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North Crawford Board discusses athletic trainer
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The North Crawford School Board met on Thursday, May 18 in a meeting kicked off with a stunning vocal performance of ‘Voice on the Wind.’

A group of senior girls were accompanied by sophomore Gavin Forkash. The piece was performed at the solo ensemble. Chorus director Paul Cota described the experience this year with solo ensemble.

“We had 11 events at state and 35 overall at the regular competition” Cota said. “The girls along with Gavin scored very high with this song.”

Following the performance, the board recognized the foreign exchange program hosted at North Crawford.

“We average about 10 kids a year,” longtime host father Harry Heisz told the board. “It’s a real treat for them to be around our kids, so they can learn about different cultures and ways of life. When you see these kids just being around and involved, it’s a real big plus.”

The topic of the school’s athletic trainer contracted through Vernon Memorial Healthcare came up during open session.

The girls track coach, Ed Heisz, addressed the board on the topic.

“I’m here to talk about the athletic trainer,” Ed Heisz said. “I’m not trying to bad mouth anyone, but it seems like she’s got too much on her plate. She’s upset when kids don’t go to her, but she’s not there when we need her.”

Heisz requested that communication be opened up with athletic trainer, Ashley Hagen, so students could have a chance to visit with her and be cleared to participate in sports. He also noted that the weight room is locked up frequently when it was requested that she supervise the workouts in there.

“As a coach and a parent, it is my concern that we may be drawing her too far,” Heisz said.

North Crawford School Superintendent Brandon Munson responded to the track coach’s comments.

 “Before, we never had a trainer during practices,” Munson said. “We are leap years ahead of where we were in terms of practice.”

Ed Heisz continued to air his concerns about the student athletes.

“The kids are told they can’t practice because she has to evaluate them, but she isn’t here to do it,” Heisz observed. “We have to find a better way to utilize this service.”

“Its tough,” said Munson. “We sent out a email to the coaches, and the ones that responded-their feedback was mostly positive, but that was their concern that she is stretched very thin. But there is not a better alternative at this time. We talked to VMH to see if we could not split with Seneca, but they would not authorize hiring another person. It just comes down to the size of our district.”

Munson suggested to Ed Heisz that he directly contact the athletic trainer and try to work out scheduling that would accommodate everyone.

Later, during the new business portion of the meeting, more concerns were aired about the athletic trainer.

“We didn’t used to have this service, but my only issue with the athletic trainer is ‘if it hurts, ice it’ and nothing is getting fixed,” said board member and assistant boys track coach Jesse Swenson, “which makes the coaches think they need her services maybe more than they do. There is a lot of overuse of ice. No one is taking the time to tell them how they can do it right. They’re not getting taught how to make it better. I think a little logic and tough love could go a lot further than ice. Just our personal feelings.”

The 2017-18 VMH Athletic Training Services Contract was subsequently approved by the board.

During the open comment period, community member Peggy Schmidt addressed the board about the possibilities of a daycare at North Crawford.

“I’ve been on the phone with the state and applied for a state license because there is a super shortage of daycare in our area,” Schmidt told the board. “I don’t know if you are still interested doing daycare, but I am still getting calls every day and I have to turn people away, and its hard to say no to people who need help watching their kids.”

 Schmidt asked the board if they would be willing to address the subject again.

“Space is one logistic,” Munson said. “We had a person from the state walk through and there are a few roadblocks. One of them is that the room has to have two exits and one of the two exits has to be a direct access to the outside.  We also do not meet the criteria for a fully fenced in play yard because it opens up to the hill. Also a private bathroom is required.”

Munson did note however, that the idea is not completely off the board, but it is something more for the future and encouraged Schmidt to continue digging and looking at grant options for ways to make it work.

During the superintendent’s report, Munson told the board that he was working with the North Crawford Band Director Holly Jones on curriculum development.

“We have not talked about curriculum development in about seven years,” Munson told the board. “It has fallen to the wayside and we need to resurrect that.”

Munson discussed with the board that he proposed the idea to Holly Jones, the current band director.

“I have no intention to cut into the band program, I just would like to find a motivated individual to take this on, and Holly has a masters degree in curriculum development,” Munson explained.

Munson told the board that if everything goes according to plan, Jones would split her time 60-40-using 60 percent as band director and 40 percent in curriculum development. 

“I talked with her and she looked at her schedule and this is what she felt comfortable with doing.” Munson said. “I don’t want to lose any aspects of our band, because the 22 fifth graders playing at a high school level is phenomenal. It is not our desire to harm the band program. She firmly believes she can make this work and still dedicate adequate time to the band. ”

Munson told the board that the new position will mean an $11,000 increase to Jones salary, but would also include 20 extended days exclusively devoted to curriculum development. 

“This one makes sense to me,” Swenson said. “She’s phenomenal.”

In other business, the North Crawford School Board:

• heard there would be a four percent increase to the cost of health insurance for the 2017-18 school year (with three percent of that being a mandatory increase through the Affordable Health Care Act)

• approved the renewal of the WIAA membership for the 2017-18 year, with no fees

• approved the 2017-18 maintenance contracts

• heard a update on the school bus drivers, all is going well

• renewed the occupational therapy services contract through VMH

• approved teacher raises at the rate of 1.26 percent