School builds track program with coach, pole vault

With a growing number of athletes, Flandreau High school will hire another track coach and add pole vault this spring.
The school board approved an additional middle school coach at a cost of $1,704, bringing the total of the number of coaches to three at the middle school and three in high school. Board member Kari Burggraff did not support the move, saying she preferred waiting to see how many students go out for track this year.
Coach Owen Parsley said there were 64 students in middle school and high school in track in 2018 and 71 last year. He expects 90 athletes this spring.
With the number of students participating and the variety of activities, there aren’t enough coaches to keep up with events, Parsley said. “With five coaches, that gets spread pretty thin.”
Superintendent Rick Weber said that 20 years ago, the district had seven coaches, but coaches in all athletic areas were cut because of budget constraints. Most of the other sports have been able to bring coaches back on staff, he said.
The additional middle school coach was the cheapest option brought for the board’s consideration. The most expensive choice would have hired a new middle school coach and brought all of the middle school coaches up to assistant high school coaches so they could continue with practices and meets after the middle school season ends and the high school season continues. Keeping coaches on as high school athletes compete in the final competitions of the year is important because they have worked with them all year, Parsley said. That plan would have cost $5,167.
Two other options would have cost $4,013 and $2,858.
The board also unanimously approved adding pole vault to the track options. Parsley said several students are wanting to try the sport.
The district will borrow poles from Elkton and Dakota State University at no cost, but students will need to buy their own helmets to participate. Teacher Scott Ross will volunteer to practice with the pole vaulters twice weekly in Elkton.
Cost for the school is expected to be about $118 for the gas to travel to practices in a school vehicle.
In other board business,
•The board approved a school calendar for next year that starts classes on Aug. 20 and ends with the last day of class on May 14. Graduation will be on May 15, and any snow days would be made up after the last day of school.
Students will be dismissed early on Wednesday, Dec. 23, for the holiday break, a change from what the committee that worked on the calendar wanted. The committee proposed dismissing early on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Teacher Laura Peters, who served on the committee, said the group spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into the proposed calendar. “We were very adamant to take the 23rd off,” she said.
Teachers also thought getting out of school May 14 was too early, and the calendar committee had advocated having the last day of classes on May 17.
•The board approved the addition of the Culture Strong Club with the faculty sponsor Stephanie Landgren, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe middle school liaison.
The purpose of the club is to encourage a sense of belonging, unity and empowerment through opportunities for creativity, respect, diversity and equality. The club also will promote Dakota culture knowledge and language.
The club plans on meeting weekly.
•The district has 14 students taking 18 dual-credit classes this semester, said High School Principal Nichole Herzog.
•Students Austin Kulm and Grace Johanson were selected for the South Dakota State University Honor Band, which will meet Feb. 28-29 in Brookings. Nine students also were selected to the Big East Conference Honor Band. They are Bethany Britton, Mazzy Johanson, Liam Streitz, Macy Williams, Jaelyn Gaspar, Austin Kulm, Caleb Dietrich, Grace Johanson and Matt Drietz. Mazzy Johanson has attend the event for four years.
•The school board will meet at 5 p.m. Feb. 19 for a strategic planning retreat. The March board meeting will move one week later to March 16 because of a possible conflict with the girls’ basketball SoDak 16.
•The board approved the hire of Mike Smit as an alternative education teacher and Eliana Fricke as an elementary paraprofessional. In addition, they issued a contract to Superintendent Weber for the 2020-2021 school year.
•The board also approved waiving the graduation requirement for a student to attend the entire second semester in order to attend graduation.


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