District alters profile implementation

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 8/2/00.

The Paynesville Area School Board approved revising the district's requirements for the Profile of Learning at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 25.

A change in the law this spring allowed schools to grant waivers to students and gave schools leeway to implement the standards more gradually.

First, the board approved establishing three teaching sites in the district in regard to the Profile of Learning: the elementary school, the middle school, and the high school. Teachers from each of those sites had already met and voted on implementation of the Profile.

The elementary school will implement five standards in 2000-01, 12 in 2001-02, and nine in 2002-03. The middle school will implement 12 this year, 12 next year, and three in 2002-03.

In the high school, 13 standards will be required for graduation. Next year, 15 will be implemented, covering all the required standards but one. That standard, along with 18 more, will be implemented in 2001-02. A final 13 standards will be implemented in 2002-03 in the high school.

In addition to approval from the school board, a majority vote of the teachers at each site was required for this gradual implementation. Of the elementary school staff, 23 of 39 teachers met and voted. At the middle school, 21 of 26 submitted ballots. And, at the high school, 17 of 32 teachers voted.

Board members who attended the meeting with the teachers indicated their satisfaction at the professional manner of the teachers in altering the Profile implementation. "I think our staff did a very fine job of reviewing these issues," Caldwell told the board.

The board approved student and staff handbooks for the elementary and middle school for the upcoming school years. They also approved a staff handbook for the high school. The board had previously approved the student handbook for the high school.

The principals told the board that the handbooks contained few changes from previous years.

One change at the middle school, though, was holding detention only twice a week for longer times. Middle school principal Deb Gillman said the school held detention on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half after school in the fourth quarter last spring.

In the past, detention has been held for a half hour every day, but the school found that 3:45 p.m. was a difficult time for parents to pick up their kids. As a result, some students were getting in more trouble while waiting for rides.

"Kids didn't like it as well," Gillman explained, "but parents liked the convenience of the pick-up time, so we're going to do it for a full year."

Matt Dickhausen, athletic director and community education director, informed the board that his department was working on an updated athlete-parent handbook. The last edition was done in 1997.

The handbook will include expectations of athletes and coaches, as well as criteria for lettering. One reason for the delay is that input from coaches is needed and not all the coaches have been hired.

"We'd like to have some clear expectations, especially for new coaches coming in," said Dickhausen.

Aid anticipation certificates
The board approved a bid from Wells Fargo for $1,915,000 in Aid Anticipation Certificates at an interest rate of 4.55 percent. Basically, this amounts to borrowing against future state aid.

The benefit to the school is having the money on hand to avert any cash flow problems. Barring any, the money will be invested over 13 months, at which time the money must be paid back, with interest.

Caldwell said the district hopes to make interest income on the money. "If we don't need it," he said after the meeting last week, "we'll have it invested over 13 months."

Other business
• Caldwell updated the board on the building project at the high school. An auditorium and fitness center are being added to the north side of the school.

• Things seem to be on track and on time," Caldwell said. "We haven't had any delays of any kind." Expected occupancy date is now May 1, 2001. The original occupancy date was June 2001.

• The board approved the following athletic assignments for the fall. Cross country coaches are Darrel Carstens, varsity, and Rick Houske, assistant. Volleyball coaches are Sheila Mayer, varsity; Dawn Knoll, assistant; Tracy Anderson, ninth grade; Karlin Jacoby, eighth grade; and Romi Hentges, seventh grade.

Football coaches are Kyle Nehowig, varsity; Ron Fuchs and Tim Woehler, assistants; Jerry Hunt, ninth grade; Seth Elmhorst and Brad Nepsund, eighth grade; and Bryan Mara and Brad Skoglund, seventh grade. Cheerleading coach for football is Cindy Fuchs.

• The board approved hiring five instructional assistants for the upcoming school year: Kelly Woehler (5.83 hours per day); Amy Guzy (5.55); Linda Moline (6.5); Virginia Chevalier (6.25); and Norma Johnson (5.67).

• The board approved contracting with Stearns County Human Services Depart-ment for hearing screening at kindergarten roundup. The cost is $20 per hour.

• The board set a hearing to review its proposed property tax levy and budget with the public on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. The board also rescheduled its December meetings to Tuesday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. The board should consider approving the levy on Dec. 19.

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