Cuts, food service, more occupy board

Dave DeMarsFeatured News, Sartell – St. Stephen0 Comments

by Dave DeMars

news@thenewsleaders.com

Cuts in probationary personnel were among the actions taken by the Sartell-St. Stephen school board at its May 21 meeting in the Sartell-St. Stephen High School Media Center.

Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert said it’s one of the most unpleasant tasks he has to perform, but it’s something that has to be done in order to right-size the district. In accordance with state statutes, the district severed contracts with eight probationary teachers. Depending on student numbers and other circumstances some of the nonrenewed teachers may be rehired.

“Economically we are fairly well off,” Schwiebert said, “but at the same time the demands for our dollars are as strong for all of us as administrators and board members. One of the most hated times of the year is in the spring of the year when we have to plan our staffing needs for the next year.”

Other actions of the board included approval of non-union contracts and calendars, approval of extended field trips for the choir and band, approval of the District Literacy Plan, and approval of the Language Instruction Educational Program for non-native speakers of the English language. The board also approved bids for reconstruction and upgrades of several roadways and projects in the district that are in need of repair.

Food service

The board also received a number of reports dealing with a broad range of subjects that are part and parcel of the modern-day education system. Among the reports was a food service report.

Food Service leadership members Brenda Braulick, Jayme Ericson and Felicia Kittok presented a report to the board on the state of the food service lunch program in the district. There will be some major changes in the management of the food service as longtime director Braulick will be retiring from that position on July 2. Ericson is scheduled to take over the position at that time.

Other noteworthy changes include the fact the district has the fewest number of students on free-and-reduced lunch when compared with similar surrounding districts; 63 percent of St. Cloud students are on free-and-reduced lunch while only 15.4 percent of Sartell students use that program.

Braulick also reported the food service has undergone review to determine strengths and weaknesses in the program. As a result, some changes will be made. Among the included changes is the move from a universal lunch menu to a more individualized menu to meet the tastes of different-aged children. Some menu items are not popular with younger children, Braulick said.

Along with that will come a three-tiered pricing system, elimination of the Sabre menu and a combining of favorite dishes to create one menu.

Instructional technology

The instructional technology report was presented by Kyle Breitkreutz, director of technology, and instructional technology specialists Amy Moe from Pine Meadow, Amanda Holstrom from the middle school and Tom Kuhn from the high school. Titled Telling Our Story, the report highlighted the successes of the technology area in facilitating a continuous learning model filled with a variety of technology-rich experiences.

Moe mentioned the success primary-school students enjoy in the area of coding for computers. Technology of all kinds makes learning more enjoyable for students and calls for new skills for teachers.

Holstrom described how green screens are being incorporated into the teaching plans of several different teachers. Various teachers, other than language arts, are finding ways to use green screens to produce more exciting and engaging lessons for students.

The use of technology takes what might have been a tedious task and turns it into something that engages students and keeps them interested in learning, Holstrom said.

Kuhn highlighted a number of different types of technology programs at the high-school level. Among the projects discussed was the library-card project which garnered ways to access not only the electronic library of Minnesota, but also the Great River Regional Library from the school.

Learning to incorporate graphics and layout slide shows and presentations in new and effective ways is also part of the technology program. Teachers also learned a variety of ways to improve their calendars and use the Schoology program more effectively.

District logo report

High School Principal Brenda Steve and Ryan Hauge, activities director,  reported on the new district logo and the process used to refresh and create a new district logo. According to Steve, a large number of stakeholders including alumni, coaches, teachers and parents took part in the discussions. A professional designer was hired.

During discussions, several stakeholders made clear some parts of the logo were sacrosanct and should not be removed from any new logo. Among the things that were defended were the shield, the color blue, the sabres and the scrolled ribbon around the shield. Presently there are some 25 or more logos of various types that are used to represent Sartell.

“We don’t have an official logo right now,” Schwiebert said. “We say here is the logo, but there is no defined one to use.”

There is no copyright on any logo and there probably will not be a copyright in the future.

As a result it’s likely Sartell will have a family of logos. The logos will be slightly different depending on where they are used and what they are used for. Presently there are a number of logos used in different ways; some are used for sports, others for activities and still others for different programs.

It seems many schools often have more than one logo to represent programs within a school rather than just the school itself.

Meeting change

The next school board meeting will be on Tuesday, June 19, at the District Service Center starting at 5 p.m.

photo by Dave DeMars
Members of Sartell-St Stephen Food Service (left to right) Jayme Ericson, food and nutrition supervisor, Felicia Kittok, assistant food service director, and Brenda Braulick, current food service director, presented a report to the board on successes, challenges and upcoming changes in the food service area in the Sartell-St. Stephen school district. Braulick will be retiring in the near future and Ericson will take her place.

photo by Dave DeMars
Tristen Nies (left) and Nick Juntenen compare sweatshirts they received at the May 21 Sartell-St. Stephen school board meeting. Nies and Juntenen, both seniors, have served as student representatives to the board and have faithfully given their reports on student activities at monthly meetings for the past two years. Nies will be attending the University of Minnesota and hopes to major in computer science while Juntenen will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and major in chemistry or physics.

photo by Dave DeMars
Tom Kuhn, high school technology director, points out some of the programs students and teachers learn to use in the Google Tools app.

photo by Dave DeMars
High school principal Brenda Steve and Activities Director Ryan Hauge explain why the district embarked on updating the district logo and how the process was undertaken as well as what was discovered in trying to update the logo.

Author: Dave DeMars

Born and raised in Wisconsin – a “Happy Days” high school experience. Attended UW-River Falls and followed their motto – “Where the free spirit prevails.” Four years in the Army Security Agency (Spies), 31 years teaching English and directing plays. Other jobs – gandy dancer, counselor at mental institution, snowmaker, apple picker, concrete finishing, janitor, furniture mover, appliance sales, insurance sales, media sales, real estate, and writer. I am skeptical to a fault and like all human being I am more oxymoron than I am anything else. I blog at http://www.curmudgeonstwist.net/

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