NEH reviews emergency policy

The Northeast Hamilton School Board reviewed safety procedures, a tentative school calendar and discussed coaching contracts at its regular monthly meeting on Jan. 10.

In light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Dec. 14, NEH Supt. Patrick Hocking reviewed the district’s emergency policy which are included in the faculty/staff handbook.

The review has resulted in changes to NEH’s safety procedures, reported Hocking. One of the changes is the designation of Missionary Alliant Church as the safe place for students where parents can pick up their children if the school ever had an emergency, said Hocking.

In addition, Supt. Hocking reported a change in classroom exit procedures with teachers leading students out of the rooms and building to safety. Supt. Hocking announced that although the school holds several fire and tornado drills annually, it hasn’t held any drills for a disaster or emergency. The school district will add an emergency evacuation drill to its annual checklist.

The Board reviewed the tentative 2013-2014 school calendar. Supt. Hocking reminded Board members that the NEH calendar is being developed in conjunction with Webster City CSD and that the proposed calendar is a work in progress.

Tentatively, Aug. 20 is the first day of the 2013/2014 school year. Thanksgiving break begins at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 and Christmas break runs Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, 2014. Spring break tentatively runs from March 17-21. The proposed date for graduation is May 18, 2014 and the last day of school is May 28. Supt. Hocking reported that the district will schedule Early Out days every third Wednesday of the month in order to schedule professional development workshops for teachers.

Beth Heller, representing the teaching staff, addressed the Board on the

tentative calendar. Heller asked that mid-term and end-of-quarter dates be included on the calendar as a tool for teachers to structure lesson plans. Also teachers asked there be no day off between semesters, no early out before Christmas, only one professional development day at the beginning of the school year and one built-in snow day. In addition, the teachers asked for the dates of Parent/Teacher conferences.

In contractual business, the Board approved a contract for Karla Isaacson as Speech teacher.

In other business, Supt. Hocking noted that traditionally, the Board approves coaching contracts at the January meeting. But due to declining enrollment, NEH may find it difficult to field viable teams in some sports.

“Our numbers are low,” reported Hocking, who wanted district patrons to be aware of the current situation.

Hocking reported possible participation numbers for each sport. Possible participants in boys 2012 track are nine and 11 for girls. Junior high boys track has a potential of 11 participants while girls has seven. Hocking estimated other participation numbers which include: softball – 13; baseball – 13; football – 21; volleyball – 13; boys basketball 12; and girls basketball 8. “The numbers are starting to get down,” reported Hocking. “We don’t want to get into a situation where we couldn’t play a number of games”.

It was noted that due to illness, NEH had to reschedule several basketball games because the school could not present a viable team.

“We want to continue our sports program, but it is a balancing act,” said Hocking.

Hocking asked Board members to visit with district patrons concerning the future of NEH sports. The Board will discuss its findings and consider contracts at its February meeting.

It was announced the school district will conduct a sale of miscellaneous items on Friday, Jan. 25 from 5 – 7 p.m. in the school shop. Some items include a push mower, small and tall lockers, defrost refrigerator, cafeteria chairs, desks, computer carts and file cabinets. Items may be viewed by contacting Jill Babington at the school office.

It was reported that Transportation Director Gene Greenfield is requesting bids for a 30-45 passenger bus.

Administrative assistant Dennis Bahr reported on the joint professional development workshops between NEH and Webster City CSD. The joint meetings are being conducted in an effort to coordinate Common Core curriculum between the two schools to insure NEH students are learning correlating

information used in the Webster City high school curriculum.

It was announced that the snow days missed in December will be made up at the end of the school year. Currently, the last day of school is scheduled for Friday, May 31. Junior class representative Tyler Smith reported on the NEH 2013 Prom which will be held on Sat., April 27 at the Williams Community Center.

“Big City, Bright Lights” is the prom theme and a group meal is being planned tentatively in Ames or Ft. Dodge. Professional photos will be taken prior to the dance at the Williams Community Center.

Supt. Hocking reported that the school would provide bus transportation if the meal is be held outside of the district.

An informal board meeting will be held with the Stratford and Webster City School Boards on Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. in Stratford.

NEH School Board professional development took place prior to Thursday’s regular meeting with Stratford CSD Supt. Sarah Binder giving a PowerPoint presentation on the Stratford Early Learning Center. The ELC is a school-based day care program. The Board reviewed the first half of the 700 series on board policy and received the second half of the 700 series. The entire 700 series will be

voted on at the February meeting which is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 7 p.m