The Chatfield School Board met on November 20, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the high school media center. Board members Jerry Chase, Lanny Isensee, Scott Backer, and Amy Jeffers were present along with Superintendent Harris, administrative assistant, Lorri Lowrey; business manager, Karyl Lyons and technology integration specialist, Kristi Cook. Board members Katie Priebe and Matt McMahon were not in attendance. Later on in the meeting two student senate members, Ali Hinckley and Stephanie Bradt joined the meeting.
Board member Lanny Isensee had just come from the Joint Powers meeting and reported that they had been discussing CCTV and the swimming pool. He said there would be a follow up meeting on December 4. Student council representatives Ali Hinckley and Stephanie Bradt talked about the changes made to this year’s homecoming celebration. Students seemed to like the changes and more students were involved in the activities.
Elementary teachers, Jodie Daniels and Joleen Dornack, gave an update on Gopher Time. Gopher Time was implemented this year to help create connections through challenges, collaboration and communication among students. Each week grades K-3 and 4-6 meet with a staff member in multi-grade level teams that address bullying, teamwork, inclusion, diversity and positive behavior. They work around the mantra of being Respectful, Responsible and Safe. Both teachers feel the program has been well received by the staff and students, but will do more follow-up surveys as the year progresses.
Flex Star teacher Jessica Hanson along with Ryan Eppen, program assistant, reported on the new program’s progress to date. The Flex Star program was started this year to alleviate large class sizes in seventh grade. Sixteen students are enrolled in this non-traditional, cross curricular endeavor that involves all the core classes but in a different format. Student responses to the new program have been very positive. They have taken field trips to the POET bio-refinery plant and the Lanesboro Arts Center. In December, students will take another field trip relating to history and English and the staff will attend a virtual reality training.
Kristi Cook, technology integration specialist, discussed the implementation of full-size iPads for grades 4-7 and the new technology in the high school. She has given two in-service trainings in the high school and will continue to assist teachers there as needed. Another area that she has been working on with grades 4-12 is implementing the Schoology curriculum and getting parents involved with this program. In third grade she has been teaching digital citizenship lessons that address cyberbullying and other digital issues.
Elementary principal, Craig Ihrke, reported that in November the elementary students honored veterans with a program, Judge Joe Chase talked to third graders about the history of Veterans Day, and the Lions Club gave them dictionaries and rulers. He also reported that grades 4-6 will have a holiday concert and Grandfriends’ Day on December 7, 2017, with coffee and refreshments at 9 a.m. and the concert matinee at 9:45 a.m.
Randy Paulson, high school principal, congratulated the students who presented the fall plays this past weekend and their director Rachel Schieffelbein. Student Larissa Martin directed one of the three plays and Zach Clement wrote one of them. He also thanked the bands and choir for another successful Veterans Day Concert.
Superintendent Ed Harris reported that since the new pool had been approved by voters, the Facilities Committee needs to meet to discuss preparation of the sight. The new family bathroom that was required by code should be ready sometime in December. This will replace two smaller bathrooms by the main office. He also discussed the progress of projects in the gym that are being done now or will be done this summer. On November 15, 15 staff members received training in CPR-First Aid Training from Sue Kester. Twenty-three staff members in the district now have current training.
Under consent items, the board approved the minutes of the last meeting; accepted the resignation of elementary paraprofessional Stephanie Mensink; approved the posting for an elementary paraprofessional; approved the hires of grade 7 girls basketball coach, Ryan Kivimagi; one-act play advisor, Rachel Scheiffelbein; and assistant speech coach, Stephanie Copeman. Under the annual review of district policies the 506 Student Discipline (Revised: Section 8; items c-k) was approved along with the second reading of district policies 515 and 515 FRM. The first reading of district policies was introduced and will be approved or amended at the next meeting.
The district audit for 2016-2017 by the accounting firm of Smith Schafer and Associates was an additional item added to the meeting agenda. Auditor Jason Boynton was present to give a financial summary to the board. His summary stated that the general fund revenues exceeded expenditure by $156,220 for 2017 and the unassigned general fund balance as of June 30/2017 was 27.4% of current expenditures. Both the food service fund and the community service fund exceeded revenues and have a fund balance of $80,532 and $72,422 respectively.
Under new business, the 2016-2017 World’s Best Workforce Report Summary was given by Superintendent Harris. The elementary continues to make gains in both reading and math and their goal is to reach 90% proficiency in reading by 2025. Their goals were all met in this report. The high school graduation rate for the class of 2016 was 98.7%. One area the high school will be working on for the next year is increasing proficiency in reading in special education by adding additional staffing in special education and reading.
Also under new business, the board approved the non-certified contracts of Community Education Director Luann Klevan; Valleyland Director Sue Tangen; Data System Assistant Barb Sass; Business Manager Karyl Lyon; and Technology Director Damon Lueck.
On the upcoming calendar of events; Thanksgiving Break will be November 22-24 and December 1 is the end of trimester one for grades K-8. The next school board meeting will be on December 18 at 7 p.m. in the high school media center.