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School board notes

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The four-day week is a discussion topic at school board meetings again.

Lake Superior School District superintendent Bill Crandall broached the topic with the board at its most recent meeting. During the Minnesota School Board Association meeting in January, he said all of the superintendents of the four-day week schools in the state will be meeting with a representative from the Minnesota Department of Education.

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“I really just would like to get some direction from the board,” Crandall said.

He said that at an August meeting, MDE commissioner Brenda Cassellius expressed concern that four-day weeks negatively impact academic performance and that districts statewide originally instituted the shortened week to save money, but now more money available thanks to the budget passed by the legislature. He added that the momentum of the state is toward reinstating five-day weeks.

Minnehaha principal Pat Driscoll said it’s hard to judge the four-day week’s effect on academics, because standardized tests have also changed during the same period. Changes in scores could be attributed to the test changes.

The board agreed to discuss the four-day week further before advising Crandall.

The board also approved a motion to keep the pools at William Kelley and Two Harbors high schools open during the winter so that they can be used by community members. Keeping the pools heated and staffed with lifeguards is a financial commitment, but board chair Dwight Moe said it’s something the community expects.

“They expect some of those things for their tax dollars,” Moe said.

The district still needs to hire a lifeguard to work at the WKHS pool, but community education director Chris Langenbrunner said there someone interested in completing the training.

Other board action:

• The board approved garbage disposal contracts, accepting a bid from John’s Sanitary for Silver Bay facilities and Mahrer Trucking for Two Harbors.

• The board approved the annual report on curriculum, which is required by state law. The report is prepared to inform residents about developments in curriculum, instructional practices and student learning. Pat Driscoll, Minnehaha principal and Title 1 director for the district, highlighted gains in ACT scores, changes that will focus on career and college readiness, improvements in the school climate and a plan to improve reading and math by 2014. The full report is available on www.isd381.k12.mn.us.

• The board approved the retirement of Robert

McCurdy, who has worked for the district for more than 40 years as a bus driver, custodian and mechanic. They also accepted resignations from Kim Josephson, paraprofessional and Shawn Bartlette, boys’ baseball coach at WKHS.

• The board approved hiring Elizabeth Huss as a paraprofessional and assistant girls’ hockey coach, Leilani Peterson as a long-term substitute paraprofessional, Dusty McMillen as a volunteer girls’ assistant hockey coach and Paul Taintor as a substitute bus driver.

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