At the November 8, 2023, school board meeting, board members, Jill Harstad, David Sowinski, Mark Johnsrud, Katie Priebe, Josh Thompson and Tom Keefe were present as well as Superintendent Ed Harris, principals, Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson, Rinnea Kreter, administrative assistant and Trista O’Connor, business manager. Student senate members Aspen McBroom and Carly Backen were also present.
The Student Senate members reported that there has been a lull of activity since Homecoming but they have been working on improving the dance attendance for next year. They will be selling candy canes at Christmas time for a fundraiser.
Principal McBroom stated they will be having a Veterans Day assembly on Friday November 10. Veterans and Auxiliary members will be present and will include the presentation of the colors, songs, Patriot’s Pen Essays, Cub Scouts and Retreating of the Colors. Halloween was an exciting time for kids and staff as the theme was “Super Heroes,” in support of a student who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, the parade had to be held inside “as it snowed on their parade!” The PLC (Personal Learning Community) Leadership Team has set school wide goals for the 2024 MCA scores. There was a little dip in scores in 2023 and even though Chatfield Elementary continues to achieve at a level much higher than the state average in all areas they are working to improve these scores.
High school principal Eric Nelson gave a slide presentation on the Redefining Ready project that was originally research coming from the National Superintendents’ Association. This research sought alternative ways to determine if students are career-ready, college-ready or both. Data from JMC, student information system provider, and 5Lab that provides data mining software to create profiles for each of the 9-12 grade students was used. The profile will be a tool that can help counsel students and find out what their needs are. The profiles show college-ready academic indicators like a GPA of 2.8 out of 4.0, AP courses with grade of A, B or C, dual credit college English and/or Math and Algebra II with a grade of A, B or C. The research also indicated that students that satisfy two of the following characteristics are prepared for a career upon graduation:
• 90% attendance in ninth grade
• 25 hours of community service
• Workplace learning experience
• Industry credential; CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)
• Dual credit college course in a career pathway with an A, B, or C grade
• Participation in two or more organized extra or co-curricular activities
Nelson stated that staff has spent a considerable amount of time on this project but the benefit for students will be great.
Superintendent Harris reported on the third Facility Meeting held before the school board meeting. He feels there was a consensus of the group and that the next step is to survey the community for their input.
Under consent items the board approved:
• Minutes of the October 11 meeting
• New hires: Hannah Oehlke, health aide; Chris Heppding, weight room supervisor
• Resignations: Todd Johnson, high school business; Jerry Chase, head softball coach
• Job postings: Head softball coach
Under action items, the board voted 4-2 to use the MSBA wording for District Policy 504 Student Appearance with the dissenting votes from Priebe and Sovinski. School board member Dave Sovinski had offered up a revised version of part of this policy stating that the original one supported only protected groups and not everyone. When Principal Nelson was asked his opinion, he stated the revised version would make other policies harder to enforce and if one looked at the one section that delineated each item with semicolons in the original version; it makes sense. He stated, “Punctuation matters.” The board also approved the principals’ contracts with a 3% increase for each year of the two years of the contract. Board member Tom Keefe reiterated, “We want to keep our principals because they are doing a great job.”
The meeting adjourned. The next school board meeting will be on December 13 in the high school Forum room at 7 p.m.