Due to the space concerns and needing to add additional classroom sections at Cleveland School, the School Board made the decision to move the fifth-grade to Kennedy Secondary School at the Feb. 13 School Board meeting. During the Feb. 27 work session, the School Board heard options for student placement at Kennedy Secondary School for next year.

The recommended plan would place all of the fifth- and sixth-grade sections in the current middle school wing; and seventh- and eighth-grade sections in the current sixth-grade wing and along the middle school FACS and industrial technology hallway on the lower level. The timeline for approval is set for the March 13 School Board meeting.

The rationale for this recommendation includes:

1. Grades 5-6 and grades 7-8 would each have their own separate wing.

2. Grade 8 would not be located in the high school wing next year

3. Grades 5 and 6 would be close to the new playground, and would be in the center of the building close to the office, auditorium, physical education space, cafeteria, media center and music rooms.

The partner classes for the prairie science classes would be located on the top floor of the middle school wing for easy access to the bus-loading zone for transportation to and from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.

At this time, we are busy planning the details related to moving many classroom contents at the end of the year, assigning teachers new classrooms and ordering furniture, lockers and playground equipment. It is anticipated that the School Board will change the last day of school to May 31, instead of June 1, to give staff additional time to pack boxes and prepare for the move.

Middle school playground

Students representing grades 4-8 met with a playground representative on Thursday. They had a blast recommending equipment for the new playground. One key aspect of middle school playground is the focus on developing upper-body strength.

Popular playground items included rope climbers and fitness clusters, along with swings and benches. The playground will be located on the practice field, which was the location of the old baseball field. The playground committee meeting scheduled at 5 p.m. on March 8 has been cancelled due to the lack of participation. The new playground plans are scheduled to be approved at the March 13 School Board meeting. The goal is to have it installed before the start of school year in the fall.

Additional staff

for 2017-18

With enrollment continuing to grow in the elementary classes, the School Board approved additional sections to reduce class size in grades 3, 4, 5 (two sections) and sixth-grade, along with an additional counselor for grades 5-12. There are also plans to add additional staff to provide academic support for reading and math students in grades 3-6.

School board vacancy

At Monday’s School Board meeting, the board regretfully accepted Darrel Tungseth’s resignation from the School Board. The Fergus Falls School Board is currently in the process of appointing a new member to serve until a required election is held (as of today, it would be Nov. 7, 2017); and will be using the same process they used in previous mid-term appointments to the School Board.

If you are interested in this position, please complete an application, attach your resumé and return the documents to the superintendent’s office by noon March 13. The application is available at the superintendent’s office (Kennedy Secondary School, 601 Randolph Ave., Fergus Falls, MN) or online at isd544.org. To be considered you must be a resident of the Fergus Falls School District ISD 544 and must pass a background check.

After the application deadline, the School Board will review the applications to select candidates to interview. Following the interviews, an appointment will be made at a tentative March 29 special school board meeting.

Jerry Ness is the superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools. His column appears every Wednesday.

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