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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake school adds make-up day


April 25, 2019

Moose Lake school students will only have to make up one day for the weather-related school closings, it was decided at the Moose Lake School Board meeting on Monday, April 15.

The last day, a half day, of school was to have been Thursday, May 30, but now the last day will be a half day on Friday, May 31.

Superintendent Robert Indihar explained that school was closed five days during the winter because of extreme cold or snow. The first day was forgiven and does not need to be made up. The teachers came to school on Jan. 31 and don’t have to make up that day. They will make up the other two days the first week of June.

The Legislature approved Governor Tim Walz’s recommendation that school closings for several days would be forgiven in schools throughout the state.

In his recommendation, Indihar stated that he would need to report to the Commissioner of Education that school was held one less day than the statute required. However, the minimum required hours for all grades was met.

Chrissy Gamst met with the board to discuss a Restorative Justice program.

She explained that Restorative Justice is a program where two people that have a conflict meet with others in a circle and discuss the conflict, how each felt during the conflict and discuss solutions.

“Students learn lifelong skills in conflict resolution,” she pointed out.

She suggested that two high school homerooms be chosen as a pilot program and meet on Mondays and Fridays. The program could be implemented later in the elementary grades, she said.

The benefits of the program are accountability, skill building, relationship building and finding common ground.

It was pointed out that there has been a Restorative Justice program in the high school for a short time. Gamst said that she has sat in on a circle in the high school.

“The two that had a conflict came out as friends,” she said. “They sat down, faced each other, and told how the conflict affected me. They felt kind of stupid (about the conflict) afterwards.

“This is low-level drama stuff. If someone is in danger, that’s a different thing.”

Indihar told the board that Gamst would meet with the high school and elementary principals and work out the details.

Elementary Principal Kraig Konietzko reported that the Restorative Justice Program would work well with the new PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Program) that the elementary school will have next year.

Konietzko went into a lengthy explanation about the three-year plan to bring test scores up in the elementary school.

“We will focus on two ways to do this,” he said. “One is to focus on the special education kids and the second is to take a more in-depth look at categories, like free and reduced lunch students.”

Because of the low test scores, funding for a consultant is provided. The consultant has come to the school several times and advised the staff as they developed the plan, said Konietzko.

“We have a plan for three years,” he added. “This is year one. There will be professional development taking place over the next two years.”

The goals are to bring the test scores up to 63 percent by 2021, he said.

Indihar said that a summary of the plan will be posted on the school’s website.

High School Principal Billie Jo Steen reported that the digital art curriculum will be shared online for students in the area schools participating in the shared classes.

“Tracy Kill (the art instructor) has front-loaded a lot of the classes already,” she said. “We are working on the catalog right now. I will have more information in May. I’ve also been working with UMD. We may also offer College in the School classes.”

In other business, the board accepted a donation of amplifiers from the Department of Corrections, approved renewing the membership in the Northern Lights Special Education Cooperative for 2019-2020, and appointed the list of election judges for the May 14 school district special election.

A special meeting of the board was set for Monday, April 22, about the school district-owned land along Highway 73.

The next monthly meeting of the board was set for Monday, May 20 at 6 p.m.


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