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R-P's test scores rise in reading and math

Fri, Jul 25th, 2008
Posted in Education

The Rushford-Peterson district made "notable improvement" in its pass rate in both reading and math scores on this year's MCA II tests, according to a report from the Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED).

The report was presented by superintendent Chuck Ehler at last Monday's regular meeting of the R-P school board.

"I congratulate our students, parents, and staff for working together to obtain these positive results," Ehler said. "This is an extremely positive reflection on our school district."

The report, prepared by Dan Hyson, showed that while R-P scores in the past three years have hovered just at or below the state average, the scores for 2007-2008 jumped out ahead of the state average in both reading and math.

The state average remained relatively stable during that same period.

The report also compared the district to eleven other districts of comparable size (625-675 students) and found that R-P "also showed notable improvement from 2006 to 2008 in the percent of students passing the MCA-II in both reading and math when compared to districts of like size."

Only one other HVED district in the comparison, Wabasha-Kellogg, continues to show a slightly higher pass percent than R-P.

District scores in the area of Special Education did not have the same rise during that period and generally remain slightly below the state average.

"I do have some concerns in regard to our special education scores, and we began taking some corrective measures last spring," according to Ehler.

New Hires

The board approved a group of new additions to the faculty. Most recently hired were Shannon Kopperud for the additional section of 4th grade, and Dave Lind for 6th grade-both are area residents with long term connections to the district.

Also hired were Scott Hanson for K-12 art, previously teaching in the Kingsland and LeRoy-Ostrander districts, and Dawn Wilson Lubahn for agriculture, a 2006 graduate of University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Jason Dahl has accepted a one-year position as head boys' basketball coach in the absence of Tom Vix who requested one year's leave. Dahl has taught 5th grade in the district for one year.

Chris Drinkall, a 2000 graduate of R-P and a stand-out athlete, has accepted the position of assistant boy's coach.

In a related issue, the board agreed to a Memo Of Understanding between the district and the faculty association to allow retiring 6th grade teacher Chuck Poppe to receive a severance package of approximately $8,500 to be put into a medical insurance account.

At last month's meeting, the board accepted Poppe's resignation but without awarding the severance pay. Poppe had missed the deadline for the original MOU in which the severance had already been given to three teachers-the maximum established by the board.

Ehler brought forth this new MOU, which won unanimous approval.

Land Rental

For the third meeting in a row, the board discussed the issue of whether the school will agree to rent a small square of land behind the Tim and Karen Wilkemeyer residence for use by their daycare.

The issue was finally resolved in the Wilkemeyer's favor and they'll be allowed to sign a one-year rental agreement .

A motion by Dan Munson last month led to the formation of a board subcommittee who worked with the district attorney to establish a policy for land rental and a model agreement.

The policy states that the district shall have the authority to rent school-owned property if the property is not currently needed for educational purposes, and if the proposed use is in the best interest of the district.

Munson pointed out a stipulation he thought was particularly useful, that said the district "shall not lease any District property for uses that would be inconsistent with the District's education mission."

"What is our mission?" Greg Smith asked.

"Lifelong learning for all," Munson replied.

Munson was in support of leasing to the Wilkemeyers for the purpose of giving their daycare children a place to play that is away from the busy street.

"I think it's consistent with our district's mission," Munson commented.

Eric Thompson still had some concerns with what type of fencing would be used to protect the children. The agreement does not stipulate a type of fence.

Roger Metz seconded Munson's motion in favor of the agreement. The motion passed with Greg Smith casting the one dissenting vote.


According to district secretary Karen Thompson, the percentage of district students eligible for free or reduced lunch rose from 37% to over 60% following last year's flood.

The increase made the current summer breakfast and lunch program possible for the district, where all children through age 18 can receive a free hot breakfast and lunch.

Ehler said the program is averaging 75 students for breakfast and 135 for lunch each day. Ehler thanked Thompson and Joyce Miller for receiving the grant, developing the program, and keeping "everything in compliance."

The board approved an increase in prices for the school's food program, effective this fall. Ehler reports that the increase will bring the district in line with area district prices.

Lunch for elementary students will increase from $1.60 to 1.75, and middle school/high school will increase to 1.85. Adult prices will go from 3.00 to 3.25.

The increases will not affect students eligible for free or reduced lunch.

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