EACSD Board of Directors introduced to new Spanish teacher, hears updates on FFA program and certified enrollment

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) was held at Kee High School in Lansing Monday, October 21. Board members Bruce Palmborg and Melanie Mauss  were absent.

Audience comments included remarks from Julietta Castillo-Ocampo, Kee High School’s new Spanish teacher. She introduced herself to the board and provided some background information. She was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She was a lawyer and also spent several years in the Army. She married an Iowan and moved to the United States. Since she could not practice law in the United States without attending law school again, she became a teacher, and she has taught for 17 years. This is her first year in Lansing.

Her goals for the Spanish program include helping the students to know the culture as well as the language. Her long-term goal is to take students to Spain in two years. Spanish Club currently has 43 members. All members are working on fundraising through a variety of projects such as selling bread, raffling piñatas at games, hosting movie nights and dances. In addition, she is teaching classes for adults. All funds go toward the planned trip costs. Next year she hopes to take students to a large festival in Chicago, IL where they can experience Spanish food, music, theatre and dance.

November 1, the Club will sponsor a traditional Mexican holiday event - a Day of the Dead dance which includes games, food and music. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Advanced Spanish students will be learning how to do traditional Mexican cooking. All of the classes will be in Spanish. She hopes to have cooking classes for community members as well, with all proceeds from the classes assisting with the trip funding.

Advisor Ray Rankin and four FFA students requested permission to attend the annual FFA National Convention. Rankin explained that they will travel by chartered buses with other area FFA groups to Indianapolis, IN. They will leave Tuesday, October 29 and come back that Friday night/Saturday morning.

There are 33 students in FFA this year. Activities will include a tour of Beck’s Seed, the Indy Car Factory and tour, the convention and career show, a concert with Brett Young and Tenille Townes, a tour of ET Sprayers Apache Plant Tour, and a tour of the Fair Oaks Swine Farm. The Board approved the trip request. The FFA Chapter will also be hosting a donkey basketball fundraiser at the end of March.

Other new business included approving the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) proposal to study athletic classification. Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier said that currently the class divisions are based primarily on school enrollment in grades 9-12. This study will consider other factors and whether they should be considered in the class divisions for all activities which use them.

The board received and certified the enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year. Currently there are 322 students in the district, which is down by five students this year. Kee High School’s enrollment is 119, Lansing Middle School  has 45 students and New Albin Elementary has 138 students. Open enrollment has 19 students who have open enrolled out and 12 who have open enrolled into the district. There are 19 students in preschool, and this group is weighted at 50%.

The board approved the  resignation of Lisa Steckel as varsity girls basketball coach and  approved the contract for Ben Wagner for the same position. The school board election will be held with the general election November 5. Those running for board positions include: District 1 - Bobbie Goetzinger and  Stacie Strong; District 2 - Bruce Palmborg, Tony Becker and Krista Rasque;  At Large Member - Kelli Mudderman.

Mary Hogan, Middle School and High School Principal, turned in the certified enrollment report. The required drills for tornado and fire have been completed for this fall. She is working on other state reports dealing with faculty and staff. There are still no reports from the state assessments given last spring. The Student Assistance team meets every Wednesday to assess student needs.

Superintendent Crozier emphasized that enrollment will be fluctuating so the board will need to be aware of budget changes. The Iowa High School Board Convention will be coming up November 20 -21, and he encouraged two board members to attend.

The board congratulated Superintendent Crozier for being chosen as the Iowa Fine Arts Administrator of the Year (see above photo). He received his award at the recent Iowa High School Speech Association convention in Ames.

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