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MCW looking for superintendent

SHERBURN — The Martin County West School Board reorganized and swore in the new members, Mark Wohlhuter, Jeff Scholl and Darren Thate. They also approved the officers as follows: Chairman, Sarah Rohman; Vice-chair, Wendi Russenberger; Clerk, Laura Borchardt; Treasurer, Mark Wohlhuter; Directors, Darren Thate and Jeff Scholl. The committee assignments were chosen: Buildings and grounds committee, Mark W., Jeff S. and Darren T.; Curriculum and technology, Sarah R. and Jeff S.; Staff development, Laura B. and Darren T.; Community education and Ag. advisory, Laura B. and Darren T.; Attendance and communications, Sarah R. and Mark W.; Special education, Wendy R.; and Personnel, Sarah R. and Mark W.

The board heard a presentation from South Central Coop about the process for interviewing candidates for the position of superintendent. There are several steps with interviews by board and community committee members. They plan to hire a superintendent before July 1, 2021.

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Ryan Baker from the school board.

There is a vacancy on the school board and the process for filling that position was discussed. Information will be posted on the school district’s website and Facebook page for those interested in applying for the position. The board discussed the options for hiring a firm for the superintendent search and approved hiring the South Central Coop.

The board approved the enrollment options for the next school year and was told that the open enrollment percentage at MCW was above other area schools at 50 percent. They approved the administration to discuss what is needed next school year and bring their recommendations and reasons to the school board. There were some other yearly housekeeping approvals for insurance bids and banking issues done. They accepted the resignation of Chad Brusky as athletic director and approved moving the position to Mr. Klima. They accepted with thanks the donation of $500 from Fareway Stores for MCW families and a donation of an electro warmer for the welding program from American Welding and Gas Company.

Chad Brusky, acting superintendent, reported that the server was hacked but that last summer the board had wisely taken insurance to cover the possibility. The server was fixed and new parts are on order to hopefully prevent any virus or hacking. The problem happened on Sunday and one day, Monday, the server was down. There was not a lot of personal information hacked. As the patch was being installed the problem was found. The technologist Mark Larkoski was a huge help. Hardware was replaced and a specialist was flown in. Insurance covering this was very good sense it would have been very expensive to solve the problem. Mr. Brusky remarked, “We are pretty dependent on technology especially now. It was a big learning experience.” Some laptops in Trimont have had some damage from sanitizer and the order to replace them may take 3 to 6 months. There may be some laptops from the high school to use.

Michelle Baker, Dean of Students, reported that there will be an in-service on Jan. 25 with Jen Jones reading specialist. They have been talking to each grade level and discussing concerns and re-establishing expectations. Mrs. Baker remarked that “It’s like the first day of school repeated as the students enter hybrid and person to person learning again.” The teachers are trying to make sure everyone follows procedures and makes it safe as possible. Some high-risk students that are falling behind are being returned to school as they can although rearranging rooms has been creative at times.

The second-semester schedule and fall registration are in the works. They are also planning for the best-case scenario such as prom and senior class trip plans but each plan takes three scenarios like 1) if the event happens what to plan, 2) If the event does not happen, and 3) What to plan to replace it. There has been lots of planning and flexibility.

They are working with credit recovery since passing necessary classes is a concern.

When Mr. Klima, athletic director, reported that the conference approved charging for admission to games and that each athlete could get two tickets per game, the administration decided to give two tickets to each athlete to eliminate each family not being able to afford to attend a game and support their child. There will be an opportunity for the community to donate. Baker said, “Our community and parents have done an incredible job of communicating with us and bringing their child to school. We don’t want to create a situation where people can’t afford to go to a game and support their kids.” The school board agreed with her and told her they thought that was a great idea. Spacing in the gym and season passes was a learning experience during volleyball season. The bus drivers asked if they could come into the gym and sit way back at games. This will be discussed. Sitting on a bus in the winter is not pleasant.

Each building has faculty meetings. The National Honor Society will have a video available to recognize the seniors in the society. Juniors will be recognized in April.

ACT tests will hopefully be given to 90 students that have requested them on March 2. Daily updates for scholarships and college information are offered on the school district website.

Chad Pederson, assistant principal at the elementary school, reported that the children and the teachers were excited and happy to be back in school. Having Jan. 4th off to prepare for in-person learning was crucial. Leadership teams are facilitating and running well. He remarked that he was learning from the teachers as to the buildings and policies and systems of the district. He said, “We have a lot of bright, talented people and will use their skills to improve the school environment.” The Jump Rope fundraiser earning over $1600 more than their goal of $2000 was one of the things the teachers initiated. The second grade earned a pizza party for the most fun race. He remarked, “The hardworking people in our schools are teaching students citizenship skills at a young age.” Jake Lewis was sent a letter of commendation.

Mr. Brusky asked if the next meeting could be on Feb. 18 at the media center.

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