At the March 9 Chatfield School Board meeting, Katie Priebe, Tom Keefe, Jill Harstad and Josh Thompson were present as well as Principals Shane McBroom, Eric Nelson, Superintendent Ed Harris and Trista O’Connor, business manager. Student Senate members Pete Hebrink and Brayden Fretland were also present. Matt McMahon joined through Zoom. Lanny Isensee was not present.
Student senate member, Peter Hebrink reported that the senate sold Valentine cookies as a fundraiser and that the Snowball Dance will be held this Friday at the elementary school.
Elementary Principal, Shane McBroom talked about the afterschool program that has been implemented for grades four through six. Students who need additional support as identified by the staff have been invited to this program. It starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. It has been going very well and around 15 to 18 students attend each night. McBroom said that kindergarten registration has started for the 2023 school year. Families of eligible students have been contacted.
Superintendent Harris thanked board members for their contributions to the school district as February 21-25 was Minnesota School Board Recognition Week. He also congratulated Grady Schott for winning the 182-pound State Championship in wrestling. Harris told the board that he is looking at health insurance options through the Southeast Service Cooperative that could potentially expand options and coverages while lowering costs.
Under consent items the board approved the February 9 meeting minutes. The following field trips were approved: Art trip to Chicago on May 13-15, 2022; fifth grade to Eagle Bluff on April 27-29; eighth grade Washington, D.C. trip on June 11-18, 2022, and ninth-10th grade Washington, D.C. trip on June 26-July 3, 2022.
The following fall 2022 varsity coaches were approved: Jeff Johnson, football; Molly Thomas, volleyball; and Jayna Harstad, cross-country. New hires approved were: Shanda Voeltz, game night supervisor; Kirsten Oehlke-Kramer, child care teacher; and Brianna Harmening, 1.5 FTE junior high softball. Resignations approved were: Cheryl Newman, junior high volleyball and April McBroom, junior high volleyball. Approval to post job openings for elementary nurse and junior high volleyball was also given.
Under action items the board approved the Achievement and Integration budget for fiscal year 2023 and approved the permanent transfer of $3,000 from Fund 1 to Fund 4 Community Education for the Chatfield Trap Team uniforms. Harris asked for permission and was given approval to post and hire up to a 1.0 FTE position to support seasonal building maintenance and grounds keeping.
Principal Eric Nelson, along with teachers Nora Gathje, Kia Virgin and Jeff DeBuhr presented the board the recommendation for next year’s schedule. Staff has been working on this for the last five months and the most significant element of the schedule will be a move to a trimester calendar with a daily schedule that includes five periods each day. The team believes that this model will best serve students by:
•Increasing curricular opportunites and student choice;
•Providing clarity and simplicity to the instructional day;
•Creating greater efficiency in staffing; and
•Satisfying statutory requirements related to instructional time and academic standards.
In this new schedule, courses would be 66 or 67 minutes each day with a two period core block of math, English and social studies in grades 7/8 that would meet all three trimesters. In grades 9 through 12, trimester courses would earn a half credit and most required course would be taught over two trimesters for a total of one credit. It will allow students to engage in meaningful long-term academic planning for their four years of high school and gives them greater choices in which courses they take and when they take them. The students will begin their day with Access Time every day but Wednesday, which is a late start day. Access Time will be used for remediation, academic support, test and quiz make-up, meetings and rehearsals.
Impact on staff would mean they would need to look at how they “chunk” material prior to the next school year since they would be moving from either an 87-minute period or a 43-minute period to a 67-minute period. Curriculum writing would need to be done over the summer to accommodate this change. After the presentation and some clarifying questions, the board approved the new schedule.
The board then approved the revised school calendar to correspond with the change of the school schedule for next year. Lastly the board approved the COVID Plan Review and Update that discontinued masking of close contacts in school, and daily classroom and bus fogging.
The meeting was adjourned. The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the high school Forum room on April 13, 2022.