School board approves building trades, middle school iJAG programs

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The DMACC tool crib will soon be put to good use by PHS students in the new building trades program.

New educational and vocational offerings will be available for Perry students when classes begin in August thanks to actions taken by the Perry School Board at their May 13 meeting.

Industrial Tech instructor Chad Morman made a presentation to the board at their April meeting about the formation of a new building trades program at the high school.

As part of giving their official consent to the creation of the program, the board agreed to a memorandum of understanding with DMACC. The college will provide a trailer and a variety of tools necessary needed for use by the new class.

Several details remain to be solidified, Morman said, but he hopes the class will build one house each school year. Tentative plans call for several homes to be constructed on an L-shaped section of land surrounding the Hamlin Bell apartments on the former site of PHS between 10th and 12th Streets along Willis and Otley Avenues.

In other board action, Perry Middle School Principal Shaun Kruger was joined by grade 11-12 iJAG instructor Tina Lutterman and 9-10 iJAG instructor Stacey Walton in asking the board to approve extending the popular program to grades 7-8.

The Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) program, the board learned, provides internships and other work-related projects for students. The students learn responsibility and accountability and gain real-world experience that proves helpful once they graduate from high school.

“This is, in my view, of the best things we do,” Superintendent Clark Wicks said. “We hear nothing but good things about what this program does, and in my opinion we really get a real bang for the buck.”

Between 30 and 35 students will be helped in the first year, Kruger said, with the number growing to as many as 50 after that. He said a strong interest has already appeared at the middle school.

State iJAG Program Manager Monica Meads was present, highlighting the success of iJAG programs around the state.

“You cannot put a price tag on the value of what these students take away from iJAG,” Meads said. “It can make all the difference for these students, and that is what we see year after year.”

Kruger said the board would need to hire an instructor for the middle school program. This person would begin training June 24 in order to be ready for the start of classes in August.

The $22,500 annual cost is taken from at-risk/dropout prevention funding.

The board gave unanimous approval to proceed with the middle school program and later agreed to a $45,000 cost for the two iJAG programs at PHS, with funds coming from the same at-risk/dropout prevention source.

The board also gave their consent to a sharing agreement with Madrid for boys and girls soccer. Similar to the arrangement Perry had with Panorama for several years, the agreement lets Madrid send interested male and female athletes to Perry to compete in soccer beginning next spring. The agreement must to be approved annually.

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