At the January 11 Chatfield School Board meeting, board members Josh Thompson, Jill Harstad, David Sowinski, Mark Johnsrud, Katie Priebe and Tom Keefe were present, as well as Superintendent Ed Harris, Principals Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson, and Trista O’Connor, business manager. Community Education Director LuAnn Kleven and Lorri Lowery, administrative assistant were present, along with Student Senate member Olivia McBroom.
Superintendent Harris began the meeting until the board voted in Katie Priebe as the new board chair. The board elected Tom Keefe for vice chair and voted to retain the clerk and treasurer, Josh Thompson and Jill Harstad, respectively. The board proceeded on to the list of board committee assignments, both standing and ad hoc, and board members filled the open spots and changed or remained in their previous committees. Under board committee reports, Tom Keefe discussed the continuing search for HVED (Hiawatha Valley Education District) to find a centralized location in which to service all of the districts that belong to it. Student Senate representative McBroom spoke about the candy cane fundraiser before Christmas and that the senate plans to sell cookies for Valentine’s Day.
Eric Nelson, high school principal, is taking a group of students to the Together We make a Difference conference on Friday, January 13. This is sponsored by the MSHSL and other educational groups. It is an initiative to challenge intolerance and racially charged incidents that occasionally occur at school events. Nelson discussed several student suggestions by students for new clubs. One new activity will be the Game Club that will be advised by Josh Maricle-Roberts. Another possible new activity would be an Esports (electronc sports) club that he has asked the activities director to explore the possibility of and make a recommendation about offering this to students. He also announced that Peyton Ellis, representing Chatfield as an AAA (Academics, Arts, and Athletics,) recipient has been named the winner of the sub-section competition and will now move on to the Section 1A competition. Peyton participated in speech, music, theater, dance, track, cross county and volleyball.
At the elementary, principal McBroom stated that Math Wizards competition has started and 131 students participated in the Annual Elks Hoop Shoot with one student, Cael Sinn moving onto competition in Mankato after placing 1st in Rochester recently. Winter Benchmark NWEA testing has started at the elementary and this data is used to monitor student progress on standards as well as identifying students that may be needing additional support in the school’s intervention program.
Community Education Director, LuAnn Kleven reported to the board that Valleyland is already working on staffing for summer and encouraged, especially college students, to apply for a position. Preschool registration for the 2023-24 school year will begin on March 27. She also thanked the Chatfield Firefighters for their donation of $2655 to the preschool program. The money will be used to update their equipment and add items to enhance their classrooms. ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) winter classes begin the end of January with a Bagels, Bears, and Books special event on Saturday, January 21. This year they are also offering open gym for pre-K through kindergarten and hall riding for preschool children (Children bring their own bike, trike or pedal vehicle to ride in the elementary hallways). For more information on these activities, check the Community Education tab on the Chatfield Schools website chatfieldschools.com.
Superintendent Harris reported that the Crisis Management policy has been completed after consultation with county agencies. Looking at his goals for this year, he met with paraprofessional support staff to discuss ideas and suggestions to facilitate job satisfaction. He also has facilitated a process to review food service satisfaction. Under action items, he reviewed with the board the meeting dates for the 2023 and it was agreed that the meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of each month. He brought forth, and the board approved, the annual payments to the city of Chatfield of $15,000 for CCTV and $5,000 for streaming video. Katie Priebe stated that it may look like a lot of money but that in the long run it is an asset to our community. It enables more people to be involved in the school’s activities and meetings.
Under the consent agenda, the meeting minutes for December 14, 2022, were approved. Spring 2023 grades 7-11 assistant coaches approved were: Tom Bance, baseball; Kirk Affeldt, softball and Damon Nickelson, Scott Schmaltz, Barb Storsveen, Niki DeBuhr, Jenny Bradt, Maddie Kammer and Shane Fox for track and field. Also approved were two new hires: James McKay, 4-6 Math Interventionist and Zach Roline, substitute technology coordinator.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be February 8, at 7 p.m. in the high school Forum room.