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Lanesboro School Board seeks levy increase


Fri, Sep 17th, 2010
Posted in Education



At the Lanesboro School Board meeting on September 16, the board approved a preliminary levy of $526,527.75, which is a 3.9 percent increase from last year. Superintendent Jeff Boggs explained this is only a preliminary number, and they have until December to make any changes.

Also during the meeting, board members were given an opportunity to see first-hand how the Smart Boards work in the classroom. Third grade teacher Brett Klaehn demonstrated how he uses the one in his room to help kids get involved with learning.

Klaehn said the Smart Board is kind of like a big computer, but a lot more convenient than taking a classroom full of kids to the computer lab. He uses his for a large part of his day, and said his goal is to use it most of the time.

"The power button for the remote is like a power button for their brains," said Klaehn.

He said the Smart Board, which is connected to a computer, allows for him to access the internet at any time and find games and activities for the kids. It is completely interactive, as the kids get up out of their seats and take turns using it.

Klaehn uses his Smart Board for math more than any other subject. He said the kids really enjoy participating in it, and they get a lot more out of it than they would otherwise.

"The kids get to come up here and do this, and it adds interest to their day," he said.

He demonstrated how he uses the board for his lessons, worksheets, review games of Jeopardy, the Saxon Math curriculum, science, a virtual solar system, language arts, and even virtual dissection.

"It provides them instant feedback," said Klaehn. "You see how much the kids love it and it makes it worth the time."

He added that he feels it helps some kids be more successful, although it's not a cure-all for everyone. He also has seen kids who are introverted and wouldn't normally participate get enjoyment out of using the Smart Board.

Boggs said they add about one or two new Smart Boards to the building each year. There are currently four in the high school. There are no Smart Boards yet in the kindergarten, fourth or sixth grades. Boggs said it is largely up to teacher preference, but he is seeing more teachers request one for their room.

Principal Report

High school principal Brett Clarke presented the board with his Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Performance. This report was approved by the board, and will be submitted to the state and posted on the school web site.

Clarke spoke about the MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) tests, and how Lanesboro students are doing. He said students in grades 3-8 take the MCA tests. The students in grades 9-11 are required to pass their tests in order to graduate high school.

Freshmen take a writing test, which is necessary to pass. Juniors and seniors take math and science. According to Clarke, there is a portion of those tests which is a graduation requirement, and a portion that is not. He said 50 percents of Lanesboro students pass the math test. The state average has gone from 30 percent to 50 percent, and Lanesboro is moving toward that or above.

Clarke added the elementary students always have strong reading and math scores, with 80 percent of those kids meeting the standards. He believes with the new math curriculum and higher level math classes, the trends will continue.

Clarke also informed the board that two students came up with the idea to have a volleyball tournament for grades 9-12 after coronation during homecoming. They will play volleyball and have pizza and pop that Thursday evening. Clarke said he has received a positive response from staff, some of whom will be playing volleyball as well.

"I think it's an opportunity for us to showcase that bridge between school and community," said Clarke. He added that the community support is always very strong during homecoming week.

Clarke said they will be allowing skits again this year, with strict guidelines. Board member Sara Decker asked if they had a plan in place in case things go in a way that's unexpected.

Clarke said the students that caused problems last year had a pre-approved skit, but they changed it. He has decided to the give students one last shot to make the skits go well.

Other Business

Decker mentioned that she attended a really good Board Retreat in March, and came away with a lot of good ideas. She is happy that many of those ideas are things that the school is already doing or working towards. She also mentioned coming up with a timeline to go with the priority list, which has both long-term and short-term goals for the district.

The board approved changing the October meeting date to Tuesday, October 19. Boggs said when the meeting date falls on the first day of MEA break, they usually change the day to Tuesday.

Chairman Dave Ruen welcomed Rich Horihan to the board as he fills the empty space until the end of the year. Horihan was a board member at one time.

Boggs announced the school district has received a donation from ACE for $2,300. He said they apply for a grant every year and have received them before.

The board approved several personnel contracts.

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