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Houston Robotics Team presents their trip to World Championship in St. Louis

By Angie Rodenburg

Fri, May 9th, 2014
Posted in All Education

The Houston School Board had a very busy meeting on May 6. In attendance was the Houston Robotics Team that told the board about their trip to the World Championship in St. Louis. Team members Lilli Carlson and Evan Heintz said that even though they did not receive an award at the World Championship, they did have a lot of fun. They also informed the school board of the fundraising plans the team has for the summer. The students have already done a tremendous job of garnering community support for the program, as they were able to get 65 sponsors to fund their trip to St. Louis in only a matter of two weeks. The team plans on continuing to rally community support to ensure that the program has the budget they need to participate in the years to come.

The team will be required to build an entirely new robot next year and the team plans on converting the robot they used this year into a t-shirt shooter for the summer parades. The school board congratulated the team once more on their tremendous achievement of making it to the World Championships in their first year.

Principal Todd Lundberg also brought a request to the board to hire a Robotics coach and grant the team a budget of $1,000. The team was coached by volunteers this past season, however, Robotics coaching is a time consuming job that volunteers cannot be expected to fulfill. Principal Lundberg also noted that a $1,000 is very minimal for the program and estimated that the yearly budget will be between $8,000- $15,000. The majority of the budget will be acquired by fundraising,which is a key component to the program. The school board will vote on the proposal at the next school board meeting.

At the meeting Jason Ludwigson, who works with Technology Integration at the school, presented a project proposal on behalf of Martin Momsen, Houston High School science teacher, and himself to restore a prairie ecosystem. The plan is to restore the prairie system by reestablishing a native prairie on the grounds of Houston High School that students in Momsen’s Environmental Science class could maintain and study.

Ludwigson and Momsen had a few locations in mind to reestablish the prairie ecosystem. A few suggested locations were back by the old volleyball court, in the front of the school, and along the pond by the football field. The school board voiced concern about tall grass areas being a fire hazard and asked that Ludwigson and Momsen talk with the Fire Chief and Facilities Department before the board votes on the matter. Board member Bonner ended the discussion saying, “The educational value [of the project] is amazing.”

Principal Lundberg also presented a request to the board to have Houston High School produce a musical of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” for the 2014-2015 school year. The last musical that Houston High School produced was “The Sound of Music” in 2008. The proposal included a request for $5,669.50 to cover the director and music director salaries, royalty fees, and supplies. The board will vote on the proposal at the next school board meeting.

Principal Lundberg also sought board approval for the Junior/Senior trip to Washington D.C. that is scheduled for November 29-December 5, 2014. The board will vote on the proposal at the next school board meeting.

At the meeting, the board voted on and approved to house two owl statutes that will be provided by the Legacy Grant given by SELCO. The grant is for owl six statues that will be spread throughout the town. The pieces will be an artistic interpretation of six owl species found in the Houston area.

The board also approved Houston’s membership in the Minnesota State High School League and approved Q Comp to continue as the Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System for Houston Public Schools.

The board also took a look at the first draft of the superintendent contract for Krin Abraham, who accepted the position. The contract, once finalized and signed, will be tentative until Abraham’s superintendent licensure is complete.

The meeting came to a close with board member Bonner saying on the board’s behalf, “We want to thank our teachers for the great work they do.”

The next Houston School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20 at the Houston High School Library.

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