Russell tapped to lead board

By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter

During the May 12 school board meeting, the board was reorganized and Kip Judisch moved to nominate Joe Russell as chairman. Jill Johnson then moved to nominate Carole Jones as vice chairman. Craig Broesder was welcomed to the board and Afton Lamoreaux was re-appointed as clerk.

The girls’ basketball coach will be Tyler Bucklin with assistant coach Mollee Gemar. Boys’ basketball coach will be Tyson Anderson. Speech and Drama will again be run by Wayne Reynolds and Rick Moss. The Wrestling coaches will be Kevin Moritz and Ralph Diedrich and the cheerleading advisors will be Christy Kulpas and Stacy Aaberg.

The technology department is nearing the end of their Slate grant. They have been awarded approximately $36,000 worth of new technology and they have purchased document cameras and slate boards among other things. They also have IPAD2s on order for next year. Half of the teachers are still working towards the learning requirements of the grant.

The resignation of Gale Schlosser from the Conrad School system was read and approved.

Students were recognized from each of the schools for the month of May and Abby Moerkerke was also presented because of her absence at the last meeting.

Abby is the daughter of Joe and Stephanie Moerkerke and is a seventh grader. Tara Thielman, UMS principal for the 2011-2012 school year, commented that Moerkerke is a “role model”. Dan Brown also noted that she has “great work ethic” and is “a breath of fresh air.”

Ganessa Naylor and Blaine Berg were this month’s students. Ganessa is the daughter of Mike and Shannon Naylor and is an eighth grader. Craig Barringer commented that she “helps make her class better” and will be “a great addition to CHS.” Tammy Jones also said that “this girl has the greatest laugh in all UMS.”

Blaine is the son of Chris and Jackie Berg and is also an eighth grader. Carol Brownell said that he is “motivated from within” and Jones said he is “very deserving” of this recognition.

From Meadowlark Shariden Richter was presented by Barringer. Teachers said that “she loves to learn” and is a “leader in the classroom”. Shariden is the daughter of Dennis and Shari Richter.

Val Kellogg and Diana Agre presented twin sisters, Carly and Hailey Taft from Prairie View. They are the daughters of Doug Taft and Cynthia Ries. The teachers commented that Carly is “diligent” and “bright” and Hailey is “loaded with creativity”.  To show the crowd their true creativity, the ladies of Stockman Bank, Laurie Philipps and Renae Bouma, recited the poetry written about the bank by Carly and Hailey.

Sydney Slezak was the CHS student of the month. She is the daughter of Ken and Brenda Slezak and is a senior who plans to attend Carroll College next year. Her Grandpa Glen is her inspiration in life and a poem she wrote about him won her an award and scholarship. Teachers commented that she has a “clear focus” and is “mature beyond her years”. Two words that came to Kendall Griggs’ mind to describe her were “focused” and “determinded”.

Debbie Perry was selected as Montana’s School Counselor of the Year. She was recognized at the state conference for her outstanding work in and out of school.

The kindergarten screening went well and the average score of incoming students was 63.37 with several children scoring in the 70s. There were 49 children screened compared to 45 last year and it is projected that the enrollment will be 578 for the 2011-2012 school year. This is down from 582 this year.

The Montana Behavioral Initiative evaluated UMS and moved them to the bronze level for their improvements and overall scores on procedures, expectations and date collection. In four years they have gone from a 36 percent evaluation to a 95 percent.

Sam Vidal has been approved to buy 50 new world history textbooks with accessories. The old books were copyrighted in 2000. The cost of the new books will be $5,752.34.

Ken Larson presented the idea of getting a new sign on Main Street for the high school. He has priced a full color sign from a company out of Florida for $31,000. The funds for the sign would come out of the Pepsi donations and there is currently $24,000 sitting in a contribution fund. The board has decided to move forward with the idea and to look into local and Montana companies to purchase the sign from.

The board policy is changing to reflect federal laws pertaining to firearms on school grounds. The current policy is written so that a student may be expelled immediately but the new policy gives the superintendent the ability to use discretion and base the situation case by case. An example of this would be a student with an unloaded firearm in the trunk that they forgot to remove after a weekend of gopher shooting. If the student had obviously forgotten to remove it and they had no obvious intentions to harm another student, they would be able to have the appropriate punishment through the superintendent’s decision.

The next regular school board meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 14 at 7 p.m. in the Russell Building conference room. The Russell Building is not handicapped accessible and the meeting can be moved to the UMS library upon request.

Requests should be made to the personnel office at 278-5521 prior to the time of the meeting.