Jessica Fenske and Abby Hopp listen as their FFA advisor, Stacy Fritz, speaks about the debate process and how the students will compete in parliamentary procedure.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Jessica Fenske and Abby Hopp listen as their FFA advisor, Stacy Fritz, speaks about the debate process and how the students will compete in parliamentary procedure. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
"Mr. President, I oppose this motion because I feel it would be too difficult for the students to arrange this activity in such a short time," said Abby Hopp, standing to address the chapter president as Chatfield's school board members were treated to an FFA parliamentary procedure debate demonstration. FFA members attended last Tuesday evening's January board meeting, held a day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.

Chatfield FFA advisor Stacy Fritz informed the board before the debate began, "It's one of the most competitive career development experiences they can get into. It's about putting on a show of what they know for the judges. It's one of the events that builds leadership skills and teaches them how to think on their feet, even if they don't go on to a job that uses parliamentary procedure."

Principal reports

The principal reports followed the demonstration debate, and Chatfield Elementary Principal Craig Ihrke spoke about how MCA tests are coming up for his students. He reminded parents to be sure that students get plenty of sleep and a good meal before school, and also reminded them to take a good look at the children before sending them out the door during the winter, as the weather has been particularly cold this winter.

"Make sure your kids are dressed properly to be outdoors. We haven't had much time outdoors this year, but if it's above nine below, they're going to be outside," he said.

Ihrke went on to share that conferences and preschool screening are coming up and that parents should check out the school's website for more information.

He added there's a fourth through sixth grade vocal and band concert Jan. 30, with "no matinee since it's a fourth through sixth grade concert."

Lastly, he thanked the elementary paraprofessionals for their dedication to the students, and also expressed his appreciation to Kristy Cook and Damon Lueck for their work in making arrangements for the Techspo tech conference Chatfield hosted on Monday, Jan. 20.

Chatfield High School Principal Randy Paulson echoed Ihrke's thanks to Cook and Lueck for "an impressive job organizing the Techspo" and thanked the high school paraprofessionals for "doing a great job helping all the students in being successful."

He also announced high school students Morgan Henry and Justin Viss had been chosen as the district's AAA Award recipients and would be going to the next level of competition.

Paulson also had congratulations for the wrestling team, which placed at a tournament in Stillwater, for basketball coach Brian Baum for leading the team to his 300th win, football coach Jeff Johnson for being named Minnesota Class AA Coach of the Year and to Patricia Doyle and the Knowledge Bowl teams for placing at tournaments.

The principal rounded out his report with news that registration guides for next year's classes are almost ready, and the implementation of new technology in the classrooms will change teaching strategies as the district prepares for the 2014-2015 school year.

Superintendent report

Superintendent Ed Harris noted that at the February meeting, the board will have an opportunity to review the budget and gather preliminary thoughts on what changes should be made.

"We may have to readdress expenditures at some point to lengthen our solvency over the next few years," he said.

He shared that the district is working to transition its employee records to digital format and the school will soon launch a digital roster of substitute teachers - a program called "Teachers on Call."

Harris said he and the staff are working to determine what is necessary to satisfy the new state initiative, World's Best Workforce, which is a set of guiding strategies and a plan to be used by school districts to align themselves with state standards.

"I've been checking with other school districts, and they're all looking at spring to have a draft ready," he added. "We're thinking maybe March."

Techspo recap

District tech coordinator Kristy Cook related that staff from 12 area schools attended the Techspo last Monday and many were complimentary of the experience.

"A lot of staff were very proud of where Chatfield is tech-wise, and we appreciate the help we got from the National Honor Society, the office staff, the custodians, the kitchen staff and others," Cook said.

She added she will be offering more after-school tech training for staff and also providing training for the public through community education.

Reading report

Action 100 coordinator Elissa Johnsrud reported that the teachers are working to find ways to keep students' interest in reading as winter progresses.

She added that the students in the ADSIS remedial reading program completed their first semester, leading to a celebration with parents.

Assessments are underway for second semester students and their educational needs.

Other business

• The board approved the principals' contracts for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.

• Jeff Johnson was hired as varsity football coach and Adam Hurley as a ninth grade coach.

• The board approved the annual $5,000 payment to CCTV for taping of board meetings.

• The next meeting of the Chatfield School Board is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 18.