Joan Loew Certification Acceptance

OCSD Business Manager Joan Loew displays her state certification. At left, Superintendent Ehn, and Michael Kukral, right.

Joan Loew was presented with a certificate of school finance and operations at the start of Monday’s Oelwein School Board of Directors meeting. Loew has recently received the certification and is one of seven certified in the state of Iowa. The framed certificate was given to her by Michael Kukral and Steve Harder, both of Horace Mann.

The Oelwein FFA chapter gave a presentation about their trip to Indianapolis for the national FFA convention and expo. The students showed photos and talked about what they did at the convention. The students detailed their adventure, which included bringing 14 people from Oelwein and two members were awarded at the 90th anniversary convention.

Ehn then gave a presentation called State of Education, which was his look at the Oelwein School District as a whole over the past few years. He gave some numbers as statistics and noted some areas where the school was doing well and areas that the schools needed to work on.

After the FFA presented superintendent Josh Ehn mentioned that there was a push to bring in a therapy dog to help students. That led into a large discussion of the state of mental health in the school.

Ehn presented three plans to the school board with creating a new approach to mental health in schools. Each board member brought up his or her concerns and ideas when it came to approaching mental health. Ehn explained each option in detail and noted that out of the three, one is being recommended by a mental health institute.

The option that was agreed upon, although no action was officially taken, is laid out in a fashion that would give each set of grades equal attention.

Pre K through fifth grade would have one counselor and one at-risk counselor. The same would be done for grades sixth through eighth. The high school would not have an at-risk counselor, but two counselors.

Although this plan was suggested, board members had their own thoughts. They mostly agreed with the plan, except they were worried about the workload for the high school level. A few voiced concerns about the high school not having enough time to focus on the needs of the students and suggested that a secretary might be hired to help with the more day-to-day operations. Before any decision is made Ehn wished to visit other schools in Iowa and try to glean ideas from them and their guidance counselors.

The high school boiler room will be receiving much-needed repairs, according to Ehn.

Ehn mentioned that the boiler room leaks and might have potential safety issues if it is not addressed anytime soon. Ehn showed a diagram of the plan to fix the leaks, which will cost close to $20,000. The price is lower than what was expected when bidding was started.