The Chatfield School Board met on May 22, 2018, in room 122 in the high school. Board members present were Scott Backer, Amy Jeffers, Katie Priebe and Matt McMahon, along with Superintendent Harris, Administrative Assistant Lorri Lowrey, Craig Ihrke, elementary principal, and Randy Paulson, high school principal. Also present were student council members, Megan Hopp and Bennett Gathje. Board members Lanny Isensee and Jerry Chase were not present.
There were no board committee reports. The student senate members said their year is winding down and that new officers have been elected for the next school year.
Under principal’s reports, high school principal Randy Paulson had many items of congratulations for the student body and staff. First was the first place win of the Rube Goldberg National Competition by nine Chatfield students coached by Nora Gathje. The FFA chapter was named best in state and will attend the national convention as representatives of our state in the fall. They are coached by Stacy Fritz and Tim Willette. Our speech team did well this year and Lauren Mueller advanced to state competition. The girls softball team won the conference and are now playing in the sub section tournament. Ten of the band members under the direction of Katy Schleusner received superior ratings and Mitchell Holets (trumpet) and Devann Harris (flute) both received the prestigious “best in site” awards. The 2018 Junior/Senior prom, “A Night to Remember,” was a huge success and Paulson thanked Laura Adams and the juniors for all their hard work. This year special scholarships were given to one boy and one girl who are pursuing a career in sciences. It was given in the name of Mary Jane Christopherson, who passed away this year. Mary Jane had taught science classes for many years in Chatfield and the school is very appreciative of her family for honoring her name through these scholarships.
Craig Ihrke, elementary principal, reported that MCA tests have been completed and thought the preliminary reports look good, but they are not quite as high as last year’s scores. In talking with other elementary principals in the area, there was a consensus that the tests were more difficult than years past and these schools also saw a lowering of scores. He stated that it will be interesting to see what the 2018 state averages look like.
Much of Superintendent Harris’s report was on agreements and plans that need renewal. One of them was the Lead in Water Management Plan that is mandated by the state and will be read this meeting and approved in June. There have been stories in the news about high radon levels in schools and Chatfield schools were tested in 2014-2015 and received satisfactory reports. Recommended testing is done every five years. The support staff has been asked to bring forward what they want the school board negotiating team to consider and this should be ready for the June meeting. The emerald ash borer disease has necessitated the removal of five trees on school property and they are getting a quote for treatment of other trees that are infected.
Under the consent agenda ,the board approved the student senate spring fundraiser and the following resignation or retirements: Laura Lanning, elementary paraprofessional; Dave Hinck, SADD co-advisor; Lori Finseth, elementary teacher; Angela Grant, preschool teacher; and Amy Miron, high school special education teacher. The following new hires were approved: Judy Finseth, high school paraprofessional; Zachary Slowiak, high school social studies/STEM teacher; Kelsey Gwidt, elementary teacher; Angela Fitzpatrick, elementary teacher and Sarah Palmer, middle school English teacher. The following summer school hires were approved: Kelly Reinecke, special education teacher; Christy Carr and Pam Flattum, special education paraprofessionals; Tiffany Wilke and Cheri Vondal, kindergarten prep teachers; and Stephanie Mensink, kindergarten prep paraprofessional. Job postings were approved for a preschool teacher and high school special education teacher.
Under new business there was a renewal of five agreements or plans. These plans were: Designation of Identified Official with Authority for the MDE, 2018-2019 Local Literacy Plan, Lead in Water Management Plan, MSHSL 2018-2019 Resolution for Membership Renewal and Region V Joint Powers Agreement.
The last day of school is May 31 and graduation is June 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. The next school board meetings are scheduled for June 18, July 16, August 20 and September 17 at 7 p.m. at the high school in Room 122.