Things were not quite the same at the Blue Earth Area School Board meeting on Monday, June 10. The absence of Vickie Hanson was felt in the room with one less chair around the table where the board members sat and her name plate nowhere in sight.
Hanson unexpectedly passed away on Saturday, May 25. During Monday's board meeting, Chairperson Frankie Bly had to officially declare a vacancy on the board.
The School Board is hoping to appoint a new board member by their August meeting.
Applications can be submitted up until July 8, their next regular board meeting.
From there, the board members will review the applications, possibly schedule a special meeting or work session to make a decision and offer the position at the meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 12.
As for staffing positions for the school district, Superintendent Evan Gough states that only one position has not been filled, and that is the nursing position.
During the School Board meeting, an update on the Q-Comp program was presented by Donna Drescher, one of the leading advocates for the program at Blue Earth Area.
With her were individuals who have participated in various aspects of Q-Comp to share with the board their feelings on how things are going.
According to the Minnesota Department of Education, "The Q-Comp program is a school reform model that is designed to improve the instructional skills of teachers and increase student academic achievement."
This is the first year Q-Comp has been fully implemented at BEA.
"We had 84 percent of licensed staff who fully participated in all of the components," says Drescher.
Part of Q-Comp was the implementation of PLCs or Professional Learning Communities.
Abby Bloomquist, the high school language arts teacher, shares her thoughts on PLCs.
"I have learned a lot just from the advice and suggestions that I?get within PLC sessions,"?says Bloomquist. "As far as instructional strategy, being able to have that common discussion has allowed me to reach a wider range of learners."
Tom Plocker, the high school math teacher, was at the meeting as well to give his thoughts on peer coaching.
The process is having a teacher request a peer to observe them and give them valuable feedback.
"The system that was set up is very well organized and the documentation of everything is very clear cut," says Plocker.
Another aspect is the mentor/mentee program where an experienced teacher acts as a mentor to a newly hired teacher. The mentor would be available to answer any questions the mentee would have throughout the year.
In other business;
The School Board approved a resolution accepting a health savings account plan;
The board will enter into discussion with the southwest conference to see if it will be a better fit for the athletics department than the south central conference;
Modifications to the 2013-14 school calendar were made and approved;
The original budget proposal for 2013-14 school year was approved;
School Board meeting dates will continue to be on the second Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m.;
The following personnel changes were approved: contract for Elizabeth Kollasch, special education; resignations of Laura Jensen (fifth grade teacher), Marissa Lehmann (middle school math), Alex Schmidt (second grade teacher) and Sue Sonnek (cook); retirements of Sharon Hoyt (school nurse), and Paul Schavey (custodian); a lane change for Jodee Lund from BA to BA +15; maternity leave for Nicolle Mutschler; and the termination of Melanie Hannaman (probationary paraprofessional); and
A Youth Services International agreement for Elmore Academy was approved by the board.