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Science projects presented to Chatfield School Board


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in Chatfield Education

The Chatfield School Board members had an opportunity to enjoy the work of two of the district’s students firsthand at their most recent meeting on April 21, 2014. Matthew Dietz and Justin Friedrich were present at the meeting to present two of their science projects that they have been working on for the duration of the school year.

Dietz has been monitoring the process of effective cell density and growth for the past several months while Friedrich did a study on cardiovascular conditioning in relation to Chatfield’s athletes. These two projects are part of the science fair project that is held every year in February. The opportunity is open to anyone in grades 6-12, though Chatfield science instructor Nora Gathje usually focuses on two seniors each year to participate in the competition.

Both Dietz and Friedrich had to put in 60 hours of lab-style research, complete a 20-page research paper, and compose and deliver a presentation. Also, there was the tri-fold board component of the competition. Friedrich commented on the experiment and research, stating, “I wanted to do this on something that really interests me.” Superintendent Steve Harris said, “These are two tremendous examples of educational dedication.” Both Dietz and Friedrich are looking forward to careers in the health sciences field. Both will also be attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.

LuAnn Klevan, Community Education Director, delivered a brief report focusing on the summer recreational program. The summer rec program is making some major changes with new activities. Though staff has not been hired yet, this will depend on the number of anticipated participants. Klevan also reported that 2/3 of the spots for preschool in the fall have been filled as the registration process is taking place.

Superintendent Ed Harris has been working on refocusing some of the district’s goals including the principal and teacher evaluation process, the technology (1 to 1 project), support and evaluation of coaches. In 2014-2015 Harris stated that he hopes the district will be able to successfully implement the teacher evaluation system, continue to work on meeting student achievement assessment targets, and complete and monitor the implementation of the World’s Best Workforce plan.

Superintendent Harris reported that the final edition of the Gopher Gazette for the year will be for May/June before the publication primarily moves to a digital form. On May 1 Harris will attend the MASA Region 1 Spring Conference that will include information on DMC with speaker Jerry Williams, recently passed bullying legislation, and teacher evaluations. Also, the Rochester Area Math & Science Partnership forum took place April 22 at Lourdes High School. To conclude, Harris extended thank you’s to Tonia Hareldson and Jessica Bester for their service with the district.

Elementary principal Craig Ihrke reported the preliminary results from this year’s MCA reading and math tests. Scores were available significantly earlier this year due to online testing, though individual reports on each child will not be available until the fall since not all districts opt to use the online version of the testing. “We made a bigger deal out of the testing this year. We spread it out a little bit,” stated Ihrke. The district did see a notable amount of growth, especially in reading.

Ihrke presented figures on the latest Reading Blitz, reporting that 90 percent of students are on track to reach 800 steps (equivalent to 200 hours of reading) for this school year. School-based data for 2013-2014 shows that only 4.2 percent of students are in the emergency reading bracket, 11.3 percent in the at-risk category, and 84.5 percent reading at a proficient level.

The following consent agenda items were approved:

•March 17, 2014 board meeting minutes

•Senior citizen/staff passes for the 2014-2015 school year

•Integration Plan 2015

•Resignation of 8th grade volleyball coach Paige Peterson

•Posting of 8th grade volleyball coach position

• Renew Minnesota State High School League membership

•Resignation of elementary custodian Tonia Hareldson

•Posting of elementary custodial position.

•Root River State Bank collateral agreement

In new business the board passed a resolution relating to the nonrenewal of the teaching contract of probationary teacher Jessica Bester. Updates to the elementary and high school student handbooks were approved revolving around food service procedures in both buildings. The board also considered winter coaches for the 2014-2015 school year.

Before adjourning the board noted that May 19 would be the next regular school board meeting, May 26 there would be no school for Memorial Day, May 30 is the end of the fourth quarter with an early out for a staff development day, and graduation is set for June 1 at 1:30 p.m.

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