Saturday, April 21, 2012

Courier news

(With permission from the Ida County Courier,

 April 18, 2012

Gustafson to receive Governor’s Scholar recognition

Jeff Gustafson of O-A/BCIG is among 442 high school seniors from across Iowa who will be honored Sunday, April 29, at the Tenth Annual Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony, held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines at 1 p. m.
The Governor’s Office, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and its title sponsor, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, are presenting this recognition program.

The seniors being honored were selected by their high schools as the highest academic achievers. Each student will receive a photo plaque of themselves with Governor Branstad and a certificate to commemorate their achievement. Each student’s most influential teacher will also receive a certificate of appreciation. A reception for the students, their parents, their most influential teachers, and other guests will follow the ceremony.

School boards lay superintendent search groundwork

(Slightly condensed)  Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove School Boards met with Prairie Lakes AEA 8 Chief Administrator Jeff Herzberg April 11 to draft a timeline and establish focus groups for the search for a superintendent. Herzberg has been hired by O-A to help the districts find a new superintendent.

The boards’ first job during the meeting was to answer Herzberg’s question, “Why O-A/BC-IG?”

Some of the responses were: solvency ratio, strong viable industries, successful student involvement (academics and extracurricular activities), high graduation rate, enrollment stabilizing, location of the district from large cities, low crime rate, housing, improvements in advancing technology, good facilities, no debt in either district and similar tax asking rates in both districts.

Also, an established whole-grade sharing program, good harmony with kids, strong community support financially, administrators and staff experience, low staff turnover, a great staff and an unbelievable scholarship program ($425,000 worth of scholarships will be given out this year) and up-to-date athletic facilities.

The draft timeline is as follows (if sufficient applications aren’t received in two weeks, the boards can add more time to advertise the position and the timeline would change):

Advertise for two weeks with ads placed in the Des Moines Register April 14-15 and April 21-22.  Advertisements will also be placed on Teach Iowa (free), IAREAP, Twitter, and Facebook (free).  Herzberg told the boards he’s contacted six universities notifying them of the vacancy (four in Iowa, the University of South Dakota and University of Nebraska). He will also make several personal contacts to other agencies.

April 19–focus groups will meet.

April 25–begin screening applicants. Herzberg will screen all applicants and bring the best 10 to 12 candidates to be screened by the focus groups with the goal to select three or four applicants to be interviewed.

May 2 and 3–interview applicants.

At the recommendation of Herzberg, the boards agreed to advertise two weeks in the Des Moines Register, $1,400 and IAREAP (approximately $1,200).

Herzberg said he’s talked to Superintendent Dani Trimble about the need to make the school’s website more visually appealing. He cited websites for the Spirit Lake, Spencer and Estherville School Districts as prime examples.

The boards decided to have the following focus groups: board members, administrators, community, high school students and staff (licensed and support). A list of 10-12 individuals for each focus group will be sent to Herzberg. Herzberg will then contact the individuals and provide them with information on what is expected of them.

Each district’s negotiating team and business managers Jann Murphy and Kathy Leonard will serve on the salary/benefit subcommittee. Herzberg will provide superintendent salary information for the 10 schools above and below O-A/BC-IG in enrollment.

Board members not present were Pat Hoefling (O-A) and Mike Luft, Stephanie Konradi and Brian Riessen (BC-IG).

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