School board, staff highlight
many activities, student achievements
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 3:08 AM
It was the consensus of the Chatfield School Board and district administration that there is a lot happening and going on at both the high school and elementary. The board members and staff discussed these activities during the November school board meeting held last Monday, Nov. 18.
The events discussed began with education initiatives and extended to school sporting events, as the district recently marked the football team's win at the semi-finals. Other athletes recognized included Christian Bance and Karen Gomez-Ruiz for their successes on the cross-country team and Alexandra Duxbury for being named All-State for the third time.
Chatfield High School Principal Randy Paulson congratulated the football team, Bance and Gomez-Ruiz on their victories, thanking those who work behind the scenes to make sporting events happen.
He also thanked band instructor Katy Jablonski and choir director Barb Ahl for their efforts in presenting the annual Veterans' Day concert, saying it was excellent and he was impressed by how many veterans attended.
"Katy and Barb did a great job, and so did the band and choir," he commented.
Other student news shared included the National Honor Society recently holding a student clothing exchange, providing clothing for those who might need a change or just want a fashion reboot. Also, the Student Service Club collected 1,500 pounds of food for Channel One. SADD held observances of Red Ribbon Week, which included hosting Homeward Bound Theatre Company from Minneapolis as it presented a play on making good decisions.
"There's a lot of exciting things happening at the high school," he concluded.
Chatfield Elementary Principal Craig Ihrke reminded parents that bedtime is important, not only for them after a long day at work, but for their children, who've spent the day learning.
"We've been trying to share the importance of sleep for kids," he said. "We want folks to look at their children's sleep habits, because it's super important for kids who are growing, developing and trying to learn to have a good night's sleep."
He added the elementary school has been busy in the past weeks, just as the high school has been. "
"We had a Veterans' Day program with the VFW and the VFW Auxiliary and they presented the colors," Ihrke said. "Later in the day, Joe Chase came to talk to the third graders and the Lions Club gave the kids dictionaries and rulers, and we'd like to thank them. We had a reading blitz during which volunteers came in to read, and we'd also like to thank them for their time."
Ihrke cited professional learning communities (PLC) have been in place at the elementary school for the past few years and have not functioned as intended. The district intends to visit the St. Charles and Zumbrota districts to study how their PLCs have succeeded.
Reading specialist Elissa Johnsrud updated the board on students' reading progress in Action 100 programming for the first three months of school, relating that while students did experience "some summer slide," they've recovered well and have been improving.
"Action 100 is off to a strong start this year and the students are doing great in reading," she said. "The teachers have more skills in place to help them get caught up if they're not reading at home. We've had volunteers, like Sara Chase, come in and read with the students, so volunteers have been great already and more students are on track."
She reported the teachers in Reading Research labs have incorporated more one-on-one time with their students, as students in the remedial program benefit from such time.
The district's technology coordinator, Kristi Cook, spoke about how students' access to iPads has kept them busy, as sixth graders are using them to create photo galleries and seventh and eighth graders have used them to generate keynote presentations.
"We're hoping to see more online collaboration through Schoology," Cook said. "We've seen some kids talking with other kids about the books they're reading and it's nice to see that happening outside of school, too. I'm working on offering teachers after-school iPad classes - there'll be more about it in December and January - and it depends on what they ask for."
Cook said she sent a survey to the teachers to find out where they were with tech skills and to see what professional development was still needed.
"And...on Jan. 20, we're hosting the TECHSPO, a gathering of 800 people, all in tech-related classes, so I'm hoping we'll be able to find places to put everyone," Cook concluded.
Superintendent Ed Harris shared information about the World's Best Workforce initiative, saying, "It's a legislative guide for the district, clarifying a plan for success in the coming years."
The initiative takes what the district has that's valid and uses it for district growth.
"I'm hoping to work with the principals and (board member) Mike (Tuohy) to see what types of targets we can set for student achievement," Harris added. "We hope to have it ready for approval in January."
He pointed out teacher and principal evaluation tools have been rounded up and said evaluations are nearly underway. Coaches will be evaluated immediately following their respective sporting seasons and their contracts signed and principals' contracts will be dealt with soon, as the district has been awaiting health care benefit determinations.
He also concluded, "There's a lot happening right now."
Students will have an early out this Wednesday, Nov. 27, to allow teachers time for staff development.
The truth in taxation hearing is set for Monday, Dec. 16, as part of the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
For more information, log on to the Chatfield district website at www.chatfield.k12.mn.us.