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|1/23/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
|NE board approves increased math requirements|
By Jeremy Huss
Starting with next year's freshman class, students at Northeast Community High School will be required to complete an extra year of math courses in order to graduate.
The Northeast Community School Board Jan. 15 approved the recommendation of secondary schools principal Alicia Christiansen to require students to earn eight credits of math for graduation, instead of the current six credits. The change also increases the total number of credits needed for graduation from 48 to 50.
With the change, all students will be required to complete four years of math courses that include a minimum of algebra, geometry and algebra II.
Currently, students in the non-accelerated math program can graduate with just three years of math that includes pre-algebra, algebra and geometry.
In their senior year, students will have a choice of courses, depending on their future plans and which track of the math program they are following.
Senior-year options will include a new technical math class as well as statistics, pre-calculus and calculus.
Christiansen presented the proposal at a special Northeast board meeting Jan. 9, and the board approved the change without discussion at the Jan. 15 meeting.
No action on whole-grade sharing issue
The board met in closed session for approximately 30 minutes for a conference call with attorney Drew Bracken of Ahlers and Cooney law firm of Des Moines but took no action.
The meeting was closed for discussion of potential litigation related to the status of Northeast's whole-grade sharing agreement with East Central schools.
A Sept. 11 election approved the merger of the East Central and Preston school districts to form the Easton Valley School District, and the newly-elected Easton Valley School Board in December sent a letter to Northeast canceling the whole-grade sharing agreement.
Northeast's attorney said at a Dec. 19 meeting Easton Valley doesn't have the authority to terminate the agreement, and, in addition, the terms of the rolling three-year contract mean the earliest whole-grade sharing could end is at the conclusion of the 2015/16 school year.
Following the closed session Jan. 15, Northeast board members said there is nothing to act upon at this time, and superintendent Jim Cox said he has received no formal communication from Easton Valley representatives.
ALICE training coming to Northeast in March
Northeast staff will join with representatives from neighboring schools and area law enforcement March 12-13 for training in an active shooter response scenario known as ALICE.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, and is intended to replace current lockdown procedures to give students better options in the event of a school shooting.
"This is the first step in training our staff as to how to react to an active shooter," Cox said.
Northeast will host a 35-person training class that is being funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant. The training was arranged by the Clinton County sheriff's office and Clinton County emergency management agency.
Eight Northeast staff members will participate in the training and will go on to train the district's remaining staff, alternative school principal Bryce Bielenberg said.
Once staff have been trained, the district will schedule an informational meeting for parents and community members before bringing the training to students.
Hearing set for early start date
The board scheduled a public hearing on the proposed calendar for the 2013/14 school year for 6 p.m., Feb. 20.
The hearing is required by law because the district intends to start classes prior to Labor Day.
The proposed calendar sets a school start date of Aug. 15, and the first semester would end Dec. 20. Classes would resume Jan. 6 and the semester would end May 21. Commencement will be May 18.
Board approves purchase of two buses
The board approved the purchase of two 84-passenger school buses from School Bus Sales of Waterloo at a cost of $100,716 each.
Cox had recommended purchase of one 84-passeger bus and one 77-passenger bus, but board members felt buying a larger capacity bus would provide more flexibility and the potential to consolidate more activity trips to a single bus to save on fuel costs.
The bid from School Bus Sales was not the lowest bid, with a bid from Thomas Bus Sales for an 83-passenger bus for $96,949 and additional bids for 72- and 77-passenger buses.
However, Cox recommended approving the bid from School Bus Sales because the engine has more horsepower, 280 compared to 260, a heavier axle, better suspension and the district has had better experience with the Blue Bird brand buses.
In other business, the board:
Approved the first reading of policies on objectives for equal educational opportunities for students and good conduct/student eligibility.
Authorized members of the Future Business Leaders of America to attend the state leadership conference March 21-23 in Coralville.
Approved two requests for open enrollment into Northeast from students in the Clinton Community School District and approved two requests for open enrollment out for students who have moved into the Northeast district but wish to remain at their current schools.
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