The Lanesboro School District Board of Education met during the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19, and received its Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Improvement from Superintendant Jeff Boggs.

Boggs reminded the board that it had established a parent advisory committee to allow community participation in the instructional process. He noted that teachers, students, administrators, support staff, parents and residents are allowed to provide input and must let the district know by Oct. 15 if they wish to serve on the committee.

Boggs explained the goals the district has for the students and stressed the importance of preparing them to become citizens and lifelong learners. "I think it often gets overlooked in today's world of testing," he stated.

With that, he began to explain the results from the 2013 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests. Third through eighth grade students took the reading and math tests, sophomores took the reading test and juniors took the math test.

The school had moved along with the rest of the state to a new math test called the MCA-III. Boggs noted the new test was tougher, but results could not be compared to the previous years because of the differences. "It's important that teachers look at the scores to determine what might need to change," he explained.

Boggs said math was an area identified for improvement in the high school through previous testing and there were signs of improvement from the 2013 testing.

"The things we are doing are making a difference," he explained, pointing out the addition of another math teacher and increased emphasis on improving math scores through more math classes and remediation opportunities.

Lanesboro was 66.3 percent proficient in 2013 math in grades 3-8. This ranked them sixth when compared to other HVED (Hiawatha Valley Education District) Districts and above the statewide percentage of 62.4. The school is 61.1 percent proficient in eleventh grade math which ranks it second among HVED Districts and above the statewide percentage of 52.4.

Improved reading scores have led to reading and writing being identified as strengths at Lanesboro. The school was 68.7 percent proficient in 2013 and ranked second among 16 HVED Districts. Statewide proficiency is at 57.8 percent.

Lanesboro was 53.2 percent proficient in the science testing and ranked ninth among HVED Districts. The statewide percentage is 52.2.

"We know we have needs there," said Boggs. Overall, he stated, "Scored are good, but we want to see them higher."

He mentioned several things that are helping students achieve higher scores, including Saturday school, student mentors, one-on-one instruction, additional math classes, and the one-to-one computer initiative.

Boggs then spoke on the Title I program, which identifies students at risk of educational failure and helps them through remedial math and reading programs. The district's improvement plan for 2012-2013 focused on developing Professional Learning Communities, which Boggs said had seen some success last year and would see further reorganization this year.

He also explained how the Response to Intervention system for identifying students with educational needs would continue through the MCA and AIMS Web test probes. Boggs noted that these remedial measures were taken first before a student is placed in special education.

Technology integration, parent involvement, improved staff training, and implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) would also continue. The school has used "homeroom" classes throughout the week to improve PBIS.

Boggs briefly mentioned extra-curricular involvement and community education programs, noting nearly all Lanesboro students are involved in extra-curricular activities at some point in their high school career.

The board approved the publishing of the annual report.

2014 Levy

The board approved certifying the 2014 proposed levy at the maximum amount allowed. Supt. Boggs told the board that it had been a pattern the past several years for the maximum levy to be approved.

This year's levy, at $336,776, represents a 23 percent decrease from last year, or just over $100,000.

Overall, the district is looking at a decrease in the levy for the third year in a row. "It's nice that we are spending less tax dollars," stated Boggs, while also noting that the levy couldn't keep going down forever. "At some point, it will go up," he said.

Other business

In other matters, the school board approved the following items.

• The board approved contracts for Kristi Ruen who teaches agriculture and FFA.

• Due to a conflict with the MEA weekend in October, the board moved up its monthly board meeting to Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m.

• Following the meeting, board members were taken on a tour of the new greenhouse, located on the northeast edge of the campus. The greenhouse will be used by the Lanesboro FFA and agriculture classes. The greenhouse can be temperature controlled and has concrete floors with raised growing tables. Boggs expressed his excitement for the students who would soon be growing plants in the greenhouse. Another board member mentioned the school could become involved with community growing activities such as the local farmers market.