At the March 19 school board meeting, k-12 school counselor Scott Solberg gave a PowerPoint presentation on a SMARTBoard of the services he provides to students.

"I am a go-between students, school, college, and more," Solberg explained. He is in his second year with the district.

"Better utilization of the school's JMC (student record management software) is the biggest achievement so far," he added.

Solberg went on to explain the new modules and parts of the software that have either been activated or better utilized.

Such items that have been streamlined to the site include: high school transcripts, student activities and commendations, standardized test scores, state test results, discipline information and improved staff access to test scores, emails and other items they need (determined by the administrator as to what areas they have access to).

He also talked about the increased access of information that has been added to many sections of the school's regular website including scholarship information, college visit dates, ACT information, transcripts requests and more.

He noted that he is pleased to be a resource for students providing career and college advice and information as well as offering grief and crisis counseling.

He is also a resource for staff and administration, it was pointed out.

One of the goals that he has set for the program is having a regular opportunity to use his counseling skills in the k-3 and 4-6 grades to help stem some of the issues that are later seen in high school.

As an example, he said using a story time, color sheet and friendship skill course helps a lot of interpersonal issues in k-3 students.

More bullying issues could be addressed in the 4-6 grades, he added.

Udstuen said that the high school student body has adopted well to his counseling skills and aren't afraid to use them when they need it.

Gulbranson added, "The things he has cleaned up saves us time and made us much more efficient."

In addition, "as a school counselor, we didn't know what we were missing, and now we couldn't do without it."

The 2012-13 school calendar

The board approved the initial 2012-13 school calendar for the school district.

Udstuen called it a very "traditional" schedule. There are 173 student days between Sept. 4, 2012, through June 3, 2013.

The only items not included in the schedule is parent/teacher conferences, Udstuen explained.

"Our teachers are pushing for the fall ones to be moved up four weeks earlier," she added.

Limit for line of credit set

As recommended by Gary Friemann of Merchants Bank in Spring Grove, the board voted to establish a maximum amount for its line of credit at the bank.

Upon recommendation by district accountant Tanya Elton, the board approved up to $300,000, which should be more than the district should ever need it was noted.

School to host a garage sale

The school district will host a garage sale during the annual citywide garage sale during Syttende Mai, Superintendent Rachel Udstuen explained.

Items will be advertised ahead of time so everyone will have an equal opportunity to purchase, Udstuen said.

Some of the items to be cleaned out at garage-sale prices will include old uniforms, desks, overhead projectors, TVs, old maps and more. The only items that can't be sold are old computers.

Superintendent report given

Superintendent Udstuen reported that as of March 21, the district is up 11 students overall for this school year.

The state of Minnesota has started paying back part of the funding shift since it now has a budget surplus.

The district will be looking at two remodeling projects this summer. The girls' locker room roof will be redone, and the lighting fixtures in Room 101 and the fourth, fifth and sixth-grade classrooms will be replaced with more energy efficient fixtures and bulbs.

A complete plan will be brought back to the board for approval and bidding at a future meeting.

There will be two sections of kindergarten next year, but the second kindergarten teacher position will not be advertised until late April or early May.

"We are waiting on an ADSIS (The Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services) application results before advertising, as one of our reading specialists (funded through this program) would be qualified to teach, if this funding doesn't come through," Udstuen explained.

Principal gives update

Principal Nancy Gulbranson thanked the community for its support of the girls basketball team throughout their journey to state.

"The entire journey has been wonderful," she exclaimed. "I couldn't be any prouder of our team. It seemed like our whole town was there. I commend the entire program, staff and community."

Udstuen echoed the sentiment, "We have had a lot of financial support from the community, the checks are still coming in. The MNHSL (Minnesota State High School League) reimburses us a percentage of the cost (to go to a state tournament), but we won't know the percentage for awhile."

Gulbranson added, "We still have three wonderful months of school left."

NHS banquet location moving

Gulbranson noted that the school's annual National Honor Society (NHS) banquet will be moving from the Peace Dining Hall at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, to Immigrant Hall at the Ballard House in Spring Grove.

The banquet honoring all new inductees and current high school members will be Monday, April 23. Any high school student with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 after the third quarter is eligible for the honor.

She noted that Awards Night planning is underway.

Reading Corps grant received

The district has been approved for a half-time MN Reading Corps position for the 2012-13 year.

The Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide initiative to help every Minnesota child become a successful reader by the end of third grade.

The program places AmeriCorps members in sites to implement a researched-based early-literacy effort to help struggling readers.

The Minnesota Reading Corps strategies are designed for both preschool-aged students and k-third-grade students.

Minnesota Reading Corps members can choose to serve in a preschool setting or a kindergarten - third-grade setting.