Vermillion students do well on SAT tests

Vermillion students do well on SAT tests by M. Jill Karolevitz The Vermillion School Board heard a brief report Monday night from Superintendent Robert Mayer that Vermillion students in grades 2, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11 earned good SAT scores when they were tested during last school year.

Mayer added that a writer from Offspring, a new magazine, called him recently as he was working on a story about top-performing schools.

�He told me he had identified the 100 best-performing schools in the nation as far as test scores are concerned,� Mayer said, �and we are among that group, exclusive of prep schools.�

Mayer said the writer told him that the Vermillion School District is in the 97th percentile of test scores nationwide and wondered how the students could perform so well.

�I told him Vermillion was the home of The University of South Dakota and that has an impact on us,� Mayer said. �I also told him we have a number of very bright, high achieving kids, a large percentage of our staff members have master�s degrees and that the community is willing to spend money for good facilities.�

A formal presentation outlining the SAT scores will be given to the Vermillion School Board in the fall.

During its Monday night meeting, the school board also approved offering French I and II at the high school level if a new French instructor can be hired.

The former French teacher, who also taught English, has resigned from the school system, according to Mayer. After advertising her position, a replacement was hired, but only for English instruction.

�I just wanted to ask you if you wanted to keep French in the curriculum,� Mayer said to the school board members.

Last year was the first year French was offered at VHS, so the possibility of both French I and French II classes exists for next year.

�We would have to hire someone as a part-time teacher for the two sections and a planning period,� Mayer said. �Then if the program is successful, it�s possible it could be expanded to two French I sections and a French II in the future. Then we would have to offer benefits.

�Whether we can find someone to teach French part-time, however, is a very difficult prospect,� he continued. �But if you want to continue offering French at Vermillion High School, I will make every effort to find someone.�

School board members agreed that the French program should continue.

In other business, the school board:

? Heard a report from school attorney Jim McCulloch regarding the new state law requiring criminal background checks for new hires that goes into effect July 1;

? Approved a $94,000 capital outlay budget request from the technology committee.

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