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Lanesboro School Board prepares for next year

Fri, Mar 19th, 2010
Posted in Education

The Lanesboro School Board met for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 18, 2010. All members but one were present. Topics discussed included the school calendar for the 2010-2011 school year, a recent special education conference attended by high school teacher Jim Gladis, and district events.

Elementary principal James Semmen presented the board with a tentative school calendar for the 2010-2011 school year. Due to another late Labor Day, school will start on September 7, 2010 and run until June 3, 2011, subject to change. Semmen noted that in meeting with the teachers, two calendars were presented, the one given to the board and a alternative one with longer breaks built in. At the teachers' suggestion, Semmen offered the shorter calendar to the board, noting that although both calendars contained the same number of student school days, briefer breaks allowed the last day of school to be moved up six days, from June 9 to June 3. When board member Linda Sifford asked about moving the start of school before Labor Day, superintendent Jeff Boggs responded that the district would try it "in a heartbeat" but for the state's intervention. Semmen also pointed out a potential change in parent-teacher conference schedules for next school year. Instead of having conferences spread over two days with different conference times on each day, including one day of afternoon conferences on which the students are released early, the schedule would alter to have two full student days, with conference time limited to the evenings. Boggs and Semmen noted their intention to further discuss the idea before asking the board to make a decision. On this note, the calendar was tabled until next month's board meeting.

High school special education teacher Jim Gladis also attended the meeting to discuss a recent conference he attended at Winona State University. Gladis began by thanking the board for giving him the opportunity to attend, noting that the gathering was not state or district related but was organized by educators. Rick Lavoie, whom Gladis called an "enthusiastic speaker," presented the keynote address. Lavoie's message centered around promoting special education students to a level where they require continued special ed training. This approach largely includes early intervention, general education classroom integration of special ed students, and encouraging students to focus on the things they do well and what they can learn. Gladis also pointed out that Lavoie's model works well with the PBIS curriculum introduced to Lanesboro students this year, which focuses on rewarding students for good behavior and taking a proactive approach to desired outcomes. Semmen added that Lanesboro teachers use what is called "differentiated instruction," in which classrooms are split up into smaller groups for more individualized instruction focused on the similar needs of the students in each group. This method allows different students to receive more help and challenge at their levels of understanding in a subject. After more discussion, Gladis again thanked the board for allowing him to attend the conference, which he felt was very beneficial.

Finally, the board noted several recent and upcoming district events. Board member Sara Decker, speaking as a district patron, expressed how pleased she was with the elementary reading week held recently, congratulating the school staff on doing a good job. Superintendent Boggs reminded the board of the upcoming scholarship banquet, which will be held at Eagle Bluff on April 25 at 6 o'clock in the evening. Seniors will receive recognition and community scholarships. A Lanesboro alumni typically serves as the evening's speaker. Last, the board approved early release at 11:32 a.m. on the last day of school this year, June 4.

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