Fillmore Central School Board considers back-to-school conferences at elementary

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The Fillmore Central School Board heard a proposal from Principal Heath Olstad and a couple elementary staff members to implement back-to-school conferences during the board’s meeting on Tuesday, April 24.

The school has been allowing parents to stop and drop off their students the Wednesday prior to the start of school to give the teachers time to meet the students. However, this does not allow for much time to meet the parents.

The new back-to-school conferences would use the first two days of the school year. Parents could sign up for a 30-minute meeting with the teacher. Teachers could look to increase efficiency in the first month, actually get to meet the families with the students and assess where the students are in their reading abilities. Having a conference would help the teachers to know how to structure their lessons within the first weeks of the school year, whereas currently teachers only get to meet students and parents one-on-one at the end of September.

For the first few minutes of the meeting, teachers would become acquainted with the parents and then the parents could fill out their emergency forms while the teachers assess the students. There is also the possibility pictures and vision and hearing testing could be done before or after meeting the teacher.

The board pointed out some parents could not be able to do such a format, so a backup plan would need to be made. As for the high school, staff would still have the Wednesday open house and students would begin classes the first day.

More information regarding the proposal will be given at the next board meeting.


The senior class trip was reported to be very successful this year and the students were excellent.

The band and choir students participated in the Minnesota State High School League small group competition held in Rushford on April 19. They did an excellent job, according to Olstad, with the jazz band being the only jazz band to receive a superior rating that night.

A mock crash was held on April 17 with a number of students acting out roles. Other students were great listeners as events unfolded. Olstad thanked the community for the support and the volunteers, particularly from the Harmony Ambulance, the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department and Brenda Pohlman from Fillmore County Public Health, who took time out of their day to help stage the event.

FFA had a great week of activities the week of April 16 with Ag Olympics on April 20. The following week, Ethan Lapham took nearly 30 students to the state FFA convention. This was a great number to send for a school Fillmore Central’s size.

This year Senior Awards Night will be on May 17 and baccalaureate will be on May 20.

At the elementary school, kindergarten round up took place on April 10. A good group of 40 to 50 students is anticipated.

Soil and Water Conservation District donated a tree for the fifth graders to plant, and each received a tree on April 25. On April 27, four sixth graders planted a tree for the City of Preston for Arbor Day.

The Jump/Hoops for Heart events took place on April 13. The students’ goal was to raise $8,000, but instead reached over $13,000.

The fifth and sixth grade band and music concert will be on May 17 with a 2 p.m. matinee and 7 p.m. concert. The kindergarten to fourth grade spring concert will be held on May 3 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. The fourth grade will go to the Wax Museum on May 11.

Director of Special Education Micki Breitsprecher reported with the number of students on individualized education programs (IEPs) throughout the district, the department is looking at possible options of additional special education teachers and how that may affect current programming in both buildings. There would be two additional teachers, one at both sites full-time for caseloads to range from 12 to 15 students per full-time teachers at the start of the new year.


The board approved a resignation from Gretchen Schwichtenberg as a teacher from the daycare, the termination of an employee and a leave of absence from Aaron Janssen for three years as high school social studies teacher.

As for hires, the board approved hiring Janssen as educational technology director beginning July 1. In addition, Allison Braaten, Kayla Carroll and Kelly Biel were hired as paraprofessionals.

Fall coaching positions are as follows: Chris Mensink, head football; Andrew Pederson, assistant football; David Broadwater, junior varsity football; Aaron Janssen, ninth grade football; Tom Ostrom, eighth grade football; Andy Todd, volunteer football; Travis Malley, head volleyball; Kristi Rindels, junior varsity volleyball; Cassie Keene, ninth grade volleyball and Kari Berg and Elisha Himli, cheerleading and dance.

Several service contracts were accepted as well. Erickson Hearing Services will give audiology services for the next school year for $83.50 per hour flat rate. The Southern Minnesota Education Consortium will provide a vision consultant/teacher for 16 at $80 per hour, a $10 increase from the current year. The Consortium will also provide a school psychologist for 40 days at $80 per hour. Finally, the deaf/hard-of-hearing consultant will be available for 5.5 days at $80 per hour.

An additional eight days were granted to Ethan Lapham as the agriculture instructor for summer activities. This gives him a maximum of 18 days for the FFA Learning Plot and FFA activities.

Summer rec staff approved were Kaitlynn Aug, Colten Kraling, Logan Corson, Sam Rustad, Walker Ward, Maggie McKernan, Molly McKernan, Domanic Merkel, Nick Marzolf, Mason Berg, Hope Sexton, Hadrian Williams, Kjerstiana Corson, Zach Haugerud, Madison Krage, Wyatt Breeser, Raen Johnson, Ashlyn Simon, Makayla Braaten and Kellty Ristau.

Other business

The board approved a resolution placing support staff on seasonal leave, four open enrollment requests for kindergarten students next year and the interstate enrollment agreement with Howard-Winneshiek Schools. A few Howard-Winneshiek students will be attending Fillmore Central and a student in the Lime Springs area will be attending Howard-Winneshiek.

A quote for football stadium seating was presented to the board and approved for $88,863. The new seating will be leg-truss grandstands, 10 rows high and 90 feet long for 513 seats. The bleachers would be elevated when installed, but they will not be put in until the summer of 2019.

The board also approved a quote from Allied Electrostatic to repaint all the lockers in the high school hallways and visitor locker-room and the first reading of a policy for early kindergarten entrance.

The summer alternative learning program will be held one day per eight weeks. These days will be June 6, 13, 20 and 27, July 18 and 25 and Aug. 1 and 8. Students would attend from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marsha Dowe will be the teacher. This was approved.

This year the school missed three days of school due to inclement weather. The first day is excused, but the other two are to be made up. The early dismissal on Friday, April 27, was canceled to make a full student day and allow the last student day to be Friday, June 1.

Finally, the board approved the striping of the parking lot at the Preston site to help prevent accidents. It was also mentioned to put a couple 15-minute parking signs on a couple spots to allow easy access for parents to drop off their kids and sign them in.