Monday’s Nevada school board meeting began with some unexpected physical activity from everyone in attendance. Fourth-graders Jackson Burlag and Kiah Larson from Corey Long’s class led all in performing five squats.
This exercise was significant because Burlag, Larson and their classmates from Mr. Long’s and Mrs. Diane Stephany’s classes performed over 131,000 of these as a group recently, placing them second in the entire state in the fourth grade division of the Hy-Vee KidsFit® Squat Challenge. To reward the students, Hy-Vee sent them a $1,000 check, which will be used to purchase new equipment like tetherball poles or pogo sticks.
Next, elementary teachers Kedra Hamilton (first/second grade) and Catie Neuman (second grade) detailed their recent trip to an elementary school in Lindsay, Calif. They and some of their fellow educators saw a school system that encouraged each pupil to learn at his or her own pace. Students are referred to as learners, teachers are learning facilitators and principals are learning directors at Lindsay, which the teachers felt places the emphasis on the learners through language. Two of these eighth-grade learners acted as the teachers’ tour guides, as well. Hamilton and Neuman said they were impressed by the students’ knowledge of their school district.
The teachers spent the majority of their time with the board describing the school’s physical arrangement, where 4,000 students are split into six elementary schools (comprising kindergarten through eighth grade in Lindsay), one high school, and three alternative schools. Adjustable glass walls and centralized spaces give educators flexibility for possible collaborations between students, and also for teachers, to help each other monitor a large group of students. The educators were also impressed that even the cupboards doubled as white boards for students to work out lessons. All this meant that students could learn at their own pace. Many students were working on their own or in small groups during the Nevada teachers’ tour. They believe many of these changes could be somewhat implemented throughout their own school district someday, and that some of the changes Nevada continues to move in educating its students are effective.
“[This trip] let us know that we’re doing some awesome things in Nevada,” said Neuman.
In other news:
• Proposed changes to the student/parent handbooks were reviewed as an informational item for the elementary, middle school, and high school. The board will consider the final 2017-2018 handbooks as an action item at their May 22 meeting.
• Finally, the board approved summer renovation projects, including asphalt and concrete work, to the tune of $140,000. The cost includes resurfacing of playground areas at the elementary and middle school, as well as various sidewalk repairs around the district. Other summer projects approved included landscaping near the high school and auditorium ($44,063), as well as repairs to the bus barn ($34,060).
Finally, the board approved the low bid from Central States Roofing of Ames to complete the first phase of the roof replacement at the middle school ($65,310).