Back-to-school conferences deemed a success at Fillmore Central

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Principal Heath Olstad reported to the Fillmore Central Board that families responded with overwhelming approval of the back-to-school conferences as the School Board met on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

As the conferences offered time for private conversation as well as testing the reading and writing levels of the students, they garnered high praise from everyone involved, giving the teachers opportunity to hit the ground running.

Olstad noted most of the papers had been completed and public health volunteers performed the hearing and eye screenings as well, allowing parents to know the results right away. Parents were also helped to connect to the media. Only a couple of families did not attend, but were later contacted.

Looking ahead to next year, the staff will be working on improvements and giving parents more direction of where to go. The school will work to get the company that takes school photos to also be available for the conferences in the future. Public health will be available again next year.

On other subjects, Olstad stated there has been a good start overall for this school year. Homecoming week is Oct. 1 to 5, with a parade, weather permitting, on Friday. Yearly bus tests were completed with the seventh to 10th graders, and juniors and seniors are having meetings with the guidance office. This year enrollment at the high school is 275, a number close to last year, but down a few.

At the elementary school the enrollment is 344 students, also down a few from last year, according to Dean of Student Chris Mensink. Bus safety and evacuation drills were completed on Sept. 12 and 13. The fire drill, lockdown and relocation to Christ Lutheran Church drills were held on Sept. 14. Elementary school pictures this year were held on Sept. 26. The One and Done Fundraiser kicked off on Sept. 13. Orders were due on Sept. 28 and delivery will be Nov. 5. The sixth grade students took a trip to Forestville on Sept. 19.

Director of Special Education Micki Breitsprecher updated the board on an outreach the department is getting involved in. This is Help Me Grow. The outreach will support the Fillmore County efforts for children ages birth to 3, Fillmore Central is a dropping point for statewide supports. To support the state, Fillmore Central has or will be delivering donated books from Help Me Grow to Fillmore County Public Libraries. Each library will receive 14 board books with Help Me Grow contact information.

This year, Breitsprecher informed the Board of the child count in special education, from birth to 21 years, is 84. Last year, by Dec. 1, the child count was 79.

She also informed the Board of the decision from the committee of preschool staff to pursue a grant opportunity to build up the curriculum and supports in the district. She noted it is a five-year grant and is very competitive.


The board approved resignations from Sallie Merritt and Ellie Skaggs from the day care and Jeffrey Dick from coaching basketball and baseball.

Several were hired as well, including Tris Tollefson as a fifth grade teacher, Melissa Heron as the SADD advisor, Robert Doherty as a part-time van driver, Sarah O’Connell, Sara Baskett and several coaches. John O’Connor will be head softball coach and eighth grade girls basketball coach. Elisha Himli will be head dance coach. Andrew Pederson will coach weightlifting. Andy Todd will coach eighth grade boys basketball. Erick Breitsprecher will coach junior varsity girls basketball. Paul Snell will assist coaching wrestling and Blaise Sass will be a volunteer assistant wrestling coach.

Several coaching positions are still vacant, including junior varsity boys basketball, seventh grade boys basketball and ninth grade girls basketball.

Elementary reading coaches were approved as well. Kelly Duff will coach grades kindergarten to two and Jolene Nelson will coach grades three to five.

Joni Mehus, Aaron Mensink, Megan Brown, Sarah Holten and Carrie Matthison were approved to teach independent study courses.

An overload for high school agriculture teacher Megan Brown was approved, as was a memorandum of understanding with Education Minnesota to allow payment of up to $750 each for two of the current elementary teachers to coach other teachers in implementing the Action 100 Reading Program.

Other business

Several open enrollment requests were approved as well as the approval of purchasing a new 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan from Nelson Auto, which will be used for going to conferences.

The Board also approved the proposed 2018 payable 2019 levy at the maximum amount. The levy increased modestly by 2.46 percent.

A policy for counseling and pre-career and technical programs was presented to the board that it is required to adopt as part of the Civil Rights Compliance Review at the high school. It addresses assurances that the school strives to provide bias-free counseling materials and avoid discrimination in course enrollment. It was adopted.

The board approved seven requests for graduate credit reimbursement and five requests for salary schedule lane changes.

A lease with EO Johnson for a new Toshiba 8508A copy machine was approved. The current copy machine at the high school is at the end of the current five-year lease.

The Board approved the purchase of a parcel of property that is located directly west, across the street from the high school stage gym. The minimum bid, according to Superintendent Richard Keith, is $22,258.60, but including the fees, the total price is $23,070.81. He stated there are several possibilities the school could use the property for, including parking space, a technology lab space and weight and fitness facilities. Along with this the board approved demolition at this site to remove the existing house, trees, stumps and concrete.

Finally, the Board approved a resolution supporting the Minnesota State High School League foundation grant application for activity funding.

Due to the possibility Fillmore Central will be hosting the first round of section football on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the board meeting was rescheduled for 7 a.m. that same day in Harmony