At the October 12 Chatfield School Board meeting, board members Josh Thompson, Jill Harstad, Lanny Isensee, Katie Priebe and Tom Keefe were present as well as Superintendent Ed Harris, Lorri Lowery, administrative assistant and Principals Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson. Also present were Trista O’Connor, business manager; LuAnn Klevan, Community Education director; and Isaac Erding and Brayden Fretland, Student Senate representatives. Board member Matt McMahon attended remotely.
Board member Thompson reported on the food service meeting with Taher and that improvements have been made in the food offerings. Things are off to a good start and a survey of students and parents will be forthcoming to gauge the success of the improvements.
Director Kleven stated that the preschool classes are going well and there are still a few spots open. Five new staff members, two teachers and three assistants have been added and are doing a great job. LuAnn is collaborating with the Early Childhood staff to write a SMIF (Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation) grant that focuses on social/emotional learning. Valleyland had a good summer and this fall lack of available staff in the morning has limited enrollment. ECFE classes began in September and there are still openings for the 8 a.m. morning classes on Wednesday. This year Early Childhood screening was held in August and again in October and they were extremely successful.
High school principal, Eric Nelson, said the 2022 homecoming was a success and the new Gopher mascot made an appearance at the pep fest. With special education numbers increasing, he recommended that Tom Moody be switched to a .4 FTE special education assignment and Adam Hurley would then fill in at the ALP (Alternative Learning Program) in his place; reducing his paraprofessional time by two hours. Later in the meeting, the board approved this request. This year the PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) are focusing their action research on career and college readiness. Each team will identify a year-long goal for their team. For the first time the paraprofessionals will also be engaging in PLC work aligning their goals to readiness for the students.
Shane McBroom, elementary principal, reported that the elementary students enjoyed participating in homecoming. They had dress up days and their own pep fest. Members of the homecoming royalty visited some of the younger grades and read to them. Officer Landorf has been visiting on Wednesdays, welcoming our students to school and now has started some DARE mini-lessons with the first graders.
Superintendent Harris reported that the student numbers are above what was projected. As of the end of September the district has 927 students, an increase of 30 students over last year. He also explained the MSHL grant that reduces activity fees for students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
Under consent items, the September 14 meeting minutes were approved along with the 2022-2023 senority list. Spring coaches for 2023 were approved that included Paul Wagner, golf; Jerry Chase, softball; Jeff DeBuhr, track and field and Brian Baum, baseball. New hires approved were Breanna Macleod, high school SPED para; Robin Sullivan, ECSE para; MacKenzee Douglas, Valleyland aide; Bethany Kail, elementary SPED para; Megan Sprout, elementary nurse substitute; Edward Copeman, custodian; Tanya Nelson, Gifted and Talented; and Anna Olson, Math Wizards. The following resignations were approved: Adam Amundson, eighth grade boys basketball; Josh Whalen, junior high baseball; Emily Whitcomb, One Act play; and Brandy Royet, high school custodian. Job postings for eighth grade boys basketball, One Act play advisor and a custodial position were approved. They also approved the MSHSL Grant Resolution and the middle school fundraiser.
Under action items, the board approved the posting for an elementary/early childhood special education teacher as the intensity of the caseload warrants this.
Before adjournment, board members, Matt McMahon and Lanny Isensee encouraged members of the school district to consider running for school board. There are three openings and only two candidates are running. They reiterated that this is an opportunity for people to serve their community.
The board meeting adjourned. The next school board meeting will be held on November 16, in the high school forum room at 7 p.m.