11/19/20 Business Meeting
The following is an informal summary of the meeting.
Two new school board members, Beverly Petrie and Alison Sherman, were sworn into office at the start of the meeting.
The school board recognized Adventure Club staff who have been working nearly non-stop since March to provide emergency childcare to Tier 1 emergency workers throughout the pandemic.
Report for Information: Course Additions, Revisions, and Deletions
The school board received a recommendation from the Curriculum Advisory Council to consider several high school course changes and additions for the coming year. The committee, which is made up of staff, parents and students, recommended 7 course name changes and 3 course revisions. They also recommended the addition of 5 new courses including: Social Studies- Ethnic and Cultural Studies; Pathways Global Elective- Directed Study; PE/Health- Personal Leadership; PE/Health- Careers in Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport; and Fish and Wildlife II. The board is expected to take action on the recommendation at the December meeting.
Report for Information: Contract Reviews
School board members reviewed recent contracts for goods and services equaling less than $50,000.
Report for Information: Enrollment Report
The school board received a comprehensive student enrollment report, which included enrollment retention and history trends along with an overview of where resident students are choosing to attend school. According to the report the district has seen a decline in enrollment this year, which is likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer students open enrolled into our district, and there was an increase in those who have chosen private, charter or home school. The district continued to see strong retention of students who have enrolled in our preschool program, with 83% staying in Stillwater schools as kindergarten students.
Report for Information: On the Dial Learning Update
District leaders shared the latest COVID-19 trend data for the county, the school district, and specific school buildings. Administration recommended moving elementary schools into distance learning beginning Nov. 25 and keeping all students in grades K-12 in distance learning through the end of the second quarter (January 22, 2021). As part of the plan, specialized programs including the St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center and Special Education programs would also move to distance or enhanced distance learning. In addition, the district would “pause” preschool and all in-person Community Education programs in alignment with the Governor’s latest executive order 20-99. Administration would reassess the situation in early January, and if it is safe to do so, could begin bringing students back into hybrid using a phased approach. The recommendation was made in light of the increasing spread of COVID-19 in our greater community, as well as the impact that is having on our ability to safely operate school buildings. (See Action Item below).
Report for Information: First Reading – Policy 510 – Shared Time Students
The school board reviewed a Shared Time Students policy as a first reading. This policy addresses non-public or homeschooled students enrolled part-time in the district. The policy will be brought back for a second reading at a future meeting.
Report for Information: First Reading – Policy 721.1 - Board Approval of Contracts and Expenditures
The school board reviewed a policy related to board approval of contracts and expenditures. The policy was designed to provide a clear and consistent process for Board required approval of contracts and expenditures.
Action Item: District Learning Model
The school board voted 6-1 to move all K-12 students to distance learning and pause preschool programming until Jan. 25, which is the end of the second quarter. Middle and high school students are already in distance learning, and with this action, elementary students will move into distance learning next week. As part of the plan, the St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center will also move into distance learning and Special Education programs will move to enhanced distance learning. In addition, the district will pause all in-person Community Education programs in alignment with the Governor’s latest Executive Order 20-99. If it is safe to do so, the district would begin bringing students back into hybrid learning after Winter Break using a phased approach with a priority on the youngest and most dependent learners.
Action Item: End of Grant COVID Relief Funds (CRF)
The school board voted 7-0 to purchase 250 teacher laptops and 650 student iPads at a cost of $542,987. The new technology will be paid for as part of the COVID Relief Funds grant. The new laptops will replace aging laptops originally purchased from 2012 to 2015 and will allow teachers to unlock a variety of online teaching tools that are currently inaccessible on older machines. The iPads will be distributed to kindergarten students in distance learning as an additional learning tool, allowing the touch manipulation of digital objects, tracing of letters and numbers, and more independent use. When we return to a traditional learning environment, the iPads would be used in classrooms to support learning.