For the past few years, Fillmore Central teachers have performed their staff development training online through the Editure program. However, recently, the Minnesota Rural Education Association discontinued its support of this program.
As a result, Superintendent Richard Keith noted the school has been looking for other programs that would support Fillmore Central's evaluation system and professional development needs.
Research led to Educational Impact, which Keith explained is the premier online provider of powerful e-learning and professional development for teachers, administrators and university professors and students.
Keith stated, "Educational Impact is directly correlated with Charlotte Danielson standards and will suit our needs very well."
For Fillmore Central to purchase a membership for the program, a $500 start up fee will be required and the basic package will cost $1,500. This program will help with the evaluation system Fillmore Central requires but doubles the cost for the full training, costing $3,200 per building. Still, it will reduce the need of sending teachers physically to another location for the training.
It will also assist the teachers in the new snow days policy in which one snow day will be excused and three days made up. Anything over that limit, students need not make up, but the teachers must.
The board approved the new program to be funded by staff development funds.
Principal Heath Olstad informed the board of the school's open house that was to take place on Aug. 27 for Fillmore Central families.
During the open house at the high school, students and parents were to fill out forms for the new laptops issued to the students. He noted that Neil Lundgren and Aaron Janssen spent a lot of time getting the Macbook Airs ready for use.
After the open house, Olstad noted he would be meeting with the incoming seventh grade parents for an orientation.
He also reported that to prepare for school starting on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the sprinkler system at the Harmony site was tested first with air. Workers located a number of leaks and fixed those that were seen. Afterwards, they tested the pipes with water of the right pressure and found a few more leaks. They were to be ready by the time school started. Olstad also stated that presently the sprinkler system was not painted, but workers would be coming in after school hours to paint the system white to blend in with the ceiling.
Olstad reported that this year, Fillmore Central has the highest ever enrollment of foreign exchange students. That number is eight students.
Dean of Students Chris Mensink spoke to the board of student enrollment at that time. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, Mensink did enroll a new second grader bringing the total number up to 321 students.
Speaking of the building project that began earlier this summer, Mensink said the elementary school was in good shape with just one window still needing to be installed. Laying the asphalt in the parking lot began a little later than usual, posing a possible problem for the open house. He reassured the board the parking lot would be completed by the time school began again.
Mensink updated the board on the number of students participating in the fall sports this year. In football there are 74 students on the team, 53 in volleyball, 11 in cross-country and 11 in cheerleading.
He commented on nine coaches participating in the “Why We Play Conference.” The coaches learned about the core values of sports, the emphasis on education and the philosophy behind educational athletics. Mensink plans on passing the information on to other coaches and incorporating it into the handbook.
As far as the district football that will begin in 2015, he told the board the east and west splits in the district have been made. In that year, football will begin on Aug. 10, with three games played before the school year begins. The district spreads from Wabasha-Kellogg to Mankato. Fillmore Central sits in the middle, which will cause some crossover on the split.
In addition to the district update, Mensink also notified the board that the athletic facilities would be ready for the first volleyball game.
In the special education department, Director of Special Education Micki Breitsprecher notified the board that most of the services for the next school year are in place. However, Lisa Wilhelm resigned as the Emotional Behavioral Disabilities consultant and special education teacher.
The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) held its first family picnic in Harmony on Aug. 19, with 46 people attending to be served. Food, carnival games, prizes and mini sessions for the parents were available at the event. Breitsprecher thanked board member Emily Ellis-Onsager for helping serve food and being a member of the SEAC.
She also informed the board that Fillmore Central staff had attended training sessions during the week of Aug. 18 through Aug. 21.
As previously stated, Lisa Wilhelm resigned as special education teacher. Along with her resignation, the board also received resignations from Donna Oellrich as custodian at the high school and Melissa Slezak in the daycare program. All these resignations were approved.
The board also accepted the hiring of Jim Stevens as a long-term sub in vocational agriculture during Jenelle Thorman's maternity leave, Kathryn Novotny as a secondary special education teacher in place of Lisa Wilhelm, Jesse LaBonne as an ECSE paraprofessional replacing Katie Sveen, Donna Oellrich as a part-time ECSE paraprofessional, Gabriella Brazee to work in the SAC program and Aaron Janssen for an additional 94 hours for the wireless installation.
The board also approved the activity sponsors, support staff and custodial staff for the next school year.
It was noted that both school sites are in need of a new floor scrubber. Keith mentioned looking at the possibility for a trade in, but they have already received some bids for the purchase, some of which are under $6,000. The board authorized up to $12,000 for the purchase of the new scrubbers.
Fillmore Central received two requests for open enrollment students in fifth and sixth grade currently living in the LeRoy-Ostrander district. The board approved the requests for these students to attend Fillmore Central.
Keith brought before the board the request to accept a quote of $8,200 from Custom Alarm to install a video intercom and door access control system to the new north entrance in the lower hallway in the elementary building.
Finally, the board scheduled the Truth-in-Taxation meeting for Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. in Preston.