Caledonia School Board members met in Caledonia Elementary School’s music room #162 on Monday, March 20, from 6-8:15 p.m. Board members present included Derek Adamson, Tim Gunn, Leigh King, Melissa Marschall, Mike Peterson, Daniel Small, and Spencer Yohe. In addition, Superintendent Craig Ihrke, Elementary Principal Sue Link, Middle/High School Principal Nathan Boler, Business Manager/Finance Director Barb Meyer, and Community Education Director Gretchen Juan attended.
The board approved the consent agenda, minutes from the February 21 regular board meeting, treasurer’s report, and 2023-2024 school calendar.
The board gave a friendly welcome to Krin Abraham who shared an informative presentation in regards to assisting Caledonia School District in the Strategic Planning Process. A Strategic Plan involves thinking, planning, and reflecting on the “big picture” to set a given organization up for the future. Abraham, a former superintendent of another school district, shared, “Strategic planning is one of the things I absolutely love doing! We want to prepare a future kids see.” Abraham shared the seven steps in the planning process which include: 1) Develop a Mission, Vision, and Values Statement. 2) Create goals that are specific, measurable, aligned, realistic, and timely. 3) Formulate objectives. 4) Prioritize goals. 5) Identify resources such as employees, technology, and suppliers. Abraham commented, “Your staff is your largest resource.” 6) Create an Action Plan with an Implementation Process. 7) Evaluate and communicate progress. At the close of the presentation, the board approved Abraham to assist Caledonia School District with the Strategic Planning Process. The goal is to complete the Strategic Plan by beginning of the next school year.
A presentation in regards to the school district’s Dean of Students position currently occupied by John Wahlstrom had been conducted by Superintendent Ihrke, Principal Link, Principal Boler, and Wahlstrom himself. The Dean of Students position compares to an assistant principal position with limitations. The position was implemented a year ago and funded through ESSER funds. So far, the Dean of Students position has been a great success! Wahlstrom serving as the Dean of Students has added additional support to teachers, in turn students receive an even better education. Wahlstrom has provided coverage when administration is not present in the building. He has served as a qualified substitute within the classroom if needed. With Wahlstrom in the picture, school counselors can be removed from the disciplinary setting in turn the counselors are both available to focus attention to students’ mental health and reach out to parents to provide support. Board member Yohe stated to Wahlstrom, “You do a great job John!” Superintendent Ihrke, along with Principals Link and Boler feel the Dean of Students position needs to continue in some way, shape, or form…at least for an additional school year. No further action took place that evening. There will be discussion on continuation of a Dean of Students position or the inclusion of an Assistant Principal position instead at a later time.
The board reviewed policies 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 301, and 302.
Principal Link shared elementary students celebrated March being ‘I Love to Read’ month and Dr. Suess’s birthday. Future kindergartners get the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Suess too in an upcoming Dr. Suess themed Kindergarten Round-Up held Monday, March 27. Apart from Dr. Suess, Wednesday, March 15, the first grade class visited local Claddagh Senior Living & Memory Care and sang to the residents. On Thursday, March 16, students enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day festivities courtesy of the student council. The after school academy geared towards grades K-5 has brought about academic growth, overall the program is going well. MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) testing is on the horizon for grades 3-5 at the elementary level, specific dates on when testing will take place will be made available.
Principal Boler has kept busy with creating a final “draft’ of the 2023-2024 school year master schedule and beginning the process of student registration for the following school year. Boler shared a parent/student meeting had been held Monday, February 27 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. This Zoom meet with parents had been a success. The middle/high school principal offered a proud congratulations to all winter activities which included students, advisors, and coaches.
Community Education Director Juan explained CAPS (Caledonia Area Public School) Care currently includes 57 pre-kindergartners, 11 toddlers, and soon to be 12 infants come mid April. CAPS Care will reach 86% capacity come April.
The next regular board meeting of the Caledonia Public School board is scheduled for Monday, April 17. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Caledonia Elementary in the music room #162. The public is invited to attend.