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Board approves trip for ag team

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The McCook Public Schools board of education Monday evening approved a trip to the Kansas City American Royal livestock judging competition by a team of McCook High School ag students.

If the MHS team is selected as Nebraska's representative from among the top five teams in the state, ag instructor Josh Schieber and chaperones will accompany team members Samantha Yonkers, Will Miller, Katelyn Fritsche and Amanda Shields to the judging competition Nov. 1.

The team would compete in the senior division to judge heifers, keep / cull cows, performance bulls, market heifers and steers and market and breeding swine and sheep. Each team member then presents oral reasons to judges. Honors include individual and team awards.

Schieber told board members that the students will pay for the trip with fund-raisers. He requested the use of a school van, although there is a possibility, he said, that they can ride with students and teachers also attending the American Royal from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis.

In other action Monday evening:

* Board members approved the McCook district's participation in a three-year Medicaid Consortium agreement with the Nebraska Association of School Boards.

MPS has been a member of the consortium for one year, but has received Medicaid reimbursement for many years.

Finance director Rick Haney explained that Medicaid reimburses schools for services and activities -- above and beyond standard teaching, such as counseling, mentoring and special services -- provided to meet the needs of students who qualify for Medicaid. Haney said that McCook's reimbursement is based upon the results of an annual week-long study conducted by a pool of McCook teachers who log, every 15 minutes, the time and services they provide to Medicaid-eligible students.

Haney said McCook's reimbursements have ranged from $200,000 to $300,000.

Superintendent Grant Norgaard called the Medicaid reimbursement "a great resource for our school." It's been challenged in the past, he said, but the MPS district will continue to lobby to receive this money. "Imagine losing $200,000 in the budget," he said.

* The board conducted a public hearing and then re-adopted, in an annual housekeeping activity, board policy No. 1005.03 regarding parental involvement in the schools.

During board and administrative comments, Haney said the budget process continues and that the air conditioning project at the junior high is progressing well and may be ready for the start of school. Norgaard reported on administrative and ESU meetings. He said summer school went well, and that a report is being prepared for the board.

Board members and administrators made these "Positive Comments":

Diane Lyons -- Said she appreciated that Duane Tappe, the district's new special education director, attended the board meeting. She also said she met recently with Norgaard, and is impressed by "his keen sense of the school district's strengths" and his positive plans for the district.

Scott Johnson -- Said he is excited about air conditioning at the junior high and to see teachers, administrators and students coming back for fall classes.

Larry Shields -- Said he enjoyed lunch recently with Norgaard and is also excited to "get everybody back to school."

Maury Green -- Said he is impressed with the number of teachers who are already working in their classrooms. "It's all volunteer," he said, "It's a great amount of extra work, and they need to be recognized for that ... for all they do."

Shane Messersmith -- Said his daughter was excited about summer school.

Haney -- Said it was "a nice problem" to have to turn the air conditioning on early at the elementary school, to accommodate teachers who have returned to their classrooms early. He also said he is proud of the superintendent's office staff as everyone prepares for the start of the new school year.

Norgaard -- Also said he is impressed with the sacrifice of time by staff members during the summer months and toward the beginning of the new school year. He also said he appreciates that Kathy Latta has agreed to "take on a new challenge" as the director of the district's English Language Learners department.

Tom Bredvick -- Said he appreciates the time and dedication of teachers and administrators who advance their careers and educations during the summer, recognizing Haney for having recently earned his specialist degree.

Bredvick added, "A ton of kids are excited about coming back to school."

During "Public Participation," Christine Coleman asked board members not to discuss things quietly among themselves during meetings, but to speak so that members of the public attending the meeting can hear.

The board went into closed session to discuss personnel and negotiations.

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Consider the McCook Voc-Ag/FFA students involved in this state ranked judging team with a chance to compete at the American Royal.

Samantha Yonkers,

Will Miller,

Katelyn Fritsche and

Amanda Shields

During the late 40s, right after WWII, farm and ranch girls could use their study hall periods to "sit in" Voc-Ag classes, without being officially enrolled.

Our instructor even went so far as to set up a small table in a back corner, which we all knew was for the girls only.

During those post-war years, the women who had "done it all" while the men were in uniform for the war's duration, were unceremoniously sent back to the kitchen -- so the men could assert their "rightful place."

In Rodeo, where capable women had successfully competed in riding broncs from the early days -- women were forced out by returning veterans.

At Okla. A&M, one of my best friends was "bumped" from the school's Livestock Judging team by a petite little junior girl -- Minnie Lou Ottinger.

He was so devastated by the humiliation, he left school and joined the Marines.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a 5'1" Swiss-Italian widow in California's Salinas Valley took over management of the large family farm after her husband was killed in a car-train collision.

Where her husband had produced marginal profits -- this delicate little woman created a rousing success for more than 20 years.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 12:32 AM

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