As the last week of January began Monday the Fergus Falls School Board addressed seven items of new business in separate votes. 

Six of the new business items called for annual board action.

The first was a resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions. The board then approved fundraiser requests to be held between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30. The third was a resolution supporting the school’s application to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) for a form B grant. The board also OK’d the purchase of a service agreement for transportation of children and youth in foster care, gave a nod to the 2020 seniority list for ISD 544 and approved a lease between the district and the state of Minnesota Department of Public Safety for motorcycle training in the vocational wing parking lot.

The board also approved a proclamation by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recognizing the state’s paraprofessionals during the week of Jan. 27-31. The state has more than 20,000 paras providing services in multiple settings within schools. 

With Superintendent Jeff Drake absent, board members heard from elementary principals Scott Colbeck and Tindy Rund and secondary principal, Dean Monke on testing results and goals, efforts to engage parents in school activities, the work teachers are doing on improving attendance and the efforts of school counselors in prepping students for the coming school year of 2020-21.

Monke gave the board figures on graduation rates from Kennedy (95%), the Alternative Learning Center (19%) and the i.Q. Academy (44.9%) and the average of the three (68.8%).

“There’s plenty of room for improvement,” Monke said. 

All three principals agreed that regular attendance was a key factor in good test scores and saluted their teachers’ efforts keeping attendance figures high.

“The No. 1 thing they’re trying to do is building relationships and keep the kids in school,” Monke said.

Approved by general consent were five personnel moves including: 

• The hiring of Sandy Sundblad as an iQ Academy special education teacher.

• The hiring of James Divine as a long-term special education paraprofessional at Kennedy Secondary School.

• The resignation of Kennedy Secondary School custodian Jonah Hove.

• Rescinding the teaching contract rights of iQ Academy teacher Gina Busch of .083 FTE.

• Rescinding the teaching contract right of iQ teacher Ann Skoe of .1667 FTE.

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