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MCW hears substation plans

The Martin County West School Board met last week. They heard two presentations as a beginning to the evening. An operations manager from Federated Rural Electric Coop told the board about some plans for a new substation north of Casey’s in Sherburn. They would like to replace the old substation downtown in Sherburn and bring the town up to the amount of energy the rest of the REA members can use possibly in 2022. The old line is near that property and the new line would be connected mostly underground and far enough from the school. They would also landscape the area. More information will be given as the plan progresses. The second presentation was from class officers of the MCW class of 2021 who told the board of their plans for their senior class trip to South Dakota. They will go May 16-22 this year. An itinerary was passed out and the class thanked the board for their help.

The board approved the new handbook and the school calendar for 2021-2022. There is a plan to have teacher workshops once a month on a Wednesday. The subjects for the workshops would be reading, social-emotional learning, and later they would move into grade-level groups to help build a curriculum that would work for grades K-12.

The board also approved staff reductions, renewals and resignations. The interim superintendent, Chad Bruskey, said he would like to “thank all the staff and teachers for a good job done during this most difficult year.”

Spring coaches were named: Nate Klima for softball; Kolton Larson for track and field; and Steven Zehms, volunteer for baseball.

The summer ball coordinators were also named: Ashley Olson for softball, and Nikole Bowie for baseball, along with local resources.

The group health insurance from South Central Service Coop was explained by Mr. Bruskey. This is done every two years. There were two bid opportunities and the Coop was chosen because of the benefits offered and the enrollment of educators which needed to be 50 percent with more enrollment leading to better premiums.

The strategic planning with staff and community sections will be held. This is done every three to five years and will cost about $5,300.

Reports began with the interim superintendent as he explained the hiring and reductions in staff and the need to shuffle positions. The high school will have more College in School classes. These are long-term changes and not necessarily funded with Covid Cares money.

Trimont graduation is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on May 4, and the whole school and some community members are involved.

Chad Pederson, the elementary principal, reported about the scores of testing and COVID concerns. There will be a Field Day on May 27. The goals for the 2021-2022 school year are in the works. Michelle Baker, Junior/Senior High School Principal, reported that there are some COVID numbers still around but it is getting less and leveling out. Some families are really struggling as well as some students. The Credit Recovery program is ongoing and teachers are really helping students, especially the seniors.

There will be a Jr./Sr. Prom on Saturday, April 24, a National Honor Society ceremony on May 7, although both will be different from past events. Graduation is being worked on and navigating the COVID protocol and restrictions is hard.

The spring sports schedule is up and a survey will be planned to let the district know what athletics and extracurricular events the students plan to participate in.

The board discussed the snow days of Jan. 15 and March 15. After discussions and diverse plans that could happen, they decided to forgive the days for all staff and students in appreciation for their great cooperation and work during this tough year. COVID protocol asks not to gather in groups and that helped to make their decision too. The grounds committee reported that the Welcome facility is being worked on to keep it safe. COVID monies may be used.

The technology committee asked for more direction although they just had a few meetings and they are rotated between the school buildings.

Donations were gratefully accepted from the City of Trimont ($500), Sherburn Lions Club ($500) and REA ($1,552) for the summer ball projects.

The next meeting of the MCW School Board will be 6:30 p.m. on May 17 in the high school cafeteria. The meetings are live-streamed and information is also on the district’s web page.

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