Caledonia School Board members met on Monday, April 17, from 6-8:52 p.m. Board members present were Derek Adamson, Tim Gunn, Leigh King, Melissa Marschall, Mike Peterson, Daniel Small, and Spencer Yohe. Superintendent Craig Ihrke, Elementary Principal Sue Link, Middle/High school Principal Nathan Boler, and Community Education Director Gretchen Juan also attended.
The board welcomed a number of guest speakers who all offered informative presentations that target students’ mental health and education.
Elementary Counselor Sue Howe and Middle/High School Counselor Brent Schroeder shared a presentation that outlines their line of work. The counselors use a data evidence based system entitled MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) to support students. Tier 1 targets all students proactively through use of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support), Top 20, school wide visuals, Warrior WOW (Word of the Week), and SAEBRS (Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener). Tier 2 targets 20% of students through utilization of small group social skills instruction at the elementary level, student support team meetings, ADSIS (Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services), individual counseling, referrals to outside services, and family conferences. Tier 3 targets 5% of students through crisis support, referrals, and wraparound support which includes seeking outside services connected.
Howe and Schroeder mentioned a number of programs that currently exist to serve students. Howe shared at the elementary level fifth grade students can partake in school safety patrol. “They play a very important role in our school!” In addition, Caledonia Elementary offers coaching, Leadership Club, and Backpack Program where lower income students are provided food and resources. Elementary students frequently participate in Warrior Way and Zones of Regulation as a means to communicate how one feels. In comparison, middle and high school students also utilize Zones of Regulation. In contrast, middle and high school students utilize Character Strong, junior/senior interviews, and benefit from individual counseling.
The numerous tasks both counselors Howe and Schroeder take on fall into SEL (Social Emotional Learning). SEL consists of objectives, methodology in which MTSS is based off, direct and indirect programs, and opportunities to move forward. SEL assists students in self management, self awareness, and in acquiring needed skills to be successful in today’s workforce. The three main skills needed in the workforce as of 2025 include digital literacy, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, all of which SEL can help achieve. Dean of Students John Wahlstrom greatly assisted counselors Howe and Schroeder in the 2022-2023 school year.
Four students of Rob Sobczak’s (high school social studies teacher), presented to the board an informative PowerPoint regarding turning Sprague Woods into a school forest. The students expressed the benefits a school forest would bring such as offer a hands-on learning opportunity, new learning methods for teachers, promote outdoor learning, get students outside, and set Caledonia school district apart from other school districts. The students shared the multitude of educational activities one can incorporate with a school forest for subjects such as music, math, physical education, science, social studies, and more. The goal with a school forest is to be proactive rather than reactive. Students recommended the inclusion of an outhouse, maintaining a spreadsheet to track forest use, and only allowing teachers to bring a cell phone during class sessions held at the school forest. Board members Peterson and Gunn praised the students for their presentations.
The board appreciated the presentation and loved the idea of the inclusion of a school forest. The board decided to include such to the April 17 agenda for that night’s meeting. In turn, the board unanimously voted to enter a Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Caledonia in regards to Sprague Woods used as a school forest.
The board also approved the agenda, minutes from the March 20 regular board meeting, and the treasurer’s report.
Donations were gratefully accepted from Caledonia Lions Club and Michael Otomo, Country Financial. The Lions Club donation will be applied towards transportation for an Eagle Bluff trip while Michael Otomo’s donation will be applied to the Business Professionals of America Program.
The board named the Fillmore County Journal as Caledonia Area School District’s official newspaper, effective immediately.
The resignation/retirement of early childhood special education teacher, Colette Bruening, was sadly accepted. The board thanked Bruening for her 40 years of service and dedication to the school district.
The Action Item that included discussion/action in regards to the K-12 Dean of Students Position or the Assistant Principal Position for the 2023-2024 school year was tabled to the May regular school board meeting. Peterson recommended this action item be tabled to next month’s meeting in order to figure out specifically what role to go with/offer. Board member Yohe agreed with Peterson.
The next regular board meeting of the school board is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, May 15 in the elementary school’s music room #162. The public is invited to attend.