At their regular February meeting, the Rushford-Peterson School Board was reminded that there will be a community meeting March 8, from 5:30-7 p.m., in R-P’s auditorium on the proposed trail extension project. The project is a collaborative effort of the city of Rushford and R-P Schools. There will be a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting followed by time for public questions and comments about the project.
The trail extension would consist of a concrete walk from the northern end of Prairie Street with an asphalt trail between the athletic fields and the backyards of homes on Eiken Drive. This trail would complete a traffic-free walking loop to R-P Schools. People unable to attend the meeting are encouraged to contact Derek Olinger, city engineer with any questions. Information will be posted on the city’s website as well.
Superintendent Ben Bernard shared that the school has completed the Notice of Intent; School Readiness Assessment for the Solar for Schools Program. If this step is approved, the school will be able to apply for a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The school is hoping to install a 40 kW system that could potentially save 5% to 8% of its electric bill.
Bernard informed the board that, due to the effort of the Trojan Armory Advisors, the high school and middle school students will now have access to two microwaves in the commons before and after school and at lunches. Better electrical service was needed to accommodate the microwaves; they will be safely stored away during public events at the school.
Seeking ways to interact with students, Bernard has been visiting classrooms and participating in the lessons; he enthused that it’s a great way to build relationships with the students and plans to continue to be out and about in the school.
Elementary principal Angela Shepard reported on a very successful Kindness Month, sponsored by the MS-HS Student Ambassadors. In one week, the elementary school raised a whopping $1,600 in coins in the Coins 4 Kindness Challenge. Students thoroughly enjoyed dress-up days, reading books, an escape room, and team building activities.
A Kindness Tree was displayed at the school with hearts detailing the kindness of the students added. What began as a single tree, soon became an additional tree as well as even more bushes of kindness. Currently, classrooms are involved in a mystery week acting as secret kindness agents to other “secret” classrooms.
In other business the board:
• Heard a summary of HVED’s structure and services from Deb Marcotte, executive director; Marcotte encouraged parents of special education students to join HVED’s SEAC (Special Education Advisory Council);
• Approved the 2023–2024 school year calendar with a student start date of September 5 and a last day of May 30;
• Approved the March 25–31 senior Florida trip;
• Hired Alex Smothers and Steve Lea as JV baseball coaches, Mariann Metz as paraprofessional, and Thomas Feine as van driver;
• Accepted resignations from Alex Smothers as middle school social studies teacher for 2023–2024 and from dance coaches Tiffany Doehling and Leandra Duneman;
• Approved a resolution supporting a grant application to MSHSL to purchase additional AEDs to be used at the athletic fields;
• Discussed policies on weapons; it was clarified that people with concealed carry permits are to leave those weapons in their vehicles — only police and servicemen may carry weapons;
• Discussed policies on search of students’ personal items; the policy allows some discretion on such searches, but the school has to have a reason before a search takes place;
• Approved the COVID-19 Safe Learning Plan with no changes from the previous one; this plan is required for the next year yet;
• Set the June board meeting for Tuesday, June 20.
The next R-P school board meeting will be March 20 at 6 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is included at the beginning of each meeting.