Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum board considers discontinuing candidate forum due to poor attendance


September 13, 2018

The Barnum school students got off to a good first day, Principals Brian Kazmierczak and Judy Vitito reported to the Barnum School Board at a working meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

“There were lots of smiles,” said Kazmierczak. “It was a good first day. The Bomb Squad were present and visible to help the seventh grade students.”

Kazmierczak also reported that the open house was well attended. The looser schedule during the open house was well liked.

“With the teachers in the auditorium, it was much better,” he said. “The seventh grade orientation for the students and parents was very good.”

Vitito reported that she has a busy week the previous week.

“We have productive meetings with staff,” she said. “We looked at where Barnum has been and are looking forward to what we can do. There was a steady crowd at the open house.

“Today, I visited every classroom and told all 365 kids that I needed their help in learning everyone’s name.”

Vitito announced that an assembly was set for that Friday for all of the staff, including the bus drivers.

The PTO had purchased t-shirts for everyone.

“That will get the school spirit up and running,” she said.

Vitito also talked about the Community Club that had donated $3,500 in school supplies and equipment. She will attend the club’s meeting and thank them, she said.

Community Ed coordinator Roxy Olsen-Hurst reported that many students have been signed up for the pre-school programs. Kids are interested in the Gun Safety Field Day. The kids will be split into three groups and work together.

The board discussed whether to host a candidate forum where school district residents can hear the candidates running for the school board answer questions.

Several members of the board pointed out that past forums were poorly attended.

“Social media is best,” said Pat Poirier. “I don’t think that the community comes that much anymore.”

Board Chair Paul Coughlin agreed.

“People just acquire information differently,” he said.

A list of questions that will be asked of the school board candidates was presented. The board members suggested several changes. A rough draft will be presented at the Sept. 18 school board meeting, said Superintendent Dave Bottem.

The board also discussed the procedure for selecting a student school board representative.

“I can ask the teachers to nominate someone,” offered Brian Kazmierczak. “I will let them know what their role will be.”

The board decided that it would be best if the student representative sit at the board table, which hasn’t been the case in the past.

Poirier asked about the plans for the Reading Corps.

Vitito explained that a teacher and a tutor is needed. Those require a lot of training.

“We are not closing the door,” she said. “We are a huge supporter of it. We will take it slow. If we have a tutor, we will go with it. If someone isn’t trained by January, we won’t be doing it. I do see a benefit for our students.”

The monthly meeting of the board has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m.


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