At their regular September meeting September 18, the Rushford-Peterson School Board heard the usual reports from Superintendent Ben Bernard as well as middle school/high school Principal Jake Timm and elementary Principal Angela Shepard. At each meeting, the R-P administration shares activities and events in the school so the board knows what is happening at R-P. Shepard and her elementary staff included pictures as well so the board could see the excitement of the first days of school. The kindergartners were busy learning all the procedures of the classroom. Big hits with them were storytime at the library with Mrs. Wick and milk/snack break. They quickly and proudly learned the new routines of lunch including dumping their lunch trays. This year, an October 4 field trip to the apple orchard is in the works for the kindergarten as well.
STEM activities, Save FRED, and paper chains grabbed the attention of Jon Theuer and Meredith Johnson’s fourth graders as they practiced working in teams and problem solving.
Elizabeth Landherr added new seating cushions courtesy of a PIE (Partners in Education) grant and lots of new musical instruments courtesy of donations from the community at elementary concerts. Her students are enthusiastic to play all the new instruments.
Social worker Kelly Smith shared pictures of the new sensory path at the elementary. As students follow the series of guided movements marked on the path, they work off excess energy and develop gross motor skills.
These are just a few highlights of the information shared with the board by the elementary staff. Through such reports the board keeps connected with what’s happening throughout the school.
Dr. Bernard also makes a point to keep the board informed. He reported that attendance changes the past few years have been positive; he noted that he looks ahead three or four years to ensure there are no surprises. According to Bernard, R-P usually sees an increase in sixth grade enrollment each year as students from area schools that only serve up to fifth grade transfer to R-P.
Bernard shared that recently a family decided to come to R-P because of the preK program and the wrap-around childcare services availability.
Work has been done on the area around the concession stand and on the waterway by the practice football field. Black dirt was used to fill in erosion spots and it has been reseeded.
Bernard shared that the Strategic Planning Committee continues to meet. Prior to the board meeting, the committee reviewed the recent survey results and worked on the initial draft of focus areas and goals. On October 4 at 6 p.m; they will have a work session on focus areas, goals, and mission vision. On October 16 at 5 p.m. they will also have a work session on the same topics. November 15 they will meet from 6-8 p.m. to complete the strategic plan. These sessions are open to the public to listen or give input.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the certification of the levy for 2023-2024 and set the levy at the maximum, knowing they can reduce it at a later date if suitable;
• Accepted a donation of $9,000 from the R-P Booster Club for a timing system for track events and an anonymous $500 donation for student Chromebook fees;
• Discussed raising the per day pay for substitute teachers; with only four subs currently available, the board decided to raise daily sub pay to $135 per day, hoping to be able to attract more subs. Long-term subs fall under the teacher contract and are paid at a higher rate. With only four subs available currently, the school sometimes struggles to cover absences with middle school and high school teachers needing to cover classes during their prep periods.
The next regular meeting of the Rushford-Peterson School Board will be October 16 at 6 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is provided at the beginning of each meeting.