Booster club works on school spirit

NEW ULM — The District 88 School Board heard updates on the Unified Booster Club, Washington Learning Center (WLC) programs and Kids Connection during its study session Thursday.

Unified Booster Club President Shannon Frauenholtz went over the club’s efforts to continue enhancing school spirit by supporting the district’s sports and music programs.

Frauenholtz said from 2018 to 2019 the club experienced a jump in funds raised at an amount of nearly $20,000.

She said from fundraisers alone, about $52,000 was raised last year, with an additional $15,000 received from memberships and another $4,500 from program advertising. She told the board exact numbers and figures could be retrieved upon request.

Raising school spirit and pride is one main focus for the club, Frauenholtz said. One way they have done this is by helping raise funds for the all-conference and all-state banners in New Ulm High School’s gymnasium.

Frauenholtz said the booster club is focusing on receiving more support from team coaches, representatives and parents. She said parents are especially needed for concession and clothing stands at sporting events.

Board member Christie Dewanz brought up her observation of the difficulty of finding a means to volunteer via a schedule or sign-up process.

Frauenholtz acknowledged the booster club hasn’t done the best job asking parents to volunteer in a timely fashion. She said they’re working on creating a schedule for opportunities in the future.

“That’s what we’ve been working on,” booster club Vice President Rob Bute told the board. “Getting our parents more engaged and active. It’s growing each year and we’re hoping to continue progress with that.”

Bute, a social studies teacher at the high school, said he’s heard kids are becoming more unified within the building.

“It’s a process,” he said. “It takes time, and we make a lot of mistakes but that’s a part of the process of growing, I think.”

In other business, the board heard presentations on program updates at Washington Learning Center.

Crystal Fleck, community education coordinator, told the board community education classes continue to be a success at WLC. However, she said, community education classes are in need of more instructors.

“We’re trying to reach out to people who want to participate in instructing classes for next fall,” Fleck told the board.

She said some youth programs they’re looking at in particular are drama, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and dodgeball. Adult classes in need of instructors are computers, cooking, arts and crafts, health and wellness and do-it-yourself projects.

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) Coordinator Betty Uehling said ECFE received a five-year grant from the Minnesota Department of Education for a pyramid model.

A pyramid model is a teaching approach that provides a systematic framework that promotes social and emotional development while providing support for childrens’ appropriate behavior, preventing challenging behavior and addressing problematic behavior.

Uehling said she doesn’t know the exact amount the grant will provide, however it’s based on the amount of students attending WLC.

“It’s nice because it will get teachers and paraprofessionals trained on the same behavior system,” she said. “So everyone will have the same expectations.”

Uehling said Kindergarten Kickstart, a late-summer program tha familiarizes pre-kindergarten children with schools, will continue this summer as well.

She told the board the changes to kindergarten registration at WLC are a success, and the school plans to continue the new method.

Uehling said this school year, instead of providing just a tour of the building, WLC gathered parents and children and split them into groups where smaller more interactive tours were provided.

Stef Dietz, Little Kids and Kids Connection coordinator, said the preschool-aged programs for pre-kindergarten children are expanding in enrollment.

Little Kids Connection, now in its third operation year, is up eight students from last year, Dietz said. She said curriculum-based activities continue to be the main method of teaching young children. The program continues into the summer, and five students are enrolled.

In addition to the expansion, Dietz said new program rates will begin during the 2019 to 2020 school year.

The new rates are: $4.50 for a.m., up from $4.25; $6.80 for p.m., up from $6.55; $27.25 for all-day, up 25 cents; a half-day fee of $23, up from $21; $36 for all day drop-ins, up $1; $25 for half-day drop-ins. Morning and afternoon rates remain at $6 and $8 respectively.

The next regular board meeting will be held 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in the district boardroom at 414 S. Payne St.

Gage Cureton can be emailed at