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ELC watches kids PROSPER

Lenertz reviews program’s benefits

October 15, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Estherville Lincoln Central 5-8 principal and curriculum director Deb Lenertz told the board of education Monday night about the great things that are happening with kids in the district through the PROSPER community partnership.

Recalling that, beginning 12 years ago, that for 10 years ELC was one of two districts in the state funded by a PROSPER grant, Lenertz reviewed the Strengthening Families program planned for sixth-graders this spring. She said the program pulled in teachers from Forest Ridge and other districts.

In October/November 2011 the Strengthening Families grant:

n Recruited 43 families.

n Had 39 families in one session.

n Had 29 families in four of seven sessions.

n Had 28 percent of the sixth-grade class participating - 25 percent is considered a success.

Spring 2013 delivery of the Strengthening Families 10-14 program is planned for current sixth-graders.

Lenertz said that due to staffing changes the seventh-graders did not receive the school-based component. She said there are plans to train new staff with spring 2013 delivery of the All Stars Program.

Lenertz said the Prosper team also includes students.

In another matter, superintendent Tara Paul presented numbers to the board showing that the daycare budget will be negative in December. "I think it's time we take a hard look at our daycare," Paul said.

One key area of concern is what the district charges for infants through toddlers - $91.20 average for 32 hours a week compared to $126.90 for DHS-certified programs throughout the county as a whole. If charges were increased to the county average, Paul said there would be a monthly surplus.

Another concern Paul noted was inconsistent numbers month to month - particularly in the summer - leading to staffing uncertainties.

Board president Jodie Greig said to salvage the program the district needs to find a way for it to work more efficiently.

Paul said most of the program cost is in salaries and benefits, so there's very little that can be cut back. She said she wants to have a public meeting with parents to provide information and that she'll prepare some options to present parents.

The board also heard administrative reports, including Justin Bouse, pre-K-4 principal, who updated efforts to address the School in Need of Assistance designation for mathematics and the watch list for reading at Roosevelt.

Bouse said staff had focused on the two most needed improvements - sharing a common vision for math and a viable curriculum. He said staff will meet Oct. 25 to develop an action plan.

"This is the result of one test. We need to keep that in mind," Bouse said.

Lenertz said the Roosevelt staff will have the K-12 math team at its disposal.

Lenertz also said the middle school is focusing on "moving outside ourselves" this fall. She said the student council will lead Red Ribbon Week and that the 7-8 dance will be held Oct. 27 at the middle school. She also said the Family and Consumer Science class will make blankets for Good Sam residents.

Frank Christenson, high-school principal, said ELC had received three STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) grants that will go toward projects in the new vo-ag program, alternative fuel cells and robotics.

Brad Leonard, activities director, noted fall activities were wrapping up and that a play will be held Nov. 2-3. He also pointed to the 78.9 superior rating the marching band had received recently - the highest in 12 years.

The board also heard a report on the Regional Wellness Center from director Bob Grems who said regular hours were extended to 8:30 p.m. the first Sunday in October.

In another matter, Paul said she would bring a proposed insurance waiver for parents of student athletes who decline insurance.

The board set a public hearing date of 5:10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 to set an early start calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

In presenting an unofficial certified enrollment update, Paul said the district was up one student from a year ago.



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