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Colfax High School offers up to 27 college credits

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Students at Colfax High School can now earn up to 27 college credits.

Two programs, the “Early College Credit” program for universities and the “Start College Now” program for technical schools, replace the program known as Youth Options, said John Dachel, Colfax High School principal, at the Colfax Board of Education’s September 17 meeting.

According to information Dachel provided to the school board, the college credit classes have 224  students enrolled.

The following classes are offered: Medical Terminology, three college credits (30 students enrolled); Horticulture, six college credits (19 students enrolled); Psychology (Distance Learning), three college credits (26 students enrolled); Accounting, four college credits (38 students enrolled); Microsoft Office Suite, two college credits (29 students enrolled); Sociology (Distance Learning) three college credits (26 students enrolled); Sign Language, two college credits (13 students enrolled); Publications, one college credit (25 students enrolled); Statistics, three college credits (18 students enrolled).

“These classes are very popular with our students. We’re getting a lot of bang for our buck,” Dachel said.

Jodi Kiekhafer, school board member, wondered if the college credit classes counted toward the high school credits students would need to graduate.

Dachel said the classes did also count toward high school credit.

Keep an eye on the October 3 Colfax Messenger for a story about the college credits and Distance Learning classes, Tim Devine, the facilitator, and the fun students had one afternoon in the Sign Language class.


During the public comments portion of the meeting, Terry Nichols, a Colfax school district resident, asked the school district about uploading meeting agendas and meeting minutes to the school district website.

Putting the agenda and the minutes on the website would help the school district communicate with the public and would help the district be more transparent, Nichols said.

Putting the agenda and the minutes on the school district’s website is technically possible, but someone would have to be in charge of doing it every month, and for a teacher, that would be an additional duty, said William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator.

Yingst also said he has been wondering about the viability of the school’s website and how many people actually visit the website looking for information.

The school district’s best communication tool seems to be social media, he said.

The Colfax school district meets all of the legal requirements for posting meeting notices and minutes, Yingst noted.

Communicating through Facebook is fine, but not all taxpayers, especially older taxpayers, are technologically savvy enough to access Facebook, Nichols said.

The school district sends out hard copies of the district newsletter to all residents in the school district “to make sure no one is left out,” Yingst said.

A few years back, the district newsletter was in a digital format, but some residents of the district did not have access to the technology, he said.

The school district publishes the agenda and the minutes in the Colfax Messenger. The agenda is a particular challenge because items change between the deadline for the newspaper, publication and the actual meeting date, Yingst said.

School board agendas also are posted in three public places.

When the agenda changes, then the school district must repost it in the public places, and sometimes the agenda changes two or three times and must be reposted two or three times. If the agenda was put up on the website, someone would have to change it on the website every time it is reposted to the public places, Yingst said.

Nichols said that while the school district publishes the agendas and the minutes in the Colfax Messenger, “not everyone gets the Colfax Messenger.”

Yingst said he would see what he could do but that he was not going to make any promises.

The Elk Mound school district posts the Elk Mound school newsletter on the district’s website. The newsletter includes, among other items, communications from the district administrator and all three principals as well as the minutes from the previous month’s Board of Education meeting.

The Boyceville school district has a page on the district website stating the newsletter is published four times per year and is mailed out to every address in the school district with a Boyceville or Wheeler address.

The Boyceville webpage also notes, however, that the school district extends into several other ZIP codes, and it is possible some district residents are not receiving a newsletter. The webpage instructs those who are not receiving a newsletter in the mail but would like to have one mailed to them to call the district office.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:

• Learned from Dachel that about 150 students had attended the Homecoming dance at Viking Bowl.

• Learned from Polly Rudi that state ACT testing will once again be mandatory for all juniors. The ACT test dates are February 20 and 21. Parents and students are asked to schedule any appointments or  vacations around the two dates in February,

• Learned that the third Friday in September count will not be available until next month’s meeting because the third Friday occurred after the school board meeting. The K-12 census currently places the number of people in the school district between the ages of four and 20 at 1,192.

• Learned that the school district had an increase in equalized value of 6.2 percent for 2018 based on an estimated valuation of $351,298,956. The increase in valuation is one of the largest in the state, Yingst said.

• Approved an energy efficiency exemption of $179,569 with savings of $20,721 for the LP buses and $24,644 in utility savings for the 2917-18 school year.

• Approved policies on the second reading pertaining to the early college credit program; job descriptions; part-time open enrollment; food services; and information security. The changes in the policies followed changes in state and federal law.

• Reviewed for a first reading a policy pertaining to school counseling and academic and career planning. 

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