NCPS School Board

Nebraska City is leaving the ranks of Class B in high school football according to enrollment numbers discussed at the Nebraska City School Board meeting on Monday night.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeffrey E. Edwards opened the discussion by telling the board members that the school’s overall enrollment number for K-12 for the 2017-18 school year was nearly identical to the number from last year at 1,374.
Talk then shifted to the enrollment for boys for a three-year window of high school. According to new rules adopted by the Nebraska Scholastic Activities Association, classification for football is based on that number.
The cut off for Class B and C1 is 160. Any number below that would be Class C1. Nebraska City falls under that number at 157.
Although the enrollment numbers are not official yet, it is all but certain that Nebraska City will be scheduled for Class C1 for the next two seasons.
After that, the numbers will be revisited. According to the current data, Nebraska City would have an enrollment of 162 for the next two-year cycle and 179 for the two-year cycle after that.
Those numbers are speculative, however as the number of students in the system could be higher or lower in two and four years.
The NSAA could raise or lower the cut off number as well or could decide not to use that system at all if results for its first attempt at gender-based classification aren’t favorable.
Board members were curious if any other sports were being considered for a change in the way that classification is calculated. Dr. Edwards said the NSAA doesn’t have any plan to change classification calculation for any other sport at this time.
In other news from the meeting, board members conducted public hearings for and approved the technology bonds and the final tax request, heard a high school student council update from senior Cara Booth and got reports from the principals at all for NCPS buildings.
The special hearings occurred prior to the meeting and allowed for public input on the technology bonds and the tax request.
There was not input from the public on either of those topics.
The technology bonds provision allows the board to issue bonds of up to $100K to cover expenses such as the chrome books at the middle school and the 1-to-1 technology mission at the high school as well as other hardware or software needs.
Bonds are issued by the board and paid off in August of the following year.
Booth’s report from the student council was robust with a number of updates. Booth said the girls’ golf team did well this year with Brynn Bohlen finishing third at districts and representing the Nebraska City team at state.
Booth said one act has started at the high school and that members are working hard as they prepare for three big performances.
The Eastern Midlands Conference one act event will be Nov. 21 and the district performance is set for Dec. 1. A public performance of one act will be Nov. 14.
Booth said that the Nebraska City High School speech team had conducted its opening meeting of the season and was hoping to have good participation for this year.
A group that’s wrapping up its fall of performances is the Nebraska City band, which earned recognition this year at the Hamburg Popcorn Day parade, the AppleJack parade the Falls City parade and, most recently, at the Harvest of Harmony in Grand Island.
Booth who is a member of the band and also of the softball team said she has been disappointed to miss some band events due to softball obligations but said she has been proud of the effort her fellow band members have contributed this year.
The last item for Booth was an update on what turned out to be a crazy end to the Nebraska City softball season. Nebraska City was scheduled to play a double-elimination tournament at Ralston beginning on Thursday, Oct. 5. The game concluded Monday at Ralston after rainouts Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a venue change which had part of the Pioneers’ game being played in Blair.
Nebraska City lost to Omaha Gross in what turned out to be a single elimination format, but Booth said the Pioneers had a good season this year.
Middle School Principal Craig Taylor was the first of the principals to give a report and began by saying that the middle school is moving away from a one-day parent-teacher conference arrangement to a two-day format that’s more like what Northside and Hayward have been doing. That’s coming up soon. And school pictures were scheduled to be Thursday. Taylor said the high school was planning to do school pictures on Thursday as well with Northside and Hayward planning for photos on Friday, Oct. 13.
Taylor then told the board that, during the course of the 2017-18 season, he planned to bring with him to meetings the names of a teacher or two who were doing exceptionally well.
For this meeting, Taylor talked about Melissa Valenta, life skills, and Katie Meredith, guidance counselor.
Taylor said Valenta has been going above and beyond with the life skills program.
“I can not say enough about the opportunities she is presenting her life skills kids,” said Taylor.
Meredith, who is in her first year as the middle school guidance counselor, drew praise from Taylor for connecting with the community and brininging light to the programs at the middle school.
“It’s those things that maybe have always been there but now we are breaking them out of the walls and into the community,” Taylor said. “I think its shed a really positive light on some of the things we have going on at our school.”
Taylor said students in National Honor Society, student council and Pride were working on activities for the Red Ribbon Week, which is the school’s anti-drug and anti-alcohol campaign.
Red Ribbon Week activities will be observed from the 16th through the 25th.
Brent Gaswick then gave the report for the Northside School. He opened by saying that he was proud that Northside was NCPS leader in terms of after school club participation. The Northside school has 68 students who have reached the 20-day mark for club attendance. Also a plus, Hayward and the middle school reported that their club attendance was on pace to beat last year’s numbers.
Gaswick reported that Northside had enjoyed its visit from children’s author Lisa Bullard and that the school had hosted a night where a number of families got to visit with the author.
With fire prevention week coming up, Gaswick said the Northside school would get a visit from fire trucks, always an exciting event for the kids.
And Northside is trying to get more visitors to the building by working to beef up its Watch Dog program. The program which has been going well at the Hayward school, encourages fathers to come to the school and spend a day with their child. Gaswick said he has had some grandfathers at Northside already and said he would try to be better at getting some social media posts up online celebrating when dads or grandfathers come to the school for a visit.
Scot Davis gave his report on the Hayward school and talked about a leadership program that has been a highlight of the school year for a number of years now.
Davis said he takes four fifth grade students to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for a variety of leadership involved activities.
Back at the school, Davis said the students really enjoyed the visit they got from the same children’s author that visited Northside. Davis said his favorite part of the visit was the fact that Bullard made the experience a hands-on event.
“She got them writing stories on thier own,” Davis said, adding that he hopes students continue to write because of their work with Bullard.
Also a highlight was the Relay Recess at Hayward. Davis said the event is a great time for students to get exercise and to learn about cancer prevention.
The students raised money to go toward cancer related causes and answered a $1,000 challenge with a $1,150 total. Davis then went through with a promise.
He said he would dye his hair purple if the students met their goal and David reported that the kids seemed to enjoy seeing their principal with purple hair.
Coming up on the schedule at Hayward is the school’s annual costume parade, which will be Oct. 31. Davis said the event is always a popular one and noted that teachers and paras would be dressing in a Disney theme. He kept the rest of the details secret however and said the public should come and find out more on the day of the event.
Closing out the principal reports was Brian Hoover from the high school. Hoover said Booth covered most of his points and noted that his only real addition to the list was that the student council would be hosting a safe trick-or-treat night from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Hoover did say that he wanted to thank Booth, not only for her reports at the meeting, but for her dedication to the softball team during her career at NCHS.
In one other note from meeting, the Nebraska City School Board decided to pay $850 to join the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association.
Dr. Jon Habben, the executive director of the organization, is a retired superintendent from Falls City who lives in Nebraska City.
Habben has approached Dr. Edwards about NCPS joining the group.
Dr. Edwards said he has attended some of the group’s events and that the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association advocates for schools like Nebraska City.