The Chatfield School Board met on October 16, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the high school media center. Board members Jerry Chase, Lanny Isensee, Scott Backer, Katie Priebe, Matt McMahon and Amy Jeffers were present along with Superintendent Harris, Community Education Director Luann Kleven and administrative assistant, Lorri Lowrey.
There were no board committee reports. Community Education Director LuAnn Kleven reported that there are 84 students in preschool classes. This year 18 scholarships were given. The teachers are excited to be offering a new curriculum called Big Day for PreK which will address the early learning standards. Early Childhood will also sponsor a fall carnival. Later on in the year Community Education will be offering STEM classes again for elementary students
Elementary principal, Craig Ihrke presented the board with statistics that showed that the elementary students had met and exceeded their goals in both reading and math. He said he was proud of all the students, teachers, and parents for contributing to the outperforming of the goals that they had targeted. Gopher Time, the new program instituted this year to create nurturing connections and positive relationships, is going well and two staff members will give a presentation at the next board meeting. Principal Ihrke thanked Mrs. McLeod, Mrs. Olson and the student senate for the pep fest and the Gopher Fest activities for the elementary students.
Randy Paulson, high school principal, began his report by congratulating the Homecoming Queen, Megan Hopp and Homecoming King, Bennett Gathje. He thanked the student senate advisor, Lindsey Olsen, the student senate members and the coronation advisor, Stacy Conway for putting together new and different events for this year’s homecoming. He felt it was well received by the community and exceeded his expectations. During homecoming week the students also had a lyceum from Three Screens Multimedia productions with messages on anti-bullying, not texting and driving and overcoming obstacles and challenges.
During the superintendent’s report, Superintendent Harris also acknowledged the success of the new homecoming venture and that it was fun and energetic. He noted that a number of businesses set up activities and booths; making it a community celebration. In construction updates, the outside work is about four weeks away from tipping up the walls and the inside work of new science classrooms should be available after Christmas. At this point, construction is ahead of schedule. In early March work on the new cafeteria area will begin and meals will be brought to the high school from the elementary kitchen and students will be eating in the large group room. Work on the media center should begin in May.
Harris reported that the activity committee met recently and discussed soccer, sport participation and coaching levels. There appears to be a sufficient interest in girls soccer that warrants more research in this area. If a girls soccer team was started it would start as a junior high program with hopefully a developmental program beneath it. Some additional surveys will be done to help with the possible addition of this activity. The numbers are quite low in girls basketball so a ninth grade coach will not be hired. Golf numbers have been critically low so they will be watched before making any determination when the season gets closer. Track numbers have increased dramatically with over 100 athletes, so Harris is recommending increasing two half-time positions to full-time and adding another new full-time position.
In a Finance and Facility committee report, Superintendent Harris said the discussion was on maintenance on the baseball field dugouts which need some repair and he will get quotes before the next season. Relocating and retrofitting CCTV stands was found to be cost prohibitive and will not be pursued.
Harris cited that enrollment figures for this year are at 917, up from 901 last spring. This year’s open enrollment is at plus nine. Perhaps the highlight of the board meeting was the letter that the school district received from the Minnesota Commissioner of Education that commended the school district for meeting Minnesota’s goal of reducing the achievement gap by 50% in both math and reading. Commissioner Cassellius commented that, “Achievement gaps do not close without hard work and commitment.”
Under consent items the board approved the minutes of the last meeting, the 2017-2018 seniority list, additional 2017-2018 fundraisers, and the resignation of assistant speech advisor, Angie Wiegmann. The board also approved job postings for assistant speech advisor, a paraprofessional position, two junior high baseball coaches, two junior high softball coaches, one track coach, and a seventh grade girls basketball coach. Other consent items approved were the homecoming DJ contract, an increase for two current track coaches from half-time to full-time positions and the junior varsity and assistant spring 2018 coaches.
The first reading of district policies was introduced and the second reading of district policies was approved. Under new business, the board approved the renewal of the pool lease with the city.
The next school board meeting will be on November 20 at 7 p.m. in the high school media center. November 2 is the end of term one for grades nine through 12 and November 3 will be a teacher workshop day with no school for students.