By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake School Board updates priorities and goals


September 19, 2019

Lois Johnson

The Moose Lake School Board discussed updating the Strategic Goals for the next three to five years at a special meeting of the board on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

The categories for goals are: Student Learning and Achievement, Finance, Culture and Climate, and Build Community Relations and School and Community Pride.

The first goal was that Moose Lake Community School be a leader in learning and achievement.

There was a question about what it means to students to transfer to a college, and how many students are involved with earning college credits while in high school.

"I was thinking that we could contact some vocational schools," said Board Member Jerry Pederson. "What does it mean for kids to transfer into college?"

There was also discussion about vocational classes in high school that could give students the opportunity to learn about the different trades as possible future careers.

Superintendent Robert Indihar said that there may be funds available from the Northeast Service Cooperative for vocational programs. It was suggested that the Willow River and Barnum School Districts be contacted about the vocational programs and to share the costs.

It was also suggested that older students help younger students as they transition from sixth grade to seventh, and from juniors to seniors.

Lee Stevenson, who represents the teachers' union, said that seventh graders have helped the sixth graders transition to high school but that was not done all of the time.

Career planning was also discussed.

Board Chair Steve Blondo reported that his children do have the opportunity for career exploration in an advisory class.

Stephenson spoke about the Ramp Up program, where the curriculum is geared towards future careers. There is more focus on relationship building and restorative practices this year also, he said.

Several board members spoke about the students being globally prepared.

Indihar spoke about the Global Issues class. Stephenson said that Beckie Jackson face times with teachers in other countries for the students.

Board Member Kim Bohnsack said that being culturally aware was also important. Indihar agreed that being culturally aware was preparing the students for a job anywhere, not just in Moose Lake.

For finance, the goal is to strive to have eight weeks of unassigned expenditures on hand.

"I don't know if we've ever done that before," said Board Member Lisa Anderson-Reed. "It will take baby steps to get there."

It was suggested to develop methods to retain students and to promote bringing students back that have left the school district.

They also talked about the sale of school district property. The school district has turned the sale of the land over to F. I. Salter.

"F. I. Salter is going to sell the Shopko property and has a sign there," said Indihar. "There is no sign on our property."

Blondo suggested inviting the representative of F. I. Salter to come to a board meeting and give an update.

"We need to get houses built," said Board Member Julie Peterson. "How do you get a developer?"

Indihar said that he will take the school district property off the market during November and December and place it back on the market after the tax season.

For Culture and Climate, it was suggested that a representative of the PTA be invited to come to the school board meetings. Positive statements, such as "You are fantastic," could be posted in the school in areas where the students could see them.

Board Member Ben Anderson suggested that a list of who to go to when there is a problem be published.

Indihar said that there is the person that would be contacted first, such as the teacher. The next would be the principal and then the superintendent, if the problem was not resolved.

There was discussion about communicating with the public to answer questions that they may have, such as about the construction of the school or test scores. A public forum was suggested where a panel would answer the questions in a forum in the auditorium or people could come to the school board meetings a half hour early and speak with the board members.

"That's a great way to increase public relations," said Anderson-Reed. "We would be transparent."

It was also suggested to invite alumni to honor and recognize them for their achievements when they were students at Moose Lake High School. Classes that have reunions could tour the new school.

Promoting school pride and celebrating the positive was suggested.

"We focus too much on test scores," said Indihar. "We are not focusing on the positive. The board needs to recognize the students, teachers, and staff. At graduation, we can ask the former graduates to stand and be recognized."

It was also suggested that a positive board image and team building between the board members is also needed.


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