New school paper ‘delivered’ to board

By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter

Ken Larson circulated a few copies of CHS’s new newspaper, The Cowboy Chronicles, before the school board meeting on Nov. 12. Congratulations go to Kristi Calvery and her group of journalists for this achievement. It was also, later, revealed that Calvery recently received a $14,000 grant from 3 Rivers Communications to purchase video equipment. Calvery’s class will be constructing a commercial about Conrad with the new supplies that they will enter into a contest for a chance to potentially win them more money.

Staff presentations began with Todd Truscott presenting the CHS student of the month, Morgan VanDyke. Steve Lockyer commented that she had “become a true leader and inspiration.” Tyson Anderson commented on her competitive nature and how it helps the team. VanDyke is also Student Council President at CHS.

Monica Tomayer presented eighth grader Kaitlyn Carlton, one of the two students who were being recognized at UMS. Tomayer mentioned that Carlton gives “110 percent effort on everything she does.” Several people commented on her “cheerful disposition” which Carlton jokingly responded to with, “I don’t know where they’re getting this. I wasn’t aware I had a cheerful disposition.” The witty banter could very well have been what kicked off the unofficially proclaimed “comedy night”. One teacher even commented that Carlton should aspire to be a standup comedian.

Seventh grader Blake Vandenacre was the second student to be recognized from UMS. Tomayer commented that he did “exceptional, accurate work” and that he had achieved 166 AR points, which amazed even Karen Lee, who was in attendance. Principal Tara Thielman commented, “I wish we could clone him. We’re so happy we have him for another year.” Vandenacre also plays for the Buckaroos basketball team.

Next, Val Kellogg introduced fifth grader Victoria (Tori) Durnell who was Prairie View’s student of the month. Durnell has previously gone to school both in Alaska, where her favorite memory was seeing a young caribou, and Thailand, where she has the fond memory of helping some friends take home a new puppy. Teachers commented that she was a good reader, good at math, and dedicated to her work. Other things mentioned were that she was a quiet leader, and that someday she would like to be a veterinarian.

Second grader Claire Bucklin was the student of the month for Meadowlark School. Gerald McDermott did the presenting and mentioned that Bucklin was very mature and capable, as well as funny. He went on to report that she affects all classmates in a positive way, and was the kind of competitive that was healthy in successful students.

Ellie Garman next gave the CHS report. Both UMS and CHS student councils went to Highwood where they received some training. The guest speaker was very good and gave them many good ideas. They councils are beginning to prepare for Christmas activities, and are also organizing fundraisers for Eric Norby, a former student recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

Jill Swanson was on hand to give the technology report. After meeting, again, with the Conrad Community Education Foundation, Google Chromebooks are looking even more like a better option for the high school. One of the benefits mentioned was the ease of maintenance. To update the iPad lab, each iPad needs to be updated individually. With the Chromebooks, updates can be done on one device and transferred to the other devices. Swanson will meet with the CHS Tech Committee to discuss this option. She also mentioned the high school internet has been having some hiccups, but they are working on ironing them out. Talks of downed internet service prompted Swanson to recall that former teacher Erik Gustafson had once mentioned that they should consider having one technology free day a month.

Jim Carroll gave the transportation report, commenting that the big snow day last week was hard but there were no accidents. The graphics for the new cruiser will be applied soon, and a few minor bus repairs will be taken care of, as well.

Craig Barringer took a moment to comment that “Mr. Carroll did a great job with the district tournament.” It was a comment that was echoed by several people, and further mention was made that Carroll’s outstanding management of tournament events is part of what keeps other schools using Conrad as a tournament location. Greg Jensen went on to mention that Carroll is “always balancing the buses,” and went on to say that he “appreciates him always getting them a bus when needed.”

Data Coordinator Karen Lee was present to speak about the math curriculum and how it’s not matching up well with common core.

A committee is being set up to address the issue of the difference in flow of math curriculum from kindergarten through fourth grade to fifth through seventh and seventh through twelfth. Lee requested a board member be at the meetings and Terri Peters said she would try to be there.

Ken Larson reported that Shakespeare in the Schools will be here Nov. 21 to perform Two Gentlemen of Verona, and also mentioned that the Speech and Drama meet would be Nov. 16. Parent teacher conferences will be Nov. 19 through 21, and wrestling practice begins Nov. 21. Boys’ and girls’ basketball will begin Nov. 25.

Both fire prevention week and Red Ribbon Week went well at both Prairie View and Meadowlark schools. Jensen mentioned that the children always love it when the firemen show up the fire engine and their suits. He also acknowledged Nicki Sullivan and all she did to make Red Ribbon Week special.

Jensen reported that Meadowlark’s Halloween parade has become so well attended that next year it will be held in the gym to accommodate the larger crowd.

Kim Hofstad was recognized for her effort to make the Veterans Day Program a success. Truscott, Janis McRaeand Ernestine Olson were also recognized for the wonderful work they did providing patriotic music for the event.

Principal Thielman reported that UMS students brought in over $12,000 from magazine sales, 40 percent of which gets returned to UMS. The top two sellers were presented with $150 and $75 Chamber Bucks Certificates. They respectively went to Brook Mycke and Hayley Taft.

Coach Lyndsey Green led the eighth grade girls’ basketball team to win the Northern Middle School Athletic Association tournament.

Dan Brown took students to Box Elder for a glassblowing workshop. The display of their work is at UMS across from the office. Many board members commented on the wonderful quality of work and all are encouraged to go see it for themselves.

Principal Thielman’s Triple C (Common Core Coffee) was well attended. She felt more than the 23 parents that signed in were in attendance. The meeting was held to help parents better understand common core and what they can do to help their student with their homework with the addition of the common core curriculum.

Buckaroo PRIDE+ lessons are being designed by Danele Dyer and her intern Samantha Orcutt. They are posted on the District website at and the current week’s lesson was about Koni Dole, a Huntley Project senior that has persevered through a recent amputation of his leg.

Carroll is still searching for a Cheerleading Advisor, and they are working out a plan that may be shared by multiple people. More information on this issue is expected at the next regularly scheduled school board meeting in December.

Notice was received from Blue Cross/Blue Shield that the schools would not be taxed on insurance premiums, which freed up $20,000 that would have gone to that purpose, and the Board approved a new Superintendent’s Appraisal form.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., and, as always, the public is invited to attend.