month’s meeting.

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