Superintendent Mary Morem reported this year’s enrollment numbers to the school board at their regular meeting October 5. The elementary school pre-school to sixth grade has 201 students, down about seven from last year. The 7-12th grade high school remains steady at 231. Summit School is capped at 24 with more students on a waiting list.
MNVA has a total of 1,710 students with 391 in the elementary, 332 in the middle school, and 987 in the high school. MNVA enrollment has not dropped at all this year from last year’s numbers. Morem pointed out that MNVA is the second largest online school in the state of Minnesota. It is one of the oldest as well; this is MNVA’s 21st year in operation.
Morem shared some of the World’s Best Workforce Goals for Houston. She noted that all the schools were focusing on using FastBridge testing data. MNVA is using the data to align with the needs of students by using the ADSIS teachers. A goal of MNVA is that each student has a year’s growth in both math and ELA.
The elementary has broken down the data and is focusing on growth goals in all subjects for all grades. The elementary school goal is to be in the innovating stage as described in the Marzano plan which is used to evaluate teachers. The high school is also focusing on raising performance throughout the grade levels.
Morem’s personal goal is to have Summit become more project-based learning. Preschool’s focus is on using tactile; the occupational therapist is assisting in the use of sensory learning.
New Student Rep
for the Board
Junior Julia Carr will be joining the school board at meetings this year. Julia is involved in basketball, golf, the College and Career Readiness Committee, and is the 7-12th grade student council secretary. Julia said she wanted to become the student school board representative because she wants to get more involved in her school and wants to learn more perspectives.
New School Sign
John Traun appeared before the board during the public comment period to present his proposal for a new school sign. For Traun’s Eagle Scout Project, he wants to install a new school sign in front of the building. Instead of the current “Houston High School,” Traun proposed “Houston Jr-Sr High School.”
Traun has already checked into prices for a 4-foot by 8-foot sign ($2,000) and the concrete for the base ($300). The school board would need to pay for the sign and materials from the long term maintenance funds while the Scouts would complete the work. Josh Norlien commented that he thought is sounded positive and reasonable. Action on the proposal will be taken at a later meeting.
The Hurricane Heroes for this month are two new hard-working SPED coordinators for the district, Amber Anderson and Ashley Brown. The duo have been going through every IEP in the district, checking each for accuracy. They had commented to Morem, “We didn’t realize how much need you have!”
In other business, the board:
•Set a special study session meeting date of October 26 at 6 p.m. to review the referendum and do goal planning;
•Heard an update regarding their banking; Rushford State Bank is still working on electronic deposit for the school as well as direct deposit for employees;
•Learned Houston could use SPED dollars from state and federal funds to purchase a van to be used solely for the transportation of SPED students; this would be more economical than using a bus or renting vans and hiring outside drivers;
•Heard the plan to use the last half hour of Wednesdays for PLC time with students remaining at school doing other activities; there will be no changes needed for busing and no early out for students;
•Approved school policies that were updated to reflect recent legislative action and requirements;
•Approved the standard yearly assurance of compliance and the application for the MSHSL Foundation Grant which is to offset student activities fees;
•Accepted generous donations – $75 from Jeffery and Jennifer Jarchow for the football program and $1,500 from Houston Hoedown for the football, softball and baseball programs.
The next board meetings will be the special study session on the referendum and future goals on October 26 and the regular meeting on November 2. Both meetings will be at 6 p.m. and will be in the high school media center. The public is welcome to attend.