At the regular Rushford-Peterson School Board meeting October 16, the board explored their options for snow removal on the school grounds. Last year, the school rented a skid loader from Hammell Equipment and hired a person to operate the machine. This year, Superintendent Dr. Ben Bernard suggested asking for bids as well in order to compare the costs.
Bernard called the bid “very good” and said it was comparable in cost, but added that by renting the equipment and hiring a driver, the skid loader could be used for other purposes at the school as well. Ultimately, the board decided to continue hiring an operator and renting a skid loader with a cost of $5,000 for an annual contract.
Dr. Bernard shared enrollment statistics with the board and intends to continue to report these numbers regularly. Enrollment at R-P is currently at 632 students, which is up nine students from 2022-2023. The 9th-12th grade classes have enrollments of 63, 61, 55, and 46. Kindergarten has 53 students, but the 1st-3rd grade classes are at 39, 40, and 40.
Bernard pointed out that in the next few years as the upperclassmen graduate, enrollment at the school may go down. Bernard feels the board needs to pay attention to the numbers in order to make good budgetary decisions. Incoming kindergarten numbers in the next few years will obviously affect the direction of the school.
Colby Lind’s Ag Construction class was thanked for their work on the press box at the track. Putting their skills to good use, the class has painted the walls and floors, updated the lighting fixtures with new LED lights, and installed trim and new countertops.
Dr. Bernard shared an update on the work of the strategic plan committee. On October 4, they worked on their collective beliefs, vision, and mission statement. Two more sessions are planned. On October 25, they will have a work session to work on Focus Areas, Goals, and Objectives. Wednesday, November 15, they will finalize the strategic plan content.
Principal Angela Shepard shared that the elementary students totally enjoyed all the homecoming events in which they were able to participate. Shepard’s report contained a plethora of pictures so the board could see and share in the activities going on at the elementary.
The Rushford Fire Department visited the early education classes, the kindergarteners took advantage of a gorgeous day to visit Pine Tree Orchard, and the SPED department shared pictures of their new Wiggle Room Equipment. With access to a crash pad, a trampoline, a pea pod for deep pressure relaxation, and a sensory swing for deep pressure movement, and an exercise bike as well as a calming corner, students can choose what their bodies need for their breaks.
MSHS Principal Jake Timm congratulated the 2023-2024 NHS (National Honor Society) members, New senior inductees include Tyler Betthauser, Tayler Helgemoe, Lauren Honken, Rebecca Magin, Ashlyn Miller and Ryan Prinsen. Junior inductees are Heiden Dahl, Kenna Gudmundson and Addison Thompson.
On October 25, all juniors will be touring WSU, St. Mary’s, and Minnesota State SE to see the available post-secondary options in Winona. Juniors will have the opportunity to take the PSAT October 26.
The CTE team and Career Navigator Mary Anne Smith designed a Junior Job Shadow Program that some juniors are currently involved in. The goal is that all juniors will eventually be in the program with participation potentially required for graduation.
John Loney reported to the board that after consideration of a possible collaboration with Houston, the dance team will remain LA/RP under the coaching of returning head coach Tiffany Doehling.
Loney asked for help for the upcoming winter sports season. For basketball, he needs shot clock operators (a new job this year) as well as scoreboard operators, and officials. He also needs scoreboard operators for wrestling.
Loney thanked the other administrators for their help while he was ill for several weeks. Trojans Lead will be beginning after the MEA break.
The local Three Rivers Conference Leadership Summit held in September was met with rave reviews by students. Requests have been made to have an additional summit or even two yet this year.
The next regular R-P school board meeting will be November 20 at 6 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is available at the beginning of the meeting.