Fillmore Central School Board discusses school calendar for next year

By : 
Bretta Grabau
News Leader

At the Fillmore Central School Board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the board contemplated the school calendar for the 2019-2020 year.

After the calendar committee discussed the calendar, the elementary member, Jeanette Burns, noted an issue regarding winter break and when school could end. This particular year, Dec. 23 lands on a Monday, and the school has typically had a half-day of school prior to Christmas Eve. Burns commented elementary teachers would prefer to end school on Friday, Dec. 20, instead of adding a half-day on Monday, Dec. 23.

The other item brought up was how to handle the normal MEA break. According to Superintendent Richard Keith, MEA has been changed, becoming a conference only for members and now only a one-day conference. Since this change has been made, the thought from the committee was to have school on Thursday morning, a staff day in the afternoon and no school on Friday. The discussion regarding this focused on if the half-day were not taken, another day would be added at the end of the year. If the half-day on Dec. 23 were not implemented, the teachers would have to come in June instead of finishing in May.

As previously stated, the half-day on Dec. 23 had not been discussed as a part of the committee meeting, so the board tabled the approval until next month after the committee could discuss the ramifications of dropping the half-day on Dec. 23.

Reports

Principal Heath Olstad made his report to the board noting FFA week was Feb. 18 to 22, and Snow-Daze activities were to take place the week of the meeting. He also noted the ACT test was to be taken earlier this month, but was delayed due to a snow day. The test will be given instead on March 12.

Olstad updated the board on how the flex learning days have worked. The flex learning days, which are utilized when students cannot make it to school due to bad weather, had a harsh initiation starting with four days in a row. Olstad said the staff has been doing a good job with them and submitting a summary of the day and courses from the teachers. He stated it was interesting to see a high percentage of students participating one day, and another day has a low percentage participating. However, the homework still is completed. Overall, he stated the board made a great decision to move to flex days.

Dean of Students Chris Mensink also gave his report. The Math Wizards competed at Kingsland on Feb. 4 and at Chatfield on Feb. 11 and I Love to Read Month activities were held throughout the month. The ECFE father/daughter dance was held on Feb. 11 with another great turnout. The first grade VIP lunch was held on Friday, Feb. 8. ALICE training for the elementary was to take place on Feb. 15, however was rescheduled due to an unforeseeable circumstance.

The Harmony Arts Council provided funds to have musicians come for the Artist in Residency activity for the elementary students on Feb. 28. Students from kindergarten through sixth grade were able to participate this year.

Sixth grade students will again be in D.A.R.E.

The Milk Moola label race concluded with the first graders in seventh place with 4,808. Fifth grade came in sixth with 6,000, fourth grade placed fifth with 6,390 and fourth grade came in with 7,106. Kindergarten placed third with 8,954, third grade placed second with 9,029 and in first place was sixth grade with 9,790.

Winter tournaments began, with the one-act being the conference champions, placing second at subsections and fourth at sections. Spring sports will be starting on March 11, with a couple softball coaching positions yet to be filled. There will be no school on March 29 for a teachers workshop.

Director of Special Education Micki Breitsprecher updated the board on the pyramid model the preschool and special education programs collaborated to submit for a competitive grant application. If chosen, the grant will provide fiscal support to enhance the school’s emotional learning within the preschool programs for the next five years. Breitsprecher noted it was the hope that by the third or fourth year, the daycare could be pulled in as well as kindergarten. As a part of the process, the school board needed to approve Fillmore Central to participate in the technical assistance as part of a signed fiscal contract to receive financial support and external coaching. This was done, and notification of acceptance with the innovation was to be provided to districts on March 5.

The Fillmore Central’s ECSE-12 extended school year classes will be offered this summer in a similar format as in the past years. The program will be offered in 10 sessions for two consecutive weeks in August. These dates are Aug. 5 to 9 and Aug. 12 to 16 from 8 to 11 a.m.

The SEAC winter gathering will be held on March 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the B&B Olympic Bowl. The Special Athletic Competition will be held in Winona on May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Personnel

The board approved the resignation of Melissa Heron as SADD advisor and hired Amanda Thomas to replace her.

Diane Strahl was hired to be in the day care for up to 20 hours per week.

Several leaves of absence were also approved: maternity leave for Kelsey Woellert at the beginning of next school year and Megan Brown at the end of the current year; family medical leave for Traci Assmus; and military leave for Brandi Mayer beginning on Oct. 1, 2019, to September 2020 while she is placed on active duty.

A memorandum of understanding was approved for paying an assistant speech coach an $800 stipend since there are over 20 students competing in speech again this year.

Coaches for spring sports approved are David Broadwater, assistant baseball; Don Schoepski, junior high baseball; Jordan O’Connor, softball volunteer; Andy Todd, junior high golf; Dylan Isola, assistant speech; and Matt Patterson, assistant musical.

The board approved Joe Rye as the ESY teacher and Connie Berg as ECSE ESY teacher.

Other business

An interstate enrollment request was approved for students living in the Decorah district to attend Fillmore Central. Howard-Winneshiek will address this at its March meeting.

The Frontline Education contract was approved for the Teachers on Call absence and substitute management system.

Finally, a joint meeting will be held with the Harmony City Council and the Harmony EDA on Tuesday, March 12, at 5:30 p.m.