Board members Amy Jeffers, Lanny Isensee, Scott Backer, Katie Priebe and Rick Lowrey were in attendance for the May 4, 2020, meeting. Matt McMahon was not in attendance. The meeting was held on a Zoom conferencing platform. Also present were Superintendent Ed Harris, Community Education Director LuAnn Kleven, Principals Shane McBroom and Randy Paulson, Trish O’Connor, Business Manager; and student senate representative Tedon Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was asked by the board how distant learning was going and he stated that he wasn’t in love with it because he felt you don’t learn as much as you would if you were in the classroom, but that it was going as well as could be expected. He said he really misses the hands-on activities of a regular classroom.
LuAnn Kleven, community education director reported that Valleyland presently has an average of 20 students attending the Emergency Workers Child Care program, with nine children per room to allow for social distancing. The state had not given any direction about summer Valleyland but she is proceeding with planning for it, thinking that the numbers will be down about 50%. There will be no field trips and no access to the pool if it does not open. Early childhood staff have done some Zoom activities with preschoolers and posted videos to Bloom for them. Much of their time is being spent on professional development activities that they normally do not have time for during a normal year. They also have been busy preparing rooms for summer cleaning and preparing year-end packets for students. These packets will be available for pick-up at the elementary school the middle of next week. Parents will be given information as to how and when they will be distributed. Summer rec and enrichment classes and activities have been scheduled but LuAnn is still waiting for direction from the state regarding whether or not they can actually have the activities. Driver’s education classes are scheduled for July 6-17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students may register online at www.enhanceddrivinginstitute.com.
Elementary Principal Shane McBroom said the tentative date for the D.A.R.E. graduation will be on May 26 at 6:30 as a drive-through at the elementary school with Officer Kevin Landorf from the Chatfield Police Department. The fifth grade Eagle Bluff trip for this year has been rescheduled to May 10-12, 2021, and next year’s fifth graders will go a different week. The last week of school on May 26, 27, and 28 will be when students return iPads, Action 100 books, library books and pick up their items from their lockers and desks. More information will be provided as to how this will be done to maintain social distancing. Shane also thanked everyone for the support of his staff and to congratulate them on the parade that was held on May 4. Seventy cars of Chatfield staff members greeted students on the streets of Chatfield. He said it was good to see the kids again.
Graduation is the big question mark for Randy Paulson, high school principal. He has met with senior leadership and a senior parent group to look at options for 2020 graduates. The consensus thus far is to have a traditional commencement and if that is not possible to perhaps use the football field for the program and ask CCTV to live broadcast the ceremony. All parties want to avoid having just a virtual graduation. Until the state gives guidelines for how graduation ceremonies can be held, there is little that can be done. Paulson was hopeful that some direction would come from the state next week. Grading for high school and middle school students is still in flux as there are many variables to consider. Achievement Awards for grade seven and eight will be based on grades for trimester one and two. He is working with a team to set up virtual presentations of the Achievement Program, Academic Awards Program and Senior Scholarships. Locker clean-out for grades 9-12 is taking place the week of May 4 through May 8, with each student having a specific day to collect the content of their lockers. Grades seven and eight will clean their lockers the last week of school according to a schedule, as well.
Superintendent Harris is conducting surveys with parents and students. The parent surveys were quite positive, giving useful and insightful information. He felt the school needed to know how the pacing was going and if the work load was appropriate. There were certain trends at particular grade levels and he will share the results with staff as appropriate. The student survey is not complete yet but the food service survey led to a refinement of lunch menu options to more popular choices and new prepacked items were ordered this past week that will be added to the lunches. The eithth grade trip to Washington, DC has tentatively been rescheduled for MEA Week in October.
Under consent items, the meeting minutes from April 4, 2020, were approved and the food service management contract was approved for one year. Resignations were accepted from Anna Pence-Bouska, elementary nurse and Stephan Wasmundt, middle school science teacher. Summer school hires for 2020 were Mitch Lee, high school teacher; Regan Little, high school aide; Elissa Johnsrud and Brenda Semmen as summer reading program teachers; Krista Schild, summer reading program aide and Kelly Reinecke, ESY (Extended School Year) teacher. Lastly, they approved the posting of the middle school science position.
Under action items, the revised budget for fiscal year 2020 was approved along with a designation of a specific district person to access portals on state websites. Also approved was the local literacy plan and fiscal year 2021 budget reduction recommendations. The lowest bid for the storage shed construction from Brian Lee was accepted at $84,400. The MDE (Minnesota Department of Education) has indicated that since schools are being fully funded they should honor 2020 contracts for advisors and spring coaches so the board approved this recommendation. The approval of the principals’ contracts was tabled for the June as one piece of information about unrequested leave had not been fully understood.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be held on June 3, 2020, with the meeting place to be determined by COVID-19 restrictions.