Caledonia School Board members met Wednesday, June 21 from 6-8:09 p.m. at Brownsville Community Center in Brownsville, Minn. Board members present included Derek Adamson, Tim Gunn, Leigh King, Melissa Marschall, Mike Peterson, Daniel Small and Spencer Yohe. In addition, elementary Principal Sue Link, middle/high school Principal Nathan Boler, Business Manager/Finance Director Barb Meyer, and Community Education Director Gretchen Juan attended.
Yohe moved, second by Adamson to adopt the Agenda in turn motion carried. No Warrior Pride, Board Showcase, or Public Comment took place. The board unanimously approved the Consent Agenda, minutes from the May 15 regular school board meeting, minutes from the May 17 special school board meeting, and the treasurer’s report.
Mayor Jean Meyer, of Brownsville, addressed the board about Brownsville’s student enrollment with La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools versus Caledonia Area Public Schools. Meyer shared La Crescent offers more presence within the Brownsville community compared to Caledonia; in turn, half of Brownsville’s children enroll with La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools as opposed to Caledonia Area Public Schools. Another reason families opted for La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools is due to location with the school being closer distance or on the way as parents head to work. The board thanked Mayor Meyer for her time.
The board reviewed and discussed the Caledonia Area Public Schools’ Strategic Plan which includes five goals to be met by the 2026-2027 school year.
The first goal targets to reduce disciplinary occurrences. At the middle/high school, problem areas that deal with behavior have been identified, such as cell phones, attendance, and the transition between eighth to ninth grade. To address the cell phone issue, Boler states shoe cases will be hung in each classroom where high school students will place their cell phone in a shoe case at the start of each class period, then pick their cell phone up at the end of the period. Middle school students will keep their cell phones in their lockers. Boler discussed changing the current WIN structure. In order to meet this goal there will be tracking, measuring, and recording of disciplinary actions.
The second goal targets staff retention.
The third goal targets student involvement within the community. Boler would like to pair with local organizations. Link hopes to engage student leadership. Mayor Meyer recommended the wording to be more inclusive to local areas outside Caledonia such as Brownsville.
The fourth goal targets mental health support. Link recommended behavioral participation, emotional engagement, and Top 20. Athletic achievement is proudly celebrated, however, other achievements need to be celebrated too, such as academic, reading, MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) testing, and more.
The fifth goal targets life skills exposure through utilizing community members’ expertise. Peterson commented, “I think once it gets going it will be really good!” Boler shared the middle/high school is part of BCC (Bluff Country Collaborative). Boler also shared a CTE (Career, Technology, & Education) fair is held in Caledonia.
The five goals were approved by the board.
The board unanimously approved the following for the 2023-24 school year: bread product bid from Pan-O-Gold; dairy product bid from Ziebell’s Foods; and fuel oil bid from Kwik Trip. In addition, the board approved to adopt the budget for the 2023-2024 school year.
The board viewed and discussed school policies 418-428.
Board member reports
Board member Gunn brought to attention the idea of Caledonia Area Public School District implementing a school resource officer. Gunn spoke with both Caledonia City Clerk/Administrator Jake Dickson and Police Chief Kurt Zehnder, both of whom expressed interest in the idea. Gunn acknowledged most small towns typically do not utilize school resource officers, however, Gunn wants to keep the idea alive, stating, “I look at it as a positive.” The issue of funding came up. Board member Peterson applauded Gunn, “I appreciate you bringing it up. Thank you for all the work you do with this safety stuff.”
The next regular board meeting of the Caledonia Public School board is scheduled for Monday, July 17. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Eitzen Community Center located 202 E Main St in Eitzen, Minn. The public is invited to attend.