GHEC board adopts policy change

GRANADA — The Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board has approved a change in the district’s bullying policy.

The board on Thursday transitioned to the Minnesota School Boards Association bullying policy, as opposed to the Minnesota Department of Education policy, which the school adopted in 2015.

“Out of the recommendation of our attorney, she suggested we follow MSBA’s policy because it allows some more flexibility for school districts,” said GHEC Superintendent Mandy Fletcher. “There’s a lot of similarities between them, though.”

Fletcher went on to say that changing the bullying policy came about, in part, because of an increase in issues regarding cell phone use by students.

“The district’s policy is that cell phones are not allowed to be used during class unless the teacher asks them to use it for an educational purpose,” she said. “It’s an ongoing battle that every district has.”

Fletcher said cell phone use is always a topic during meetings, and administrators stress to teachers the importance of staying consistent and following the policy.

“Last year, we put a lot of students on a cell phone plan,” she said. “They had to use a check-in system at the beginning of the day and turn their cell phone into the office for abusing either the technology policy, harassing other kids or not using it appropriately.”

School boards members entertained the possibility of having students keep their phones locked in their locker throughout the school day, which would require creating a new policy.

“For what it’s worth, it’s not just kids it’s for adults too. My [workplace] has a policy too,” said board member Chris Pytleski.

Other board members agreed that if students are expected to follow the no-cell phone policy, teachers should follow it too.

In other business at the meeting, Fletcher shared the back-to-school workshop schedule.

Monday, Aug. 27, will be a day for the four new teachers — Chelsea Green, phy ed/health; Adam Walker, fifth grade; Keisha Glienke, special ed; and Jessica Koskovich, English.

On Aug. 28 there will be a back-to-school breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by meetings and a presentation on social media, as well as a PBIS update. The entire staff will be there.

On Aug. 28, from 5-7 p.m., there will be an open house for parents and students. Students can bring supplies and put them in their lockers, get their schedules and meet with teachers.

Aug. 30 is a day for all of the district’s teachers. Topics will include professional development, tech training and a literacy standards workshop led by an instructor from Bethany Lutheran College.

“It’s a full week but it will be a really good week,” Fletcher said.

Turning to another matter, school board chairman Bryan Nowicki shared the board’s evaluation of Fletcher. He reported she met all of goals of the previous year, and the district is in good shape when it comes to administration. The four main goals achieved were in student achievement, finance/budget, legislative and political and professional development.

In other news, the board:

o Approved a contract for Chelsea Green as the K-12 phy ed/health teacher for 2018-19.

o Approved a contract for Lacey Meixell as a part-time paraprofessional for 2018-19.

o Approved a contract for Amy Subbert as a full-time paraprofessional for 2018-19.