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Paynesville Press - February 04, 2004

Shool board considers multi-age classroom for 2004-2005

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

*The board heard an update about offering a multiage classroom and looping teachers for the 2004-05 school year from elementary principal Todd Burlingame. For a multiage classroom - having students in two grades in the same classroom - district staff have identified merging one class of kindergarten and first grade students. Burlingame said they were close to sending a letter to parents explaining the program and holding a parent meeting.

For looping - moving a teacher with the students - second and third grades have been identified. Ross Engelstad, currently a second grade teacher, is willing to move to third grade next year. The benefit in looping is that students who stay with Engelstad for a second year will know him when the school year starts and be ready to learn right away (and vice versa).

*The board discussed broadcasting school board meetings with Alice Nyhlen, who works for the school district and also is the cable coordinator for the city. Nyhlen told the board that she will be videotaping the next school board meeting and then it will be rebroadcast on Channel 8 over the local cable system. Because the live feed to the school has still not been installed by the cable company, school board meetings will be broadcast on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.

*The board approved a one-year general leave request for Denise Landsteiner on a 5-2 vote. She has already been on leave for three years and requested an additional two years. Board members Tami Stanger and Deb Glenz objected to the leave, and voted against it, because Landsteiner is accruing seniority while on leave. The rest of the board supported the leave, but approved only one year so it could be reconsidered on a year-to-year basis. Five years of leave is the maximum allowed by the district.

*The board heard a review of services provided by the West Central Education District from director Doug Millaway. Paynesville belongs to the district, along with Albany, Melrose, and Sauk Centre. The West Central Education District provides special education services and runs an Alternative Learning Center.

*The board approved a staff development grant application from the high school English department for $337.65. This money will cover the cost of substitute teachers for one day so the three English teachers can get together and review text book series, since it is their turn to purchase materials this year.

*The board approved a lane change for science teacher Jay Thompson, from MA to MA30.

*The board approved a medical leave request for instructional assistant Diane Gilk from mid-February to the end of March.

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