On November 2, the Kingsland School Board’s scheduled “work session” meeting was postponed, due to unexpected technical difficulties at the school. The school board meeting was rescheduled to November 4. But the Strategic Planning meeting was held as scheduled on November 2, with members attending via remote technology from their homes.
During the Planning meeting, input was garnered from over 20 members representing students, teachers, school board members, parents of students, administrative and other staff, and community members. The session was led by Gail Gilman from the Minnesota School Board Association.
Much of the meeting centered on working to develop a mission statement and a vision statement for Kingsland. Members shared a variety of ideas, which Gilman will review for common wording and/or themes. Superintendent Hecimovich shared his opinion, stating, “The one thing I do want to make sure that we look at is our trades education, because that’s 70-80% of our workforce.” The group will work on “wordsmithing” and refining the statements during the group meeting in December.
The Kingsland School Board held a “work session” meeting on November 4. All board members were in attendance (Jackie Horsman, Noella Lund, Natasha Howard, Tiffany Mundfrom, Maranda Emig, and Kyle Rader), as well as Superintendent Jim Hecimovich, Principal Scott Klavetter, Athletic Director Mark Fitzpatrick, and Business Manager Amber Herbrand.
Superintendent Hecimovich gave an update on Kingsland’s “Hybrid/Distance Learning Model.” His report stated, in part, “MDE (Minnestoa Department of Education) was pretty clear after the distance learning debacle last spring and modified their recommended guidance addressing equitable education and access to learning. They wanted to see an increase in accountability.”
Hecimovich said there are very different challenges between elementary versus high school, as far as how to use technology to provide education, and how to hold students accountable. He related that some high school students have found loopholes so that they will be counted present, but the student may or may not be actually participating. He said Kingsland needs to be aware of these challenges, and working to put better systems in place.
Hecimovich talked about the previously discussed situation in which the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is charging school an additional fee to make up for lost revenues. Hecimovich explained that the tiered fee system put into place by the MSHSL means that some larger schools will pay about $7.50 per student, while Kingsland and other small schools may be paying around $33 per student.
Hecimovich said, “We’re currently drafting a letter, on behalf of the SMEC superintendents, asking some very pointed questions of the Minnesota State High School League, in the inequity of the COVID fee, their additional membership fee.” He said the letter will be shared with the board when it is finalized. He added that SMEC superintendents want to know what additional services are being provided as a result of this new fee, stating, “Or is it just a bailout, and I think we all know it’s a bailout.”
Athletic Director Mark Fitzpatrick explained that for winter sports and spectators, “We are looking to allow parents back into the gym. Each athlete can bring two people. We are going to put chairs out along one of the sides of the gym… keeping six-foot of distance, and 12-foot from the court.”
Principal Scott Klavetter talked about Flexible Learning Days, which is the system Kingsland has used for some of the “snow days” each winter. He said that for the elementary, “Essentially, a snow day would look like a Wednesday.” Klavetter also shared that all parent-teacher conferences will be held via virtual technology means.
Regarding Kingsland’s use of technology during the pandemic, and beyond, Maranda Emig shared her opinion that Kingsland should strive to be “as much like college as possible,” so that students would be prepared for that next step after Kingsland.
The Kingsland Board’s next meeting will be a regular meeting on November 16, at 6 p.m.