At their regular meeting April 12, the Lanesboro School Board discussed the current attendance/semester test policies of the school. In effect for many years except for a hiatus during the pandemic, the policy requires any student with more than five excused absences per semester to take semester tests in all of their classes. Students with any unexcused absences or who have a C or lower in a class also need to take semester tests. Students with grades higher than a C who have fewer excused absences than five are given the option to skip the tests if they choose. If semester tests are taken, they can only improve their grades.
Sarah Peterson commented that it seems most teachers are in favor of the policy. She felt it keeps kids accountable and helps get the kids to graduation. “It’s consistent.” Peterson opined. She felt it kept parents more accountable as well.
Chairman Christine Troendle agreed, “It tells our kids the world expects you to show up!” Troendle shared that she had attended a session on attendance management at a conference and felt other methods were much more time consuming.
Mark Holmen felt semester tests help prepare students for the mandatory finals in college.Steve Storhoff called it “a great accountability lesson.”
Superintendent Matt Schultz said he wanted to discuss it again with the policy committee before the board takes final action.
Keeping his vow to report on what the school is doing to follow the five-year strategic plan during his board reports, Schultz pointed out exact portions of the plan being followed with each item he mentioned. Schultz shared that examples of students getting experiences were the recent plays elementary students participated in as well as the 12th grade trip to Washington, D.C.
Schultz relayed that administration now had an app to notify them if students were vaping in the bathrooms.
Satisfying the plan to engage and communicate with parents and students, Schultz reported that he had met several times last month with Apptegy representatives who are working on the school’s new app. Once it is ready, there will be a “push out” of information about it to the public.
To help teachers and staff with their professional development, the fall small school conference committee has been planning the next conference. St. Mary’s professors will be presenting two sessions on the science of reading as well as a math session and a mental health session. WSU will host a session on the science of reading as well with a focus on comprehension. College of education students will be invited to attend the conference this year. The conference will be held the Wednesday before MEA break.
Superintendent Schultz is once again working to facilitate bringing health services to Lanesboro and the community. Before Covid, the school had been exploring the possibility as they planned for their building project. At this point, the services would need to be housed elsewhere in the city.
In an effort to improve mental health, the school is hosting a mental health afternoon for students in grades 7-12.
Sports and activities
The board approved a cooperative boys and girls soccer agreement with St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura. This is an option for students to participate in soccer. Transportation to practice and games which are held at St. Charles will be the responsibility of the student athlete and their parents. Students who drive themselves are not allowed to transport other athletes besides siblings. Lanesboro will pay $200 for each participant up to three; from four to eight participants will cost $400 each. A two-year contract was approved and will be revisited at expiration.
The board discussed a contract proposal for 2023-2026 athletic training service agreement. Currently the agreement has the trainer coming to Lanesboro two days a week and covering football games. The proposed renewal rate is $8,736, up from $5,000 in the past. No action will be taken until the final proposal is submitted.
Activities director Bret Klaehn reported that 15 girls went out for the reinstated cheerleading this year. He noted that one-act continues to grow. Four girls traveled to Fillmore Central to participate in dance.
Klaehn shared that the referee shortage continues; cooperation with Three Rivers Conference will hopefully help. Shot clocks for basketball are installed and ready to go for next year.
New to Lanesboro, a MSHL sanctioned activity visual arts group placed second in a competition in La Crosse and will move on to further competition at Madison.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be held May 10 at 7 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend.