Dist. 84 board reviews last year, talks of this year at retreat

SLEEPY EYE — The District 84 Board of Education reviewed the last school year and talked of this school year at a retreat at Supt. John Cselovszski’s home Monday night.

Elementary teacher Jodi Arneson said grades 2-4 implemented the personalized learning model and Habits of Mind last year and saw great success academically and behaviorally.

“Our district test scores are awesome and show great growth,” Arneson reported. “We look forward to adding grades 1, 5 and 6 this school year. Staff is working over the summer to prepare for it.”

Arneson said students in grades 2-4 met each morning and discussed Habits of Mind and completed activities to enhance learning.

“Habits of mind teaches the whole learner how to be a good citizen in society and how to become a better learner. Students and staff really enjoyed it and will continue to teach it next year.”

Habits of Mind are persisting, managing impulsivity, listening with understanding and empathy, thinking flexibly, thinking about thinking, striving for accuracy, questioning and posing problems, applying past knowledge to new situations, thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, gathering data through all senses, creating, imagining, responding with wonderment and awe, taking responsibility risks, finding humor, thinking interdependently, and remaining open to continuous learning.

Arneson said a staff member from each grade will receiving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training in a particular module this summer.

Challenges Arneson listed include seeing more students with mental health needs.

“This is becoming a real challenge in the classroom,” Arneson said. “We are in continuous need of more resources for those students who struggle with mental illness.”

Cselovszki said he is excited to work with elementary teacher Samantha Schmidt on the curriculum plan. “She has lots of great, new ideas,” Csolovszki said.

Schmidt said Lauren Buckentine has done great work writing accounting and engineering curriculum and that personal learning will be restructured to accommodate guided reading.

“I think the guided reading approach will boost our test scores. We’re going to read, read, read this year,” Schmidt said.

High school principal Shane Laffen said 2019-2020 high school goals include successful implementation and reporting of Standards-Based Learning for all grades and Habits of Mind, increasing MCA scores, providing needed support to teachers and students to implement WIN (whatever I need) time and continuing to explore personalized learning.

Technology Coordinator Tyler Krehbiel said the Computers For Learning federal program brought 35 used computer laptops and 28 desktops to the school that were worth about $16,000.

He said 62 district surveillance cameras  trained mostly on school doors are monitored by three staffers including himself,

Board member Joleen Dittbenner asked about creating online school year registration. Laffen said he will look into the idea.