HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board presented courtesy and respect awards during Monday’s meeting.
Awards were presented by James Weninger, based upon students’ conduct “demonstrating sincere courtesy and respect in relationships with all other persons, decision making; demonstrating common sense and good judgment.” Students received framed certificates and sweatshirts with the HLWW Lakers logo (donated by C and C Embroidery).
The freshman award was presented to Madisyn Remer, nominated by the math department for her positive attitude and hard work in the classroom.
The sophomore award was presented to Lydia Montgomery, nominated by the fine arts department for her academic achievements and high quality of character.
The junior award was presented to Neva Diers, nominated by the language arts department for her cooperative attitude and positive nature.
The senior award was presented to Quinn Mathisen, nominated by the agriculture department for demonstrating high academic aptitude and exemplary sportsmanship.
The board also recognized:
• wrestlers Caleb Boese, Collin Boese, and Danny Mosford for their competition at the State Wrestling Tournament;
• Carlos Jones and Lily Karg for being selected as Snow Fest king and queen;
• Christina Kittock for receiving this year’s Minnesota Conferences Distinguished Service Award: and
• the HLWW bands for receiving 14 superior ratings and six excellent ratings at the Feb. 10 competition. Flute players Henry Parks and Lily Karg were also awarded a Best of Site rating for their duet.
Visitor Tom Borrell proposed that the board start researching the idea of integrating a language immersion program. It was brought to the board’s attention that the closest district to implement such a program is Minnetonka, that immersion programs could pull students in from other districts, the cost is relatively low, and language immersion has proven to increase test scores and retain enrollment.
Superintendent Brad Sellner responded by explaining his experience researching immersion programs, and his interest in offering it to students, stating he thought it was a “great idea” to offer it. He explained that language immersion begins in kindergarten, with the second language being used throughout most of the day in order to better retain the language throughout life as opposed to holding off until high school, which shows lower retention rates.
Staff from the elementary schools presented information about their reading programs.
Teachers Cindi Koopmeiners, Stefanie Gunderson, and Jessica Ingram shared how they identify at-risk students at the kindergarten and elementary levels. Koopmeiners explained that, “at the start of each school year, a variety of data is collected on the entire student body, and both the Winsted and Humphrey elementary schools in order to determine the greatest need for Title services. Data includes decoding and phonetic assessments,” among other information.
Each teacher explained how the assessments were conducted, along with approaches taken to address at-risk student needs. These approaches are inspired by Benchmark, Orton-Gillingham, and Tara West; and include a multi-sensory approach that utilizes ABC Bootcamp, Reader’s Theater, Heidi Songs, Raz Kids, and other research-based methods in order to benefit students that may be struggling for a variety of reasons.
It was noted that the curriculum is very inexpensive compared to other programs.
The board approved the recommended approval of an operating levy referendum for the school district in the Nov. 3 general election. Sellner explained that the board is “not setting a levy amount yet, not putting in what the questions are going to be; this is just a vote of support among the board members that, yes, in November, we’re going to go out for election for and operating levy.”
In his administrative report, Superintendent Sellner addressed the coronavirus, explaining, “just like other schools across the state and country, we are continuing to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state, and county every Wednesday. Now, we have a conference call with the Department of Health and the Department of Education to get guidance about what they’re seeing and hearing ... right now, I’ve sent an email to all parents and staff with guidance from the CDC ... for the most part, we are likening it to how we respond to the flu.”
Sellner explained that the district is encouraging heightened hand-washing, cough covering, and other precautionary measures to teachers and students.
Trips that were originally scheduled to Italy have been shut down and moved to Germany. The companies involved with trips to different countries are in touch and working with alternate dates in case of other shut-downs. Three other districts plan to travel out of country the same week as HLWW, and have been in contact as their plans change.
Sellner noted budget meetings for 2021 will begin next week and, “we are looking to potentially having the budget approved at the May board meeting since we know what we will be getting for state aid next year.”
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved having a make-up day on Presidents Day if a snow day should occur.
• accepted donations from 203rd Transportation Company of Arden Hills and Waverly Lions.
• heard from Elementary Principal Jen Olson and Middle School Principal Jim Schimelpfenig about minor changes to the student handbooks, including the truancy policy for elementary students, and eligibility for student activities due to academic performance, absence policies, and dress code for middle school students. Printed copies are being held off pending legislative guideline compliance.
• heard from Schimelpfenig that he was happy with the turnout for the Food for Kids packaging event, which raised $6,300 and sent meals of rice and beans to Uganda.
• heard from Olson that the Winsted musical “Swamped” was well received. “It was a great show, a lot of fun, and we saw some shining stars,” Olson said.
• heard from Schimelpfenig that, “with the number of Chromebooks we now have, we are able to give all of the seventh- and eighth-graders tests at the same time, and all of the fifth- and sixth-graders testing at the same time, which will allow us to shut down half of the building for testing.”
• noted that upcoming events in March include family movie night Thursday, March 19 at Humphrey Elementary.