Kingsland High and Elementary School can now say “Here’s your sign,” thanks to donations from the community and from the Kingsland Athletic Booster Club (KABC), as members of both came together and raised more than the amount needed for the sign’s purchase and installation.   

Superintendent John McDonald was pleased to announce at the Kingsland School Board meeting Monday, Aug. 18, that all funds needed to purchase the electronic sign and install it were either in the district’s hands or committed as contributions.

“The message sign’s projected cost is $39,700, and we have $39,589 committed or received. There’s $3,600 that we don’t have the checks in hand, but the community responded very well, and we’d like to give a big thanks to those who stepped up and gave to help make this project happen,” said McDonald. “We asked a little over a month ago…and they’ve given more than we needed.  I’d also like to thank Stacey Rath of the booster club for all her hard work — Stacey’s the one who made all the calls.”

McDonald went on to share that the Kingsland community facility committee was set to convene the following day to tour the middle school in Wykoff and that the committee had already met for the first time on July 22, determining that creating a priority list of deferred maintenance items for each school building — the middle school and the elementary-high school in Spring Valley — that would assist the district in coming to a decision to present to the public regarding the configuration and usage of the buildings and what to repair first.

“We’re planning on meeting monthly,” he noted.

Kingsland High School Principal Jim Hecimovich presented his August report, reminding students that student and parent orientation is set for this evening, Aug. 27, at the high school, and that early outs for professional development on Wednesdays will begin Sept. 10.  He observed that the high school’s College in the Schools (CIS) students will be going to Riverland Community College on Sept. 11 to see how the college functions, as the district is striving to give CIS students a real college experience within the walls of the high school.

Elementary school Principal Chris Priebe spoke about the excitement of students coming back to school, or in the case of kindergarten camp participants, coming to school for the first time. The camp was set up and held to help the district’s youngest pupils acclimate to the school and its routines before the older students are in the hallways.

“They’ve been practicing and prepping for four hours a day with no other students in the building, and I thank everyone for helping make it work,” he said.

Athletic director Steve Hauser reported that team rosters are growing in football and volleyball, and also that the district is working to rearrange seating during basketball and volleyball games in the gym to encourage a “culture change” that will offer a more positive atmosphere for both athletes and fans. 

Special education director Micki Breitsprecher requested that the district employ Stanley Jones, a speech and language company in Rochester, to handle its speech and language pathology services for individuals from birth to 21 years of age, and board members voted to accept the request.

Kingsland’s tech coordinator, Bob Tieffenbacher, updated the board on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program and the Best Buy Program, initiatives to place technological devices in the hands of students. The BYOD program allows students to bring an approved tech device from home, and the Best Buy Program is a collaborative effort between the district and Best Buy, Inc., to offer students the opportunity to buy tech devices at a reduced cost.

Tieffenbacher informed the board that insurance is going to be made available for the netbooks and laptops that students purchase through the Best Buy Program, adding that he and the rest of the tech department are working to set up the district-owned devices for students in grades seven through 12, and that while students in sixth grade and under will receive district-issued devices, the date students will be allowed to take the devices home will be announced.

Business manager Todd Lechtenberg updated the board on audits being conducted throughout the district, including foodservice, and shared that he hopes to bring the audit results to the board meeting in October or November.

Next, FFA members Makala Naumann and Dane Gillespie brought news about summer FFA activities, including what the chapter’s members have been growing on the school’s Partch property, a lot next to the school’s football field on Section Avenue that the district has purchased. Naumann explained that anything grown in the school garden will be incorporated into meals in the Kingsland Café, and Gillespie stated that the chapter’s officers had participated in a retreat with state FFA officers — including Kingsland alum Valerie Earley, who is now the Minnesota state FFA secretary.

In personnel matters, the board hired Amanda McCarty as music instructor, Rachel Robinson as early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher, Susan Schultz as a high school administrative assistant, Adam Tri as a fifth grade teacher and B squad football coach, and Lori Buchholtz as ninth grade volleyball coach. The board also granted paternity leave to Jacob Vetter. Paul Eckheart will become an assistant B squad football coach.

A resolution calling the school district’s election for board members passed, with three seats open and Doug Plaehn and Debra Larson filing.

The board thanked Essig Agency for its donation of $500 toward the message sign’s purchase, various donors across the Kingsland community who gave to make the sign a reality, the Osterud Winter Trust for its donation of $500 toward the sign, for another donation of $2,000 to the community education food program and for $16,925 toward scholarships, and The Salvation Army for its $500 for elementary school milk break provisions.

Before adjourning, the board closed the meeting to discuss a medical leave request from Kingsland Middle School head cook Terri Allen.

The next meeting of the Kingsland School Board of Directors is slated for Monday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, call (507) 346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us.