North Putnam approves swim program, drafts goals and hires new faculty

Friday, June 20, 2014

Despite the absence of board members Jim Bowlings and Oliver Haste, the North Putnam School Board approved a trial period of Superintendent Dan Noel's K-12 swim program, addressed corporation goals, construction and approved multiple new hires for the 2014-15 school year.

Citing personal experience of never learning to swim as a boy, Noel discussed his desire to create a K-12 swimming program to the school board at its March meeting. In the months since, Noel has been working on logistics, fielding questions and receiving feedback from board members, teachers and the community-at-large.

"I'm not a swimmer," Noel said to the board, "but I wish I was."

At Thursday's meeting the board approved a 10-day pilot program for third, fourth and fifth-grade students to begin around 10 days into the first semester of the 2014-15 school year.

The goal of the pilot program will be to test out the currently drafted model of the swim program, at the conclusion of which discussion and revision will begin based on what worked well with the and what might work better with the program.

Those revisions will be established and applied to another 10-day program for second semester.

While in the pool, children will be monitored by a minimum of three adults, two adults in the pool and one on deck (out of the water but watching children from the pool's edge).

With the largest swimming class consisting of 26 kids, this would place 13 kids per adult in the water with a third adult on deck; remaining classes will have no more than 21 or 22 kids. The adult-to-student ratio is within the 15:1 that is officially recommended for school swim programs.

In addition to providing a valuable skill to young children, the program will lend itself to provide training to high school students by potentially allowing them to go through lifeguard training.

This training could help high school students earn certifications and skills that may help them find employment and provide them with general swimming first-aid knowledge.

"For some of these kids this is gonna be the highlight of the whole year," board member Darrell Wiatt said.

Addressing various concerns brought forth since the program's inception, Noel informed the board that the program will not affect insurance costs and that the increase cost of chemicals will be minimal. In fact having people moving in the pool will help to actually cycle chemicals around in the pool, as opposed to just sitting there.

The discussion of adding a community swim continued, but no decision was made.

Parents would have the ability to opt out of the program if they prefer their child not to participate.

Andy Cooper of Johnson-Mellow Solutions was present to provide updates on construction progress on school remodels and deliver a report on where things are headed in the coming weeks.

As part of that report, Cooper spoke to the board about three bids that were received to update communications in the school. With communications needing an upgrade it was recommended some months ago that if that upgrade could happen over the course of remodeling, before new ceilings were installed, that the school could avoid a lot of potential headaches as opposed to remodeling entire schools and then needing to get back into the ceilings to change communications wiring down the road.

Cooper wanted to make clear the process that had been followed when ultimately recommending the bid from Illiana Technologies because Noel's son works for the company and with the sensitive nature of the connections between the school board and the recommended bid, Cooper wanted to Johnson-Melloh to be 100 percent transparent and informed the board that they "tread very lightly" in receiving the bid.

Out of the three bids received, the second bid was $10,000 cheaper than the first bid and the final bid from Illiana Technologies was an additional $10,000 lower than the second bid.

Cooper suggested the Illiana Technologies bid based on how much money it would save the school, but ultimately the decision was left to the board to vote on.

Noel addressed the issue, stating that he would much rather not involve his son with but that as superintendent his job also involves trying to spend and save money for the school corp. responsibly and that an extra $10,000 is a lot of money to save.

The board approved the bid with the caveat that conflict of interest contracts were to be signed, as well as documentation produced from Johnson-Melloh Solutions regarding the receiving of bids, to provide records and to show complete transparency with the deal.

Schools across the county are raising school lunch prices to deal with the rising cost of food materials as well as to remain compliant with new USDA quality regulations that are pushing schools across the nation to provide healthier foods for children, but that improvement carries a price tag to school food services and North Putnam is no exception.

The board approved raising the price of school lunch and breakfast costs by 10 cents next year. The increase will apply to adult lunches as well as all school lunches served at North Putnam schools.

New lunch prices will be: $2.70 for high school and middle school lunches; $2.50 for Bainbridge and Roachdale Elementary; and $3.45 for all adult lunches.

New breakfast prices will be: $1.50 for all students across every school and $2.00 for all adult breakfasts.

The board was updated on troublesome "popping and cracking" noises that began to happen after recent roof construction. The noise seems to be related to previous roofs leaking some amount of water onto groove and tongue joints combined with large amounts of humidity in the building. Further diagnosis suggests that the combination of a new roof (which does not leak), proper air circulation and heating to be provided as part of the recent remodeling projects and anywhere from one to several years, the moisture trapped in the tongue and groove that seems to be causing the noise will evaporate, taking the "popping and cracking" noises along with it.

The board approved hiring 20 new faculty members of the 2014-15 school year.

In the athletic departments at North Putnam High School the board approved Jim Spencer as varsity girls' basketball coach; John Allen as assistant boys' basketball coach; Kyle Adams as assistant boys' basketball coach; Allain St. Victor Duncan as assistant boys' basketball coach (summer volunteer); Travis Franklin as assistant boys' basketball coach (summer volunteer); Greg Lyons as boys' basketball coach (summer volunteer) Tony Gray as head swimming coach; Kristie Hankins as girls' basketball coach volunteer; Chase Hiland as girls' head soccer coach; Brandi Holtze as junior varsity cheer coach; Brian Jeter as head baseball coach; Joe Lehr as assistant swimming coach volunteer; Jessica Reed as junior varsity volleyball coach; and Tyler Shorter as assistant boys' basketball coach (summer volunteer).

In the athletic departments of North Putnam Middle School the board approved Shawn Tennis as seventh-grade boys' basketball coach and MS assistant volleyball coach; Greg Lyons as assistant boys' basketball coach (summer volunteer); Julie Gibson as volleyball coach; Kristie Hankins as MS volleyball coach; and Myra Cox as head cheer coach.

The board approved resignations from Carla Meeks as cafeteria aid and Willie Gaskins as instructional assistant.

The board also approved one retirement this month, that of Randy Neeley as head mechanic.

Chuck Peacock will take over Neeley's position as head mechanic and Jeff Silko was approved for the position of bus driver.

In other business:

* The board approved two pages of a three-page document, officially adopting academic and performance goals of the school corp., providing something akin to a mission statement for the schools of North Putnam.

* The board was updated on the progress of the paperless technologies initiative that was passed, being informed that laptops had arrived although they had not been delivered yet to board members.

* The board scheduled a July 17, 2014 workshop date for members to meet and begin revising Neola and board policy, an immense undertaking that board member John Hays referred to as "the most important part of our job."

* The board approved hiring Scott Spencer as summer school principal.

* The board approved permission to apply for a school literacy grant from Dollar General for the middle school.

*The board approved the sixth-grade field trip to Camp Tecumseh at the end of October.

* The board approved to accept $528 from Questar Assessment.

* The board approved several fundraisers including a DECA fundraiser to sell coffee items and a sixth-grade 5k fundraiser walk to take place at 10 a.m. on Oct. 25.

*The board approved multiple new hires for the 2014-15 school year.

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  • Looking forward to the swim program.

    -- Posted by BGTeach on Sun, Jun 29, 2014, at 11:10 PM
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