By Julie Johansen
With the many changes in staff and student numbers happening within the Emery School District, as well as the knowledge that many of the facilities are becoming outdated, the school board hosted a special work meeting last week with many of the administrative staff to consider and discuss the needs of the district in each of the areas of a child’s education.
Tracey Johnson, Emery School Board President, began the meeting by reminding all present that it was an informal setting to hear from all about the needs in their areas of administration. Secondary supervisor Yvonne Jensen suggested that the board and staff spend more time in the schools, which would help them all be better informed and aware of the things happening and the facilities being used. This would also increase communication with the principals and show support to the staff at each school. The board considered the best way to approach this without any intimidation, to which Emery School District Superintendent Larry Davis replied that it was the primary goal of the district office to spend more time in the schools, but the work load at the office is enormous and leaves little time. Supt. Davis also continued that the state legislature is constantly changing the requirements and it is hard to keep up with those changes.
Other comments came from Doug Johnson, technical supervisor of the district, stating that his committee works very closely and members are accomplishing as much as they can with what they have. As they look forward to bonding for new buildings, he requested that all be considered when making structure decisions as technology requirements are also constantly changing.
Jeneane Warren, child nutrition supervisor, praised the staff members that she works with. They continue to provide meals and find ways to get the students to come and eat them, she said, since all their products must follow federal regulations. She discussed the meals/labor hour ratios and the percentage of free and reduced lunch and how they need them. Warren also touched on space and convenience in the kitchens when considering different facilities. The space for the two middle schools students to eat is very limited. She suggested when making these decisions, visits be made as a group to other schools to see what works there. Warren concluded by stating that all components must meet the state requirements.
Next, the superintendent presented items on his wish list, which included a CTE supervisor on the district level, PLC advancement teams, professional and academic staff development, and improving personnel relations and communication within the district. He announced that the district is interviewing for an elementary social worker next week.
Discussion items also included equalization of teacher’s salaries to reach at least the state average. This would include raising beginning teachers to meet the average as many long-time teachers are receiving salaries at that average. The overall goal for all was the academic growth of students.