Community partnership pitched to schools

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Alluminator member Trenton Beranek leads the team’s robot around with a reflector strip as a demonstration of the robotics team at the high school during a school board study session.

NEW ULM — A new community partnership was pitched to the District 88 Board of Education Thursday during a study session.

Tami Murphy and Carisa Buegler of the Workforce Development Committee, along with Principal Mark Bergmann, presented an idea to better serve the community.

“If we partnered up, we could figure out what the businesses in the community are asking for and then we can put together a curriculum and an assessment for students,” Bergmann said.

The partnership would work by teaming up teachers with a committee of community members. Through that, the businesses could relate what they needed from newly-hired workers.

An assessment and training program would be implemented at the high school. Students would be tested, either on paper or by interview or any number of possibilities.

If they passed, the student would receive a certification. In turn, when a student with that certificate applied they could get preferential treatment because a business knows they have received the training.

If a student fails the assessment, they would go through a training program to teach them that skill.

The idea came from a meeting Bergmann had with the committee, which sprung from the Vision Conference in 2016. In the meeting businesses told him what students seemed to lack.

“Some of the businesses brought up that the students cannot do what we need them to do,” Murphy said. “They cannot do the minimum of what we need. They cannot do the reading that we need them to do, they cannot do the mathematics that we need them to do.”

Afterward, he started working on how the school could adjust the curriculum to better serve the community.

The program is still in its infancy and questions on certain details still linger, but the school board seemed welcoming to the idea.

“I think our legislators should hear about this because this is really what schools were created for — for the communities,” Board Chair Duane Winter said. “Now all the control has been taken away by the state and the federal (government), and all of these standards, and the standards still are not preparing our kids for what we need locally. It is pathetic.”

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