- Halloween Family Fun Night: The PTA Halloween party was held Monday, October 30th. Approximately 200 children with parent participated. The cost to the PTA was $55. Thanks to Kari Jo James, Lisa and Jacob Plette, Shelley and Andy Sykes, Anna Packard, Deana Fuller, Brenda Fergen and the HyVee Staff.
- T-shirt and Sweatshirt Sales: Thanks to Heather Brayer, Deb Workman, Jen Hovland, and Karen Olmstead for taking care of the Tanager t-shirt and sweatshirt sales.
- Meals for Teachers: Thanks to Sharon Neilson for coordinating the meals for teachers during Parent /Teacher Conferences.
- Giving Tree: Sharon Neilson also collected and distributed teacher request for Christmas gifts.
Outcomes of the October 2 Board Meeting:
- PTA Grant Requests:
The PTA grant request process has been solidified. $500 has been set aside for grants. Grant requests under $25 go to the board. Grants over $25 will voted on by chapter members.
- Money for Classrooms:
Board members decided to split $1,300 of PTA funds between K-8 classrooms. Divided by nine grades, each grade will receive $145. Teachers for these grades can determine what they need most and submit requests for reimbursement. The board felt this method of appropriating money to the schools was the most fair.
- Classroom Art Funds:
Lisa Swanson will be collecting reflections projects from students on December 1.
The PTA has set aside $1,000 for art supplies and curriculum expenses; $500 for each semester. Teachers will be surveyed to determine what they need in terms of art curriculum and supplies. Other Individuals who are working in the classrooms to provide art instruction can request reimbursement for art related expenses. Art related purchases should be discussed with the PTA board prior to being made to assure reimbursement.
- October 28 PTA Meeting: Parents of middle school students met with a panel of middle school teachers and the principal to discuss issues related to this age group. The minutes from this meeting can be found on the Vermillion School District website (PTA link). Those parents and teachers who participated at this meeting discussed having another meeting about internet safety during a school dance.
- Austin Marathon Exercise Program: Jen Hovland has headed the committee to get the Austin Marathon exercise program underway. A path has been painted on the playground and students are walking laps on this path to earn a foot charm (1 mile) and a runner charm (5 miles). Mrs. Fishback is in charge of this program at Austin. If this program goes well at Austin, and current student interest suggests it will, a similar program will be instituted at Jolley. Amy Haselhorst, Coordinator for Sioux Valley Children's Wellness program, has indicated that the hospital may be willing to help fund this program.
- Ice Cream Social at Austin: An ice cream social was scheduled for November 30. Shannon Fairholm asked parents of non-kindergarten aged children to volunteer to help with this event. The gathering was to be held in individual classrooms rather than the gym to provide parents whose children are in the same class with a better opportunity to get to know each other.
- Welcome Table: Patty Schwasinger is organizing the Welcome Table dinner on January 29, 2007. PTA members attending the meeting signed up to work and provide cookies/bars during this meal. Requests for $1 donations from families will go home with students at Austin and Jolley. One participant suggested that Wal-Mart might be able to make a cash donation to help pay for food.
Program – Discussing the Books Your Children Read:
- What books are students reading? Sheri Kolbeck, one of the district's librarians, presented information on the library programs at the elementary schools. According to her, elementary students are reading a variety of books, everything from automobiles to zebras (non-fiction). Boys and girls are interested in many different topics. Kids are choosing books with great covers, beautiful pictures, and interesting topics. She emphasized that children love magazines. They also get hooked on series books.
Rather than shelving all of the libraries' books, the librarians display books on top of the shelves and on tables to entice the students to try an interesting book. Students are more likely to check out different books when they see the book covers. Every time a class comes to the library they hear a short story, poem, or book chapter and then are given time to look for books to check out.
Mrs. Kolbeck noted that students are so excited when new books come into the libraries. This year the libraries have been able to purchase additional books with extra funds allocated by the school board and superintendent.
When students make their weekly visit to the library, the librarians are usually not too concerned if children have forgotten to return a book. Students may still check out a new book.
Lisa Swanson, part-time librarian at the middle school, suggests that parents read some of the books their children are reading. Middle school students have access to books that are labeled "young adult." These books deal with many deep issues and parents might be surprised to see some of the topics their children are reading about.
- Accelerated Reading Program:
The Accelerated Reading (AR) Program is not run by the library, but by individual teachers. Not every teacher participates in the AR Program. The AR Program works as follows: students read selected books and take quizzes over them on the internet. Each book is worth a specified number of points. Points are accumulated monthly. Students at Jolley can earn prizes based on the number of points they collect. Students at Austin participate in the AR program but do not use the points or a reward system. According to one second grade teacher, "the kids just love to do it for the sake of doing it."
Parents should note that the numbers on the books do not reflect the grade level for which the book is appropriate. Book points have been established arbitrarily.
In middle school participation in the AR Program is required. Students do not earn prices, but their grades are determined, in part, by how well they do with their AR books.
Additional Agenda Items: Mr. Bowker
- Jolley School Addition Plans: Principal Bowker showed parents attending the PTA meeting a plan of the proposed Jolley School addition. The addition to the school will be on the east side of the existing building. Expansion to the east means the current playground will need to be moved. Mr. Bowker stressed that the new building will be paid for with capital outlay funds, not bonds. The school board would like to see the project completed by August 15. Though, Mr. Bowker felt that completion is more likely to occur between October and December. Contractor/ subcontractor bids are expected to be in by March. However, building cannot start until the ground thaws. When the addition is completed, Jolley will house 2nd through 5th grade. Head Start and Early Childhood will move out of the middle school and into Austin with kindergarten and first grade.
- Jolley Playground Equipment: It is unclear whether the new playground equipment that is scheduled to be implemented at Jolley will be installed during the summer. Construction of the new addition may delay the installation of the new equipment.
- Letter from the Governor: Mr. Bowker received a nice letter from Governor Rounds praising Jolley and Austin for being exemplary schools with regard to No Child Left Behind legislation.
Ladies Auxiliary meets Dec. 19
The regular meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary to Clay Post #3061 was held Tuesday, Dec. 19 with President Delores Gregg presiding.
Roll call of officers was taken and recorded, Chaplain Opal Smith offered the opening prayer. Minutes of previous meeting were read and approved. Treasurer�s report was approved and printed. Invoices to be paid were approved.
Correspondence included General Orders #6 from Carol�s Chat Room, Legislative Conference, Council of Administration agenda, thank-you notes from Royal C. Johnson VA Hospital, Hot Springs VA Medical Center, Human Service Center, Millie Hendricks, and Hannah Voudry.
Committee reports were from membership, cards mailed to the ill, bingo at the nursing home, Civic Council, hospital equipment on loan and Hospice. Our auxiliary will pay one-half of the Voice of Democracy prizes.
Meeting adjourned to reopen on Jan. 16.
Rotarians learn of business
The Vermillion Rotary Club met for its usual noon Tuesday meeting at the Freedom Forum in the Neuharth Center at USD.
Rev. Mercy Hobbs presided in the absence of President Roger Kozak and led in opening prayer. It was announced that there are still a few gift to be purchased by volunteers for the family Rotary is helping out this Christmas. Our opening music was the singing of Christmas songs lead by Joe Edelen with Jack Noble on the piano to keep us in tune.
Please note that our next meeting will not be until Jan. 9, after a Christmas break of two weeks.
Sergeant at Arms, Al Pravecek, enjoyed catching up with a couple members whose names and pictures had appeared in newspapers, fining them appropriately. As usual, several members happily paid lighter fines to report good things that had happened to them during the time since the last meeting.
Our program, introduced by Program Chairman Barry Vickery, was given by Jerry O�Connor, who announced the opening of a new business in Vermillion. Mr. O�Connor, who returned to Vermillion after a varied career in professional theater, has opened a new, used and antique furniture store that shares a building with Lumo Studios on the corner of Center and Main streets in downtown Vermillion. The name of the store, Man of the Cloth, has a double meaning. Not only is furniture generally upholstered with cloth or similar material, Mr. O�Connor spent what he called �a very brief time� as a Roman Catholic priest. Man of the Cloth seeks to provide reasonably priced furniture to everyone from new home owners to college students and those seeking antique furniture. In preparation for his entry into the furniture business, Mr. O�Connor worked in re-upholstery and spent three months in an internship in that business in Omaha.
Jerry O�Connor grew up in a prominent Vermillion family, his father Joe was Clay County Sheriff for a time, and he and his four siblings , one brother and three sisters, have now all moved back to Vermillion. Jerry worked in many phases of the theater business as an actor, director, producer, and then back to acting. Recently he was the artistic director of the Nebraska Theater in Omaha. He is presently trying his hand at writing screen plays during times when he is not busy with his new commercial venture. Man of the Cloth is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays, being closed on Sundays and Mondays. Jerry�s program was enjoyable, and we wish him well in his new business in Vermillion.
Our meeting was closed with the usual singing of the first stanza of My Country 'Tis of Thee.
The Jolly Juniors and Juniorettes 4-H Club Christmas party was held on Mon., Dec. 4. Members met at Vermillion Assisted Living to sing carols to the residents. Rocky Kickland accompanied our voices with his guitar. Afterwards, everyone met at the 4-H building for the meeting. President Emily Holloch called the meeting to order with the pledges. The roll call topic was, �What is your favorite part of Christmas?� The secretary�s report was read by Carrie Kickland. The treasurer�s report was read by Ellen Hanson. Under old business, a thank you was read from a woman whose lawn the club raked. The club members who brought cookies for the recognition event were thanked. Carol and Ashley Sorenson were recognized for decorating the Clay County 4-H Christmas tree outside the governor�s office in Pierre. Members were reminded to sign up for the project days over Christmas break.
Under new business, Reilly Larson and Sarah Droegemeir were selected for the �Let�s Get To Know� section of the 4-H newsletter. The 4-H club will be ringing bells for the Salvation Army on Sat., Dec. 16 outside Wal-Mart. The next club meeting will be Mon., Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. The club will meet at the Austin-Whitmore House for a tour. After the tour, we will go back to the 4-H center. Ashley Sorenson and Sarah Rosacker will give demonstrations. Sarah Rosacker will also give a judging school. Members should bring items for the senior citizens Friday door prize winners. The meeting was adjourned.
Kris Rosacker led the club in making three framed hanging Christmas picture holders. Everyone enjoyed rubber stamping on card stock and coloring their decorations. We ate lots of pizza and pop. Then we had a gift exchange of Christmas items while Pam Hanson read the story The Elves and the Shoemaker. Every time she read the word �the� we passed our gifts to the right. Whenever she read the word �he� we passed to the left. When the story was over we opened the gifts that were in front of us. The fair premium money was handed out along with last year�s journals. Members were reminded to write thank you letters to the 4-H leaders association for the premium money. The club had a picture taken with the books we had brought for the New Years baby born in Vermillion. We also had our club picture with the plaques for community service and outstanding club.