In keeping with his promise nearly a year ago, Lanesboro Superintendent Matt Schultz continues to reference the school’s strategic plan as he reports to the school board at their monthly meetings. At the October 11 meeting, Schultz shared many details of how the school is working to follow the plan.
Schultz informed the board that the school is using MTSS (multi-tiered system of support) in qualifying students for special education. In the past, performance on standardized tests such as IQ tests were compared to actual student classroom achievement. If discrepancies were found, students were placed in SPED programs. The new approach includes a larger team of general education teachers and the school psychologist.
Educational opportunities offered by Lanesboro include the Fillmore County Resources Guide posted on the school website. To ensure access by all to school communication and remove barriers, the school website allows screen readers which describe the pictures posted to the school website.
Schulz shared that he now has control of the online school Google calendar. Now the calendar pulls from the Our School calendar at once and updates automatically. Communication with the community thus has become better.
In order to offer more training for staff, the high school will once again be hosting the Small School Teaching Conference the Wednesday of MEA break. The keynote speaker will be professional speaker and coach John Crudele who will present a personalized inspirational message to the teachers. The closing speaker will be Jenny Maras, the 2022 winner of the MREA Educator of Excellence award as well as the National Rural Educator of Excellence
Breakout sessions will include topics such as using artificial intelligence by teachers, number talks (a session on the use of mental math), MTSS differential discipline, and teaching reading classes. Included will be sessions specifically focusing on paraprofessional training. The popular best practice session will have teachers once again sharing lessons.
This year 75 teachers are expected to attend; this includes 15 to 20 teachers from other districts.
HVED Building Update
Chairman Christine Troendle reported that all 12 of schools in HVED (Hiawatha Valley Education District) have now agreed to the joint powers agreement; this allows HVED to move forward with the proposed purchase of the Winona Mall. Troendle commented, “It’s an exciting thing and will be good for the students in the area!”
The final purchase price is 4.2 million; the total project cost including building purchase and remodeling will not exceed 15 million. Remodeling needs to include appropriate materials and smaller rooms suitable for setting four students’ use. The recently remodeled office space will be used as is. Schultz shared that because he feels strongly that it’s important to remodel to best suit HVED’s needs he has volunteered to be a member of the building committee.
Schultz explained the formula used to determine each school’s share of the cost. Twenty percent of the total cost will be split equally among the schools while 80% of the cost will be based on pupil units in each school. Since Lanesboro is a small school, their share will be less. Lanesboro District’s share of the building will be $73,664.21 yearly for 15 years. Schultz pointed out that this is less than the $100,000 expense that would be incurred by the district if they were not part of HVED and needed to place a student in a level 4 setting at another facility.
The increase will not be on this year’s tax rolls. A few examples of the tax increase were given: a $300,000 home will see a rise in taxes of $48 per year for the next 15 years; $8,000 an acre ag homestead land will have a tax increase of 68 cents an acre. More details of the increase will be shared later.
In regular business, the board:
•Declared October as Farm-to-School month; Lanesboro received a $10,000 Farm-to-School grant last year to purchase food locally;
•Approved an application for the MSHSL Foundation Grant to offset student activities fees.
The next regular meeting of Lanesboro Schools will be November 8 at 7 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is provided at the beginning of the meeting.