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R-P board discusses expanding curriculum

Fri, Jan 19th, 2007
Posted in Education

RUSHFORD - Improving the curriculum was the theme of the R-P school board's monthly meeting.

Of those who responded to a survey sent to the class of 2001, "27% had rated our computer skills preparation as 'poor'," said counselor Jenny Helgemoe in a presentation to the board. Helgemoe conducted the survey at the board's request and also found that graduates cited lack of business courses as another weakness.

2001 graduates stated that the school should offer more electives and possibly offer foreign language beginning at a younger age, rather than 9th grade, when beginning Spanish is offered.

Superintendent Miller said he agreed that it would be ideal to hire a business and technology instructor, but that there simply "are no funds for it now." Miller suggested the board consider that addition down the road.

Helgemoe surmised that more electives might keep the school from losing students to open enrollment, but agreed with Miller that it's difficult to find hard evidence for the exact reasons students open-enroll to other districts.

The meeting had started with an organizational session and the official swearing in of new members Daniel Munson, Greg Smith, and Eric Thompson. John Nitecki was re-elected board chair with Roger Metz accepting the post of Vice Chair. Jim Kitchens agreed to keep his position as treasurer and the absent George Ingram was nominated to retain his clerk post. The board will finalize committee assignments, such as facilities and negotiations, in the near future.

Jim Kitchens said he's asked frequently about the district's use of block scheduling for middle and high school students and asked whether the board could research the success of block scheduling versus the tradition seven period day. "I'm not saying we've got to change-just that it warrants a look."

Nitecki and Metz brought up the issue of all-day/everyday kindergarten possibly being mandated and supported by the state. Miller said that being prepared for that possibility means looking at space issues, and principal Bruce Blixt is currently doing that.

Metz reported on the recent Minnesota School Boards Association convention where he had the chance to meet with legislators and "the Gov" and learned about current issues/trends in education. "Did you know," Metz said, "that people aged 11-18 now spend fifty percent of their time communicating with a thing (iPod, computer, cell phone)?" Metz said he'd have more to contribute from the convention as board committees are formed in areas like technology and facilities.

Other Business

In other business, the board:

• approved a leave request for Marge Blixt;

• approved the hiring of Jim Rislove for assistant varsity baseball coach and Chris Drinkall for 7th & 8th grade coach;

• heard a request from Nitecki to develop the long-term facilities plan that's "been on the docket for a long time". Nitecki asked the group to "think about how to get the word out-how to meet with community groups" because "the direction must come from the district-we need input from the community, otherwise there's very little we seven board members can do alone;" and

• asked Miller to develop a plan for building repairs to be completed next summer. Miller stated that he already knew two priorities would be removing much of the floor tile, due to asbestos abatement, from the elementary school and "sprucing up" the appearance of the front of the high school building.

The February meeting will be on a Tuesday, Feb. 20, due to the President's Day holiday.

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