May 29, 2024

High school looks to add new courses

Creston Community High School is looking at offering a number of new courses in the 2024/25 school year.

During Creston Community School District school board’s Dec. 18 meeting, Principal Bill Messerole explained the high school will be adding a college math course taught on the campus. This course would be taught by math teacher Ellie Soosloff, who is working on her masters degree.

“When we hired Ellie Soosloff, we were able to hire her because we had an agreement that we’d pay for her masters degree. Since we’re paying for it, she’s committed to X number of years and X number of students so we recoup that cost,” Messerole said. “She’s real excited about it. She’ll finish her masters this summer from Texas A&M and she’ll be able to teach a wide variety of college classes. We’re looking at calculus for sure and probably college algebra next year.”

This math class would join two other college credit courses already on the high school campus: psychology and fundamentals of oral communication. Taking college classes on campus result in financial savings for the students, as well as ease of access.

“Whenever we teach in the high school, we have better attendance and better grades,” Messerole said. “It’s more convenient for our students and they’re more on top of things.”

Along with college classes, the high school is looking into adding a sports officiating course to the PE curriculum. This is an IHSAA initiative to help combat the lowering numbers of officials for school sports.

“I know Harlan’s doing it,” Messerole said. “Obviously they’re not going to take that course and be certified and do a varsity game, but Scott [Driskell] hires a lot of recently graduated or current students in the summer for junior high baseball and softball, and we could do the same for middle school basketball.”

In other school board news...

CCSD Superintendent Deron Stender shared a number of developers have shown interest in the ECC property. With students moving to a new campus in 2025, the district and city are looking to do something else with the land.

“The grand scheme is, the track is going to be housing,” Stender said. “There’s talks about ripping the crick back up so it’s above surface, creates that nice scenery and brings that water flow. If it’s housing, it helps the community, city and school, it creates taxes.”

Creston Middle School Principal Lesa Downing said the staff is focusing on improving attendance this year. She explained the the middle school is about 3% lower in attendance than other schools in the district.

“It’s a battle but I’m working on it. We’re sending out letters when they hit that five-day mark,” Downing said. “When they get past that 10-day mark I’m meeting with the parents and the student and we come up with a plan of how we can help support that parent and that student on their attendance.”

Downing said they’ve specifically found a trend with students participating in sports.

“We found that some students were especially not coming to school the next day after an athletic event because they might get home after eight or nine, so we’ve been working to make sure that they’re showing up at school,” Downing said. “I also put it out that if they’re not at school that day, they don’t get to participate in the sport.”

CCSD Athletic Director Scott Driskell asked the school board to consider offering complimentary senior citizen passes for school activities. Other schools in the Hawkeye 10 have done this, and Driskell thinks it would be a nice gesture to the community.

To recoup costs, he suggested raising acticity ticket prices. Annual passes for students currently sit at $35, while the passes are $75 for adults. A single game ticket for high school is $6.

The school board approved the December 2023 list of contracts and resignations.

Resignations: Shannon Smith, business teacher and FBLA advisor (end of 23-24 school year).

Contracts: Michael Pereira, para; Nellie Beaman, cook; Sandra Shimer, cook.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.