School board moved on numerous action items

The Caledonia District #299 school board met on Monday, April 21.

Personnel matters
The board approved the termination of two probationary teachers, Jessie Emerson and Stacey Meyer. Superintendent Barton stressed that in doing so, the board is following past practice. As a matter of a process outlined with the teachers, if a full time teacher would be needed at less than full time the next school year, that teacher must be terminated and the employment revisited in a subsequent meeting. The school board will be able to recall Miss Emerson and Mrs. Meyer on the agenda next month. The board wants to thank these, and all teachers, for their years of service.

Action items
•    The board approved the ratification of the 2013-’15 support staff master agreement to include a $.20 per hour salary increase on the salary schedule for the 2013-’14 school year and a 2.5 percent salary increase on the salary schedule for the 2014-’15 school year along with longevity language added to the agreement. Barton said that they were able to accomplish a lot in revising the pay scale and pulling  all that into the master agreement. “We are thankful for all support staff and happy that we were able to work out a good and fair agreement,” Barton said.
•    The board adopted the student entrance/student age policy #503.1 as presented, expecting all students who enroll in the district to be at least five years of age on Sept. 1 of said year to start kindergarten, or at least six years of age on Sept. 1 to start first grade, or to have successfully completed kindergarten. Early admittance to kindergarten enables only those children who have been identified as gifted and talented, according to district criteria, to be enrolled in kindergarten earlier than normal. Children will not be considered for early entrance unless they have met the district’s criteria for identification as gifted and talented.
A parent who believes their child may be gifted and talented and would like their child to be considered for early entrance must follow the steps as listed by the district.
•    The board adopted the special education policy #608 which recognizes that some students need special education and further recognizes the importance of providing a free appropriate public education for these students. The school board accepts its responsibility to identify, evaluate and provide special education and related services for qualifying students.
•    The board took action adopting the religion policy #609 stipulating that the school district shall neither promote nor disparage any religious belief or nonbelief and encourages all students and employees to have appreciation for and tolerance of each other’s views.
•    Brad Harguth, upon reading the field trip policy #610, questioned the ambiguity of the policy on the payment of substitute teachers and the requirement of the instructor to take personal time. Barton’s understanding is that the school would cover for a substitute and that the instructor would not have to take personal time, as was done historically. It was Barton’s recommendation to table the vote on this item to make sure the language of the policy is correct and follows past practice.
•    The board adopted the home schooling policy #611 which recognizes and provides guidelines in accordance with state law for parents who wish to have their children receive education in a home school that is an alternative to an accredited public or private school.
•    The board adopted the development of parental involvement policies for Title I programs, policy #612.1. The purpose of the policy is to encourage and facilitate involvement by parents of students participating in Title I in the educational programs and experiences of students.
•    The board adopted graduation requirements, policy #613, stipulating that all students entering grade 9 in the 2012-’13 school year and earlier must satisfactorily complete, as determined by the school district, all credit requirements, all state academic standards, or local standards where state standards do not apply, and successfully pass graduation examinations, as required in order to graduate. For students entering grade 9 in the 2012-14 school year and later, the district’s policy is that the students must demonstrate, as determined by the school district, their satisfactory completion of the credit requirements and their understanding of academic standards on a national normed college entrance exam.
•    The school board approved that students may attend the Minnesota State FFA Convention trip on Sunday, April 27 through Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
•    The board passed the 2014-’15 resolution for membership in the Minnesota State High School League.

Administrative reports
•    Principal Paul DeMorett outlined the system for student testing which is occurring at this time. The testing schedule is on the school calendar which can be found on the website for parents’ information.
•    DeMorett said his office is getting near the end of registration for the 2014-’15 school year. They are making every effort to have a wide variety of classes and thus a comprehensive high school. Barton acknowledged that Caledonia High School offers classes that have at least 10 students signed up for them. “We are fortunate to offer as many classes as we do, given the size of school that we are,” Barton said. “We are in a position to offer these sections with less students. All classes that are over 30, they split into two, although most schools keep that in one section. We are doing a good job offering a wide variety of classes based on what the students said they wanted. The students decide what they want – they sign up and we offer the classes they sign up for. It’s impossible for there not to be any conflicts. If we have 12 classes which have only one section, with seven periods of the day, there has to be more than one conflict. They’re up front with the kids that they will likely have conflicts.” DeMorett said it was a guarantee that all students will have their schedule by the end of the school year.
•    Nancy Runningen reported that they are taking registrations for preschool. There are still openings in the three-year-old afternoon class. Summer SAC documents will be on the website.
•    Runningen is in the process of compiling the catalog of community education classes. They are expanding the area they send catalog to in order to inform more persons of the variety of classes that Caledonia Community Education offers.
•    Kindergarten Academy, which is funded by a grant that Runningen writes, will be funded again this year.
•    An interactive group of young Caledonia Rotarians, middle and high school students focused on service has been established. There are nine students planning a service project. They are looking for that service project at this time.

Superintendent wrap-up
Barton encourages everyone to look at the school’s website. “It is a goal of ours to really revamp the look and feel of that,” Barton said. “There are new and nice features which are being kept up to date with news and what’s going on as well as photos. There is a new video which is first of a series showing all the good things we do here.”
Barton brought the board up to date on the effort to provide the school with a secure entry. “We are narrowing down options. Kelly [McGraw], Jean [Meyer] and I looked at the secure entry Onalaska High School has. We are looking at modeling ours to be like theirs with first doors open, but the second set of doors closed. Visitors would go directly into the office through a new doorway that would be cut into the office wall, where they would be name tagged and so on.”
“In same line, on security and safety, we are going to continue working with law enforcement on ALICE (Alert Lock-down Inform Counter Evacuate),” Barton said. “We will change the configuration to lock-down service to help staff make decisions in lock-down situations. We will be adding a couple of steps to try to get some training to staff to problem solve and think on their feet to counter any kind of threat that may be present.”
Director’s report
Work is ongoing on a curriculum for mathematics and they are looking at different vendors. Work is also progressing on the art and language arts curriculum.

Warrior Pride
As is tradition at each school board meeting, groups and individuals are extended a thank you for supporting the Caledonia School District. A thank you was extended to Immanuel Lutheran Church for their $500 milk donation and to the cast of students from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for performing songs from the school musical in the home of Winifred Schulte.
The school board congratulated the Warrior Boys’ basketball team for their successful season and taking third place at State.
Congratulations were extended to Phillip Paulson for earning a scholarship to the prestigious Normandy Academy.