Superintendent Gary Kuphal came on board in August and has been busy laying the groundwork for the future of School District #238. At the November Mabel-Canton School Board meeting, Kuphal said, “I believe that one of the reasons I was hired was to get policies, plans and goals in place so everyone knows where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.”
Kuphal has met with mayors of both Mabel and Canton to explore ways the city councils can possibly work together. “The greater the enrollment, the more revenue that comes in,” Kuphal said. “There may be things we can do to support each other. Can we make things more efficient if we collaborate on certain items to reach our goals?” Both mayors thought it was a good conversation and will bring it to their councils for further discussion.
Kuphal has also begun work on a number of initiatives, including a facility needs plan. He, along with a small group of staff, did a walk through the interior and exterior of the school. They came up with 40 items, big and small, that need addressing. The next step is to get input from teachers and staff on these concerns and cost estimates. Kuphal proposed forming a small committee to create a plan for addressing the issues.
A team of teachers, staff and administrators have been meeting with Kuphal on developing the “World’s Best Workforce” that focuses on district and school achievement goals. The five areas are: Ready for Kindergarten, Achieving 3rd Grade Literacy, Closing the Achievement Gap, College Readiness and Graduation Rate.
In addition to this initiative, Kuphal added several other policies and plans to his workplan to help guide the direction for the district. These include developing plans for technology, crisis management, staff development and evaluation, and ultimately a strategic plan with goals and strategies for achieving them.
Kuphal replaced Jennifer Backer who resigned after a four-year stint with M-C. Kuphal came out of retirement to take the position. He served as superintendent of Plainview-Elgin-Millville and LeRoy-Ostrander and Southland School Districts.
There are two new student school board representatives, Maddison Michels and Drew Wyffels. Michels gave a report on the leadership conference she attended in Rochester. The other students that attended the day-long conference were Blake Henry, Hannah Snell, Lexi Thorson, Anna Erickson, Hannah Schneekloth and Victoria Wangen. These students were recognized by staff as leaders and nominated to attend.
Principal Michelle Weidemann said the fall sports banquet was a huge success with more people attending than ever before. Other recent events included Title I Night and the Veterans Day program. Weidemann also reported on an interesting partnership with the Heritage Center in Spring Grove that the sixth grade class is participating in this year. Every Wednesday, the students will be learning about Minnesota and working on their own family immigration stories. In January, the students will present their projects at the Spring Grove Cinema.
In other business
• The board approved the hiring of Lonnie Morken and Laura Vatland for co-girls C-team basketball coaches and Paul Tollefsrud as the boys B-team basketball coach. Kati Bergey was hired as Math Wizards advisor and Dan Tweten as long-term sub paraprofessional for Tanya Kidder.
• The school board voted for new members to Southeast Cooperative Board of Directors. Jason Marquardt was on the ballot for a 4-year term and the results will be announced next month.
• The board approved the hiring of Karl Vang of Mabel to provide snow removal for 2017-18 at a cost of $60 per hour.
• Donations were accepted from the Mabel Lions Club for $200 for basketball banners, the M-C Booster Club gave $178 for the volleyball pep band/fan bus, and the American Legion Post 299 gave $250 for athletic banners.
• Board members Chris Miller, Diane Wilder and Liz Hershberger volunteered to attend the school board trainings in January.
• The Truth in Taxation presentation and M-C School Board Meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 19 in the School Library at 6 p.m.