Superintendent Jeff Drake shared updated numbers with an overall decline for Fergus Falls students continuing 100% distance learning since the beginning of the second semester. Grades 9-12 are down to 115 students fully distance learning while grades 5 and 8 have 22 each, grade 6 has 18, and grade 7 has 21. While the school is still gathering data on pass/fail rates for the first semester, initial data indicates that slightly more students earned failing grades than in the past and of those students, they failed more classes. “As a percentage, the number of students who failed one or more courses was significantly higher if the student was a 100% distance learning student,” explained Drake at Monday’s school board meeting.
COVID-19 data has seen a decrease within the schools since the start of the semester. “Vaccinations here for our community and staff have gone much faster than initially predicted,” shared Drake, stating that as of late they have seen a decrease in cases to two cases per week throughout the district. Presently, there are only 50 staff members who are interested in receiving the vaccine that have not yet had the opportunity to receive it.
Other details discussed are as follows:
• Lincoln School’s move-in date may require deviation due to the requirement to climatize tile flooring, which is no fault of either Comstock or Seland’s Abbey Flooring Center.
• 544 Education Foundation scholarships are now live on their website for high school senior students.
• 544 Education Foundation has allocated $5,000 to Backcourt Club for an outdoor basketball court project.
• The Fergus Falls City Council will be meeting to determine the future of the Bigwood Event Center, which is the location class reunions have been held in the past.
• Gov. Tim Walz has planned a tax increase on higher income citizens to reallocate funding to assist lower income families within school districts across the state.
• Minnesota State High School League has determined that state tournaments will be held over a course of five weeks, ranging from March 12 through April 10, with no consolation games to be held.
• Support staff hires include Brandlee Davis, ECFE classroom aide at Heritage effective Feb. 22 and Andrea Loegering, special education paraprofessional effective Feb. 1.
• Mishon Samuelson, special education paraprofessional at Kennedy Secondary School, is retiring effective Feb. 19 after 11 years of service. The school board thanked her for her dedicated service.
• Rebecca Piece, special education teacher at Cleveland Elementary resigned effective the end of the 2020-21 school year.