It was movie night at the Blue Earth Area School Board meeting last Monday night.
Actually, the board members watched two different videos during the course of the meeting.
The first one was presented by staff members Sheri Schneider and Kathy Bell.
School board members were invited to lunch last week at the high school, where an Indian dish was prepared by a gourmet chef from the school’s food service provider.
It was a video they had shot in Bell's classroom that morning, showing her fourth grade students doing a 'number talk' group session.
The sessions, from five to 10 minutes long, have students in a group solving math problems in their heads, then 'defending' their answers, telling how they got the answer.
This technique involves using both work (problem solving) and social (explaining the answer) parts of the brain, Schneider said.
"We have seen where in the past the boys do better at math, but this program has both boys and girls giving the answers and defending them."
She had another item to show as far as the number talks program goes.
"We had come to the board earlier and explained this new program we are doing," Schneider said. "And chairman (Frankie) Bly had asked us how we were going to chart the progress of the students and the teachers."
She showed how there is a complete chart of the progress so far, and they will continue to do so.
The other video was much more poignant.
School superintendent Evan Gough said that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the video had been created by the Faribault and Martin counties Human Services departments.
Done to the song "Alyssa Lies" by Jason Michael Carroll, it showed numerous statistics for the two local counties, as far as child abuse cases.
The 272 cases reported in this area last year involved 367 kids. Of those cases, 60 percent were for neglect, 29 percent involved physical abuse and eight percent sexual abuse.
Superintendent Gough said that is just the reported cases.
"Unfortunately our principals and staff have to deal with these types of issues nearly every single day here at Blue Earth Area," Gough said.
In other business at the meeting, the School Board:
Heard reports from the four principals that included information on the middle school student service day on May 5, a mock crash at the fairgrounds set for April 26, prom set for April 29, senior trip to Valley Fair on May 24.
Also noted was the fact next year's freshmen will have to pass a Minnesota Civics Test by 60 percent or more before they graduate.
Approved some personnel items, including the hiring of Robert Ziegler as a custodian, accepted the resignation of Abbie Bloomquist as high school English/language arts teacher, and also accepted the notice of retirement from Karen Tweto, transportation and maintenance secretary.
Approved the list of spring sports coaches, which has some changes and additions from the list the board had approved at the beginning of the school year.
Heard an update from superintendent Gough which included information on the current legislative session.
"The biggest question is 'where will they land' as far as the fiscal year 2018 budget for schools," Gough said.
He also reported that it is School Nutrition Employee Month, and in recognition of that, the school's food service provider, Taher, will be having a gourmet chef come and prepare lunch on Tuesday, April 11.
Gough invited members of the School Board to come have lunch at the high school that day.
Gough also informed the board that he would be presenting the preliminary FY 18 budget for the July 2017 to June 2018 school year at the next meeting, in May.
Accepted a 'Notice of Desire to Negotiate' from the BEA Education Association (teacher's union) and will look at some dates for the meetings for the next teacher's contract to begin.