3/14/2014 10:06:00 AM Pledge of Allegiance will start board meetings
by Nora Bryson
Cannon Falls School Board Chair Bob Brintnall started the Monday night March 10, meeting with the "New Business" of allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to herald in forthcoming meetings. The board unanimously agreed and the Pledge was said. The meeting then proceeded according to the agenda: a presentation on the 2014-15 course registration, and approval of the 2nd reading of the Kindergarten Early Admission Policy, official snowdays, Tony Meyer's retirement, Megan Sabrowsky as long-term substitute, and the new, Wild Turkey Federation Scholarship.
High School Principal Tim Hodges went through a historical review of registration numbers for each course offered since 2010. He said that for all courses (except the lower level Chem Com) the "magic number" of 12 students must enroll for a course to actually be offered the following year.
He explained how changing Graduation Standards have decreased enrollment in several courses, especially electives like band, choir, personal finance, and those in the agriculture department (industrial arts/natural resources/animal science/farm & home maintenance), which, in the recent past, have been very popular. He felt students are better able to individualize their schedules according to their goals due to old (PSEO at Inver Hills, Rochester, or St. Olaf) and new (ALC, On-line, and WETC) course delivery methods. These should only increase with the distribution and implementation of individual technology devises next year.
Enrollment numbers (going from over 100 students in this year's Senior and Junior classes down to between 85 and 90 for the foreseeable future) will also require more reliance on technology. It may also, according to Hodges, require the school to go to an 8-period day like WETC currently uses; creating all sorts of changes to the course credits allotted for each class. He thanked Kirsten Hoffman and Deb Klegin for their work helping students plan for their future by mapping out and scheduling the courses they need to accomplish those dreams.
The board approved the 2nd reading of Kindergarten Early Admission Policy that states a child should be 5-years old on or before November 1 (as opposed to September 1 for regular admission) and demonstrate, via assessment tools, they are socially and intellectually ready to begin school. "We don't want this to become a day-care center," Superintendent Beth Giese interjected. "We really want students who are ready." Application must to be made by April 1 of the preceding year. Determination will be made by a committee which includes the Elementary Principal and the Kindergarten teachers.
The Board officially approved the snow day calendar changes as they have appeared on the District's website and as agreed to at their February 24 meeting. The District will utilize half of the teacher workshop day of March 24 (students will be in school from 8 a.m. until 12 noon) and one full-day of Easter vacation on April 21. This will make up for the days missed February 20 and 21. The Administration is uncertain how days will be made up if there are any further snow days; an impending worry given March is historically Minnesota's snowiest month!
The board regretfully approved the retirement of long-time social studies teacher and driving force behind the perennially successful "We the People" teams, Tony Meyer. "We accept with a heavy heart," Chair Brintnall stated emphatically. "Some people just make a real impact and Tony was one of them." The board thanked Meyer for his years of dedication and service to the students of Cannon Falls. Meyer's retirement will be effective at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
The board approved putting Megan Sabrowsky on contract as a long-term sub for 6th grade math for the remainder of the school year. She will be taken off the list of Teachers On Call for that same period.
The board approved the $1,000 scholarship given by the Wild Turkey Federation. Austin Noble received the award but the request for formal recognition came in after the deadline. Approval means the scholarship meets board standards.
The next board meeting will be Monday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at the High School Boardroom. Agenda items currently include: approval of negotiated contracts, and approval of the 2014-15 Activities Handbook.