McCook Public Schools Superintendent Dave Schley promised "not to barbecue" teachers at the high school by proposing at the board of education meeting Monday to eliminate the built-in early-dismissal heat schedule for the first week of school this fall.
The junior high will be air conditioned by then, and Central Elementary, McCook Elementary and the LIFT building are already air conditioned, Schley said. "If we have an unbearable week, we will deal with the high school individually," he told board members. "I promise the teachers we won't barbeque them."
Schley said, "I just don't want people having to guess day to day," whether school will dismiss early because of the heat. "We'll go with this now (no heat schedule) and see where we end up. We can make adjustments if necessary."
The motion passed unanimously.
In other action, the board of education:
* Approved a teaching contract for Deb Goodenberger, who will teach two exploratory art classes at the junior high and one class at the senior high. She will also teach existing after-school art clubs at McCook and Central elementaries and provide guidance, monitoring and/or lesson development for art projects taught by classroom teachers at the two elementary schools.
Schley said he was impressed by Goodenberger's plan to work within the responsibilities and schedule. "We stressed that this could be very, very difficult. We tried to scare the pants off her," he said, with a soft chuckle. "But she stood up to the challenge."
* Approved the contract for Jeffrey K. Ellis, who will teach senior high physical education. He will also coach high school girls basketball.
* Approved a trip to the national FFA convention in Indianapolis in October for the MHS FFA floriculture team and its sponsor Josh Schieber. Floriculture team members are senior Ben Schilling, junior Kayla Messinger and sophomores Katelyn Fritsche and Allison Dupler. Schilling will attend the convention even though he graduated May 10.
* Learned that the search continues for a special education director, a position that opens up with the retirement at the end of the school year of Bob Saf. Schley said earlier that it may be possible that the position could be shared with Educational Service Unit 15, however, it's looking now that McCook will have to continue its search individually.
Schley said they will re-advertise the position, but that administrators have a "Plan B" in on a back burner if necessary.
* Heard a report from board members Scott Johnson and Maury Green on their liaison meeting with McCook Elementary teachers. Johnson said they discussed moving teachers around because of varying class sizes and state testing and paperwork.
Green said it's nice to see the enthusiasm in veteran and new teachers, as well as their willingness and flexibility to accommodate particularly the large second grade class. Green said he is impressed by the cooperative spirit within the staff.
* At the recommendation of curriculum director Gayle Sharkey, adopted the newly-revised Nebraska language arts standards as approved by the Nebraska State Board of Education.
* Tabled until June the recognition of Austin Larson, the 2008-09 student body representative to the board of education.
* Learned that the MHS Student Council hosted 300+ at its annual leadership/achievement banquet. The group made a donation to the historic downtown Fox Theater, collected recyclable materials for delivery to the City of McCook recycling center and conducted a highway clean-up effort near the Perry Elevator west of McCook.
* Learned that the McCook Elementary PTO treated teachers to meals and snacks during Teacher and Staff Appreciation and is donating sunscreen and water at track meets.
The school board meeting ended with these "Positive Comments":
* Rick Haney -- Thanked school board secretary Diane Lyons for taking meeting minutes while he was gone at golf meets, Jesse Stevens for the coordination of the sound system in the gym for the MHS graduation, and Trevor Taylor for his "last minute" set up of video broadcast for the overflow spectators in the auditorium.
* Diane Lyons said, "Graduation came off perfectly, as if it was planned inside." She also recognized band instructor Donita Priebe, who was named "Outstanding Educator" by former McCook Gazette owner and publisher Allen Strunk and the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. She wished luck and a wonderful trip to choir students going to New York City this summer.
* Scott Johnson also recognized Priebe, and said that the high school's journalism program has won "another state championship."
* Larry Shields said he was impressed by the Student Council's achievement banquet, and that the speech by Dr. George Garlick, formerly of the Maywood and Curtis areas, "was phenomenal." He congratulated the graduates, also thanked Stevens and Taylor and said that the choir's singing of "You Raise Me Up" and Those Guys' rendition of the National Anthem were outstanding.
* Tom Bredvick recognized Chad Dickes, a junior high teacher named Nebraska's "Rookie Teacher of the Year." A fellow nominee for the award was Laura Lyons Plas, a graduate of McCook Senior High and the daughter of board member Diane Lyons and husband Phil Lyons. Bredvick said that although the weather for graduation was "not perfect," he still heard "tons of compliments" on the ceremony in the high school gym.
He also recognized Austin Larson, who graduated, calling him "a fine representative of the student body."