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Fairmont School Board studies donated funds

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont School Board on Tuesday discussed donations from Parents In Education. The group has given more than $150,000 over the years to fulfill teachers’ requests for activities and equipment.

This school year, PIE donated $28,000. However, only $24,477 in requests were received.

“We received 21 proposals this year, which is a much lower number than what we received in the past,” noted school board member Julie Laue.

She believes this is because several technology upgrades have been implemented in the district and that is what many of the PIE grants are typically used for.

To obtain PIE grants, teachers and staff at the elementary and high schools make proposals. This year, some of the money went toward CER youth scholarships, beginner reading books, sensory needs equipment, flexible classroom seating, a camera for the yearbook, books for Spanish reading library and iPads.

PIE allocated the excess funding to a stipend for the high school musical piano accompanist. Some also will go toward the high school robotics program, with the rest earmarked for elementary maker space.

“There was extra money in the Hunt fund, so what we decided to do with the $7,236, we put it toward the STEM innovation grants,” said Superintendent Joe Brown, referring to ag land the district owns and rents out for farming.

Moving to other matters, board member Nicole Green provided a science curriculum committee meeting update. She said they discussed new science standards the state is implementing. The state is shifting when classes should be offered to students. Earth science will now be taught in sixth grade, life science in seventh grade and physical science in eighth grade. It is highly recommended that districts provide physics in ninth grade, chemistry in 10th and biology in 11th.

“In addition to those, we’ll have college in the school chemistry and college in the school physics,” Green said. “We’re also offering college in the school anatomy and physiology, and we have an electricity and magnetism elective.”

Students need three science credits to graduate. Two are pre-determined and one is an elective.

On the topic of science, Brown said he had recently met with the science department and discussed the importance of faculty developing comprehensive online syllabi so students can look a semester in advance to see what will happen in their class. Brown said several teachers in different departments have already made a commitment to provide an online syllabus a semester in advance, and there is now a push to do it in the science department.

The board accepted the following grants:

o $1,350 from Fairmont Firefighter Relief for CER elementary basketball program.

o $500 from Fairmont Firefighter Relief for second-grade field trip to Como Zoo.

o $100 from Bruce and Jayne Peymann for Fairmont High School cardinal account – activities.

o $950 from Martin County Youth Foundation for CER after-school science enrichment program/Prairie Ecology Bus.

The board approved the following personnel hires:

o LaRae Rahm as a supervisory noon aide.

o Mark Washa as a custodian.

o Megan Aust as an Early Childhood Special Education paraprofessional.

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