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School board sets date for 20th year celebration

The Tea Area School Board met May 8 and set a date to celebrate 20 years as a district. The district will host a 20th birthday celebration with the public July 7 with bus tours of the district, community potluck and sharing memories. RSVPs can be made at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSclzq2cQi3kN_XOMXy3kurPh52c0WMKY7rHK_-mTyRsI2arKg/viewform.

While they will not know if they will need to hold a school board election until 5 p.m. May 12, the board appointed election workers in the case they do have an election June 20. They approved the appointments of Courtney Burrack and Kathy Retzlaff at the District Education Center and Tom Walder at Frontier Elementary. The district still needs another person for election day at Frontier Elementary.

The board approved the resignations of Victoria Hansen as Venture Elementary first grade teacher, Mary Beth Sutton as middle school quiz bowl program and Kelly Steckler as Legacy Elementary third grade teacher.

They approved the new hires of Joni Hofer as middle school science, Serena Tunge for Venture Elementary, Kylie Larson for Venture Elementary, Jeff Herrboldt as high school life skills teacher, Jessica Nepodal as middle school life skills teacher, Micheala Boyd as Venture Elementary SPED, Katherine Lucas for HOSA, Mallory Scheidegger as district administrative assistant, Joni Hofer as middle school assistant seventh grade track, Matt Wegener as Legacy Elementary third grade teacher, John Schmidt for Esports and Mason Scheidegger as assistant track.

High school principal Collin Knudson presented the updates to the high school handbook. He noted that they added language to the handbook on how the valedictorian and salutatorian are selected.

Starting with the class of 2026 they will be moving away from naming valedictorian and salutatorian to recognizing those students as summa cum laude with seven semesters of 4.0 grade point average or more and those that are 3.5-3.999 would be recognized as honor graduates.

The handbook also updated retaking or repeating classes.

Middle school principal Michael Bullis presented the updates to the middle school handbook. He noted much of the changes to the absences and tardies will align with what the high school has. It updates the youth possessions section to eliminate the Chromebook carrying case since no one does that anymore. The changes would include an honors grading school for the advanced classes to match the high school.

The board approved the changes to both handbooks.

The board reviewed items to vote on for the South Dakota High School Activities Association. The board voted to vote yes on constitution amendments on definitions of what districts cannot use to influence students to attend their school and ejecting a coach from a game. They also approved casting ballots for Randy Hartmann as the large school board of education member and Adam Shaw as the Division III representative.

They approved the summer hours for the business office to be Mondays through Thursdays 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 29 through July 28.

The board heard from Superintendent Jennifer Lowery on the first reading of policy KG on facility use. The policy updates included covering custodial expenses and requiring a district supervisor. The suggested fee schedule would be adjusted to be more closely comparable to surrounding districts.

The continuous school improvement team updated the board the work that is going on in the district. The team presented their work at the Carnegie Summit on Improvement in Education in California at the end of April.

Admin wage discussions were tabled to May 22.

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