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

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Parents voice concerns on school not meeting goals

 

December 5, 2019



A group of concerned parents and citizens came to voice their concerns over goals in the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) plan not being met at the recent school board meeting on November 26.

Under Minnesota law, school boards are required to adopt long-term, comprehensive strategic plans to improve teaching and learning—the WBWF plan. Moose Lake had five primary goals concerning student achievement, three of which were met and two were not. Goals for each year (or over multiple years) are created by an advisory committee that are to be made up of teachers, parents, staff, community residents, and even students.

One of the main concerns raised was how little input parents and community members had regarding the goals set as there were not any on the committee. The board agreed to schedule a special meeting on December 3 in order for those who raised concerns to share their input on the plan and its goals.

The special meeting was held on Tuesday night with parents, teachers, Superintendent Indihar, and a couple of board members to go over the WBWF plan.

A downward trend of test scores was cited for the past four years and parents shared their frustrations with needing change. Teachers and intervention specialists explained new strategies being implemented this year to improve student success, including focused mini lessons, small group learning sessions, frequent meetings between teachers to go over data to adjust curriculum, and paraprofessionals in the classroom. Superintendent Indihar stated the school has been meeting with experts to review their curriculum and make needed changes.

Screening for dyslexia and convergence disorder came into question. One of the newer assessment programs the school is using, FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers), is said to screen for dyslexia but does not give a definitive positive or negative determination. Convergence disorder is not currently being tested as the school opted out of screening. Superintendent Indihar was not able to elaborate on why the school made that decision.

High School Principal Billie Jo Steen did request community input on the best way to determine career and college readiness as the State leaves that to the schools to determine. ACT scores are currently used as a benchmark but since not all students take them (since the State no longer pays for the test), it does not give the most accurate picture of the students as a whole.

The updated WBWF plan will be considered for approval by the board at a special meeting on December 5.

In other business, the final results of the transportation audit were presented. The board approved to move forward with phase II which is cooperation with Barnum’s system. Tom Watson, who prepared the audit, hopes to have change options presented in late winter/early spring, with implementation beginning in fall of 2020. More details to come at a later date.

OTHER NOTES:

Motion passed to approve overnight trip to Minneapolis for the school choir in June of 2020.

Motion passed to recognize Cube Club as an official school club and approval of stipend for club advisor on the condition of having activities outside school hours; Ben Anderson opposed on financial grounds.

Board approved the Moose Lake Civic Center as the designated polling place for 2020.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for December 16 at 5 p.m. with the Truth in Taxation meeting to follow at 6 p.m.

 

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