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School board tours River Bend facilities, learns about programs

River Bend Education District Director Doug Hazen leads the New Ulm School Board on a tour of the River Bend building.

NEW ULM — The District 88 School Board took a tour of the River Bend Education building Thursday and received an update on the facilities’ programming.

River Bend Director Doug Hazen said the building will be undergoing changes for next year. The school currently leases part of the Thriveon building. The 33 students in the Thriveon building will be brought over to the main building.

Hazen spoke on the programs at River Bend. The Raptor program is for upper elementary and middle school students with autism, who perform better in smaller groups.

The Rise Program is a kindergarten through 12th-grade program for students with developmental cognitive disabilities (DCD).

The WORK program is a 9-12 program that simulates a work environment to create school-to-work plans and develop career plans.

The Area Learning Center (ALC) is for students 7-12 grades who need an alternative to the traditional school setting. ALC has smaller classes to provide an individual learning plan for each student.

Hazen said the ALC has 91 students with 12 possible graduates.

The last area toured was the emotional and behavioral disorders program.

River Bend has operated out of the building at 1315 S. Broadway St. for 11 years. Hazen said nearly every summer the facility has undergone major construction. This year a construction project will create a new hallway to access the gym. New office space will be constructed in the current ALC  library. Other programs will shift locations in the building.

“We have to shrink down some of our programs,” Hazen said. “We’ve been making some cuts at River Bend.”

These cuts include some full-time teachers and mental health portions of programs.

Hazen said there is a waiting list to get into every program in the school. A single opening is available in one of the 3rd-5th grade programs.

The next regular school board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 25, at the District Office at 414 S. Payne St.

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