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Glenwood City School Board hears updates on start of school year, construction

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — Building and district administrators provided updates on the student body, programming and building construction during the September 26 regular school board meeting.

Elementary principal Betsy Haltinner updated the board on the “Food Fight” challenge held with Boyceville as part of the homecoming celebration. She and middle/high school principal Pat Gretzlock estimate Glenwood City will keep the traveling trophy for providing the most non-perishable food items or money for local food pantries.

Haltinner reported district math teachers are involved with the UW – River Falls and UW – Eau Claire math grants, and district teachers Tristan Kittilson, Diane Nelson, and Matt Schutz are instructors who have been asked to speak to other math teachers in the state about growth mindset and connecting mathematics in other academic areas.

“We’re getting some recognition through the program,” Haltinner said. “The collaboration I’ve seen among our instructors is really exciting to me.”

Haltinner also said that the school had received feedback on the back-to-school open house. Most parents seem to have appreciated the timing of the open house, but many also said it they did not attend because there are children in the family who were already in middle school and high school and the family was already familiar with the school.

Haltinner said the PTC is planning a “Get to know your PTC” tailgate party prior to the October 7 home football game. There will be a $2 hot dog dinner offered, and fun games and activities for everyone to enjoy. The event will run from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The district’s Holiday Family Fun Night has also been set for December 15, and will involved plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Special Education Director Nicole Brite reported on the new IEP forms that the Department of Public Instruction requires all school districts to use as of January 1, 2017. The new forms have already been in use in some school districts since the 2015-16 school year.

Brite said the documents would take some time to get used to.

“We have the special education staff using the new forms as we start new IEPs,” Brite said, “just so they have a better idea of what we need.”

Gretzlock stated there are some minor “kinks” to work out with the physical plant of the middle and high schools, but the issues have not hindered instruction time in either school.

“I think every year of my three years as principal, the bells haven’t worked,” Gretzlock said. “This year we went through a week plus with no bells.”

He stated the teachers and students took the malfunctioning system well, and there were no issues with students lingering in the hallways between periods. Instead, he said, everyone seemed to work together to make sure school days went as smoothly as possible.

Gretzlock also reported on the homecoming festivities the week of September 19 – 23. He said there were only two hours of instruction time lost to activities during the day. Events like Powder Puff football were held after the JV football game on September 19, and boys volleyball was held during lunch period during the week.

He made particular note of the atmosphere at the 2016 Homecoming Pep Fest.

“A huge commendation goes out to Coach Strong,” Gretzlock said, “he was resourceful and opened up planning to the school. Overall, I think the students were very excited.”

District superintendent Tim Johnson informed the board the third Friday headcount indicated school enrollment included four more students than were included in the budget, which will bring in some extra state aid. He also said construction on the school buildings is mostly complete, with minor issues such as replacing the covers for the LED lighting in the school left to take care of.

“It should all be done by the second October meeting,” Johnson said.

In other business, the school board:

• Heard an update from personnel committee chair Jon Mrdutt regarding the parameters and timeline for a new compensation model. Mrdutt stated the committee hopes to have a concrete plan by May 2017.

• Received a thank you note from Holy Cross Lutheran Church regarding the district’s donation after Holy Cross allowed the district to hold summer school classes in the church.

• Learned all the buses had passed state inspection.

• Approved Christa Blaser and Beth Davis as co-advisors for the junior class.

• Voted to accept Tony Martinez as the new varsity baseball coach.

• Accepted the resignation of Tammy Erickson as the cheerleading coach. She will remain until the football season is complete.

• Approved Tristan Kittilson, formerly an assistant coach, as the head golf coach.

• Accepted David Popko as a new assistant golf coach.

• Voted to approve the financial and accounts payable reports.

• Approved youth options coursework for the fall and spring semesters.

• Accepted a donation of $1035.98 from the Knights of Columbus for the Special Education Department.

• Voted approval of a Football Booster Club donation of $425 for headsets.

• Approved a $1500 donation for cross country/track uniforms from Gary and Mary Jo Drinkman.