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GLENWOOD CITY — For the first time in several months, the Glenwood City board of education met in its regular board room when it convened for its one and only regular session for the month of June a week ago Monday evening.
During that June 14 meeting, the board took care of several items including approving funds for a new English Language Arts (ELA) resource for the elementary school and improvements to the current baseball field. The seven-member board also approved several personnel changes including five resignation, four of which were teaching staff and the addition of the well-discussed model teacher compensation package to the employee handbook.
The Glenwood City Elementary ELA Resource team which consisted of classroom teachers Misty Ohman, Kelly Riesselman, and Sarah Nichols, and Title 1 education specialist Nicole Langman along with elementary principal Betsy Haltinner gave a power-point presentation to the board on the team’s year-long search for a new English Language Resource that would encompass the entire 4K through fifth grade levels that would meet all criteria, include performance tasks for all units, and allow for teacher flexibility and incorporate options.
The group was excited to inform the board that it had decided on a resource that would meet all those parameters, “My View Literacy”.
The ELA resource team had sample materials that it shared with school board members, telling them that this new resource would align with the new Wisconsin standards
Principal Haltinner noted that the cost of the program was quoted at $55,000 for a six-year contract but that she had already negotiated the price down to under $53,000.
Superintendent Tim Johnson noted that this new ELA resource proposal is a about a year ahead of when consideration for new materials would normally take place. He added that the board was also going to asked to approved the purchase of $35,000 in new resource materials for sixth through 12th grade social studies program during the meeting as well.
“This (ELA resource purchase) is out of order by a year, I’m still recommending that we move forward with this purchase,” stated Johnson.
He said that the district would be using ESSER II (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Funds which are part of the federal COVID stimulus to pay for the resource.
“And that’s really how this conversation originated,” continued Johnson. “When I met with grade level teams, I believe we’re going to have some money, what can we do to support you instructionally? And it was a resounding theme that we needed a resource like that. So that’s where we got to I really do believe that the grade level teams, the individual teachers, that when we talk about the process of how it’s supposed to work, this is a great example of what the teachers want, using outside resources and third parties to guide decisions to make a good choice for Glenwood City.”
“It’s an advantage to move forward if you’re in agreement tonight, because the supplies will be here in July or early August, we will have the resources and some of the professional development leaders by then as well,” Johnson told the board.
Later in the meeting the board unanimously approved the expenditure of up to $53,000, funded by ESSER II monies, for the new ELA resource for the elementary as well as just over $36,000 for new social study resources for 6th-12th grade.
The board also approved the expenditure of $225,660 for improvements to the current baseball field based on a project estimate from Cedar Corporation.
Discussions about the current baseball field have been taking place for well over a year and included possible relocation to a different area on the school’s property that was not as susceptible to flooding from ground water.
But, Johnson said this current proposal would maintain the current playing field which would have the top 12 to 18 inches of top soil removed by Albrightson Excavating of Woodville to accommodate the placement of new drain tile and storm sewer and the removal of the dugouts and their concrete pads. The actual elevation of the field itself would not change much except to remove the outfield crown that was part of the old football field. The proposal does not include any monies for fence or lighting improvements, or the building of new dugouts.
After protracted talks and revisions over the past four to five months, the proposed language change to the employee handbook 20.01 compensation also referred to as the “Model Teacher” status was passed by a 4 to 3 margin with members Lisa Kaiser, Jon Mrdutt, Chuck Draxler, and Sally Standaert voting in the affirmative while Jodi Main, Steve Davis, and Lori Klinger voted against the new compensation model.
Essentially the Model Teacher status is a merit-based pay scale where teaching staff that have reached the professional teacher level 6 step, which is paid an annual salary of $53,500, could advance to Model Teacher status through a successful summative evaluation and completion of the model teacher form thereby moving to a pay scale that ranges from $58,600 to nearly $70,000 per year.
The potential rub, however, could occur when a long-term educator already has a salary in the range of the new Model Teacher pay scale but has not yet achieved that designation. Such employees would be given up to six years to attain “model teacher” status. If the candidate does not successfully reach that status after that period the new language in the employee handbook would allow the district to take the necessary action to adjust employment status or place the teacher at the determined level of performance and corresponding pay which, in some case, would mean a significant reduction in a teacher’s annual salary.
“I guess my big thing is I already worry about Model Teacher when we’re not even getting teachers to stay 12 years,” said newest board member Jodi Main.
“I’ve said this many times, I don’t approve taking away pay from people,” she added prior to the vote.
During the administrative reports portion of the meeting, high school/middle school principal Patrick Gretzlock was excited to inform the board on Glenwood City students recent success in taking the ACT.
Gretzlock said the Class of 2021 scores were not only some of the best in our CESA district but throughout the state.
He said Glenwood City students had consistently scored higher than the state average in math, reading, science, english, and that its writing score has been among the top 10 percent the last four years and was among the top four schools out of roughly 500 schools statewide this past year.
During a power-point presentation to the board, Gretzlock pointed out that the Glenwood City’s composite ACT score of 21.9 not only bested the state average of 19.8 but was tops among the nine Dunn-St. Croix conference schools and put them in a first place tie with Hudson drawing comparisons to a conference and sectional championship the school might win with such records in the sporting arena.
“If we truly remember what schools are here for first, the academics, this is a phenomenal accomplishment. This is something that’s truly incredible,” Gretzlock told board members.
“I just wanted to share that with you, share a little bit of excitement about what that means for us here,” added Gretzlock. “And hopefully build some pride in the things that we’ve been able to accomplish.”
In other action, the board:
•Approved the resignations of Spanish teacher Jacob Letter, ELA teacher Emily Minor, elementary teachers Tristan and Carly Kittilson, and custodian Carol Quinn.
•Approved the hiring of Bruce Kaiser as a custodian, Sarah Nichols as an assistant cross country coach, Mandy Kohler as elementary yearbook advisor, Ron Hanestad as middle school football coach, Cassandra Prieve for middle school yearbook advisor.
•Accepted a $1,200 donation from Fred Draeger and Waylon Duval for sensory room supplies.
Following the closed session, the board reconvened in open session to approved the hirings of Ryan McVeigh as the new transportation director, Nichelle Baier as a high school English teacher, Jordyn Kern and Lisa Johnson as elementary school teachers, and Justin Young as the middle school ELA teacher.