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GLENWOOD CITY — Following a closed-door executive session, the Glenwood City board of education reconvened in open session and approved the hiring of several new members to the district’s teaching staff.
This came after the board had approved the resignations of special education teacher Amanda Rosenberger, and David Weikel, Family and Consumer Science instructor, earlier in the Monday, May 10 regular board meeting. The meeting was once again held in the commons area although only five community members were in attendance.
Five people were tabbed by the board to fill current teaching vacancies in the district.
Deanna Larson and Elizabeth Stadtherr were approved as special education teachers, Shelbi McGuire will be a new elementary teacher, Ron Hanestad was chosen as a science instructor, and Mariah Smith will fill the newly created position of interventionist to work with students in the elementary and middle schools.
During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, board member Steve Davis questioned why the district was experiencing a high level of turnover in employees.
“Can I ask one question?” began Davis.
“Do we have any idea why we’re having such a large turnover in employees?” queried Davis.
“I think that some people have obviously talked to you or associated administrators and gotten some answers,” replied board president Dr. Lisa Kaiser to Davis.
Superintendent Tim Johnson then interjected saying, “I don’t know if I have a clear, ‘this is the path’ but there are different personal reasons in there, their family lives, vocation of spouses, their choice on their role in providing care to their children. There’s been a couple that have chosen to go to a different district that I would assume could answer, you know, when we talk about in exit interviews, as to why Glenwood City is not the right place for them.”
“But, there isn’t a one theme that I can say,” concluded Johnson.
Under the consent agenda, the board also approved a donation of $1,099 from the Glenwood City Football Boosters for the renewal of the Hudl video software, the return of fall athletic coaches and the resignation of custodian Joe Stack.
Administrators touched on several subjects during their reports to the board.
One of the most pertinent was an academic update from high school/middle school principal Patrick Gretzlock.
“My report is in regard to academics, specifically at the high school. Throughout the course of the year, we visited and revisited this topic in regards to our students and their progress with being in school and not being in school,” began Gretzlock.
“Nicole (Brite) alluded to it earlier and I’m kind of going to piggyback off that when we talk about high school summer credit remediation opportunities,” Gretzlock continued.
“So the first thing is looking at the students at last year. We did not give failing grades, however we gave incompletes or passes,” he added. “So at the end of last year we’re talking about 60 high school students that had not received a passing grade.”
At the beginning of the current year, Gretzlock stated that 56 students were still carrying at least one incomplete from the fourth quarter of last year.
Although the current number has declined dramatically to 11 students, that still leaves those 11 students credit deficient. Even though it’s not a failure right now, they still do not earn the credit.
“So each of those 11 students are going to be invited that to summer school for remediation,” stated Gretzlock.
He also reminded the board that earlier this year, particularly during the period in mid-November to early December when the high school/middle schools went virtual for a few weeks, the percentage of students in the high school that failed a class or were failing a class at any given time had risen as high as 65 percent plus of the high school’s entire student body.
Gretzlock said he would love to tell the board that administrators and staff had done a great job of getting kids on board especially with virtual learning; statistics, however, say otherwise.
“When I ran my “F List” for both the first and now second semesters, we have 35 students right now in the high school alone, that’s 18 percent, that have either failed or are failing a semester class,” said Gretzlock. “That’s a pretty significant number!”
In the previous five years, semester failures were closer to 15 noted Gretzlock.
“My number one priority as a building principal is to help students earn their diploma,” concluded Gretzlock. “We have to figure out a way, and when I say that I mean collectively as a school district, to do that so our students have the tools and skills they will need to be successful.”
The district director of pupil services, Nicole Brite, had given the board an overview of the 2021 summer school programs prior to Gretzlock’s report. In her address, Brite noted that high school credit remediation was slated for June 1-25 from 8 a.m. to noon with Brenda Johnson serving as the instructor. An elementary remediation period has also been scheduled for August 2-6 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. for grades 4K through fifth.
In addition, Brite noted that an elementary enrichment program will run in the mornings from June 14 to 25, and that already has over 100 registered students. Several sports skills programs will be held from June 1 through July 30.
Elementary principal Betsy Haltinner said that several events have been planned for the final three weeks of school including grade-level track and field meets, a dance and games day, the PALS Barnyard sponsored by the high school agriculture students and FFA members, and an awards program for the Glenwood City Senior Center’s 2020 and 2021 essay contest winners.
Instrumental music educator Matt Lamb attended the meeting to present the board with the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Best Community Recognition award.
The NAMM award for music education, now in its 22nd year, is given to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide ease of access and education for all students.
Lamb noted that this is the fifth straight year that Glenwood City has received the distinction and is the smallest district to receive the honor this year. In all, only 500 districts nationwide received this award.
Finally, the board:
• Approved a new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through REALiving at a annual cost of around $5,000 (about $50 per employee).
• Approved the final reading of Student Attendance Policy 430 to now include St. Croix County’s procedures for truancy.
• Tabled action on the proposed model teacher compensation program.