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Kingsland awarded $65,000 state grant for Project Lead The Way

Fri, Jan 28th, 2011
Posted in Education

The January 17 regular school board meeting for the Kingsland School District had all members, including new members Doug Plaehn, Deb Larson, and Steve Tart, attending. The Kingsland School District was informed during this meeting that they would be the recipients of a $65,000 state grant to begin implementing new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum into both the middle and high schools for the 2011-2012 school year and beyond. The new curriculum will come specifically through Project Lead The Way (PLTW), which is a national education program geared to essentially lay a foundation from which many future engineers and innovators will spring. Informing the board members about what PLTW will do for their school was Jim Mecklenburg, PLTW program director for the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence. It was he who informed the board that they would be receiving the grant.

Mecklenburg commended the board for a thorough and complete application that determined which schools would receive the grant. He then explained, through a PowerPoint presentation, why PLTW is so important. According to statistics Mecklenburg had compiled, Minnesota has a declining work force: specifically 1.3 million jobs, many of which are concentrated in the manufacturing sector. Because of this, Mecklenburg stressed, it is up to schools to lay the groundwork necessary so that an increasing number of students will fill those vacated jobs and create new ones as well. This, he also stressed, will make America a much more competitive manufacturing and innovative power in the world. Mecklenburg also stated that PLTW is not just a school-based and school-run education system; it needs both higher education and business partnerships in order to thrive and effectively meet its potential for the students participating. Mecklenburg again commended Kingsland on securing this opportunity for their district and for possibly starting a trend among schools in the surrounding area.

The Flexible Learning Year (FLY) and committing to an application with other local schools was also discussed at the board meeting. Supt. John McDonald shared that in order to make an informed decision as to whether Kingland should join in on the application, they need public input. Meetings were set for Jan. 27 at Kingsland High School, Jan. 31 at the Kingsland Middle School cafeteria in Wykoff, and on Feb. 17 at the Kingsland High School District Conference Room. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. McDonald also said that an online information video will be able to be accessed on the school's website. A final decision concerning the addition of Kingsland schools to the state Dept. of Ed. application for a FLY will be made at the March board meeting.

Principal Hecimovich informed the board of action in the future concerning All Day, Every Day Kindergarten. He informed the board that the social and educational benefits that would come with the implementation of such a change in kindergarten structure would far exceed any cost that will be determined to the district. He also informed the board of course registration for all students that would take place in March. The reason for bumping registration up much earlier than usual is to reduce the amount of problems that had to be solved in a time crunch the previous years.

In other business, the board approved the implementation of the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support Program for 2011-2013 that is being financially supported by the state Department of Education. The establishment of staff leadership teams will set expectations for behavior and bullying prevention. The board also approved the funding for a staff-supervised drop-off only zone in front of the school. A provision was made so that parents who still wish to walk their child to the school can do so by parking by the bell tower and walking from there. Supt. McDonald informed the board that the school has joined the Kiwanis Club and has also received $500 from them for the Scholar S&C Program.

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