March 23, 2018: March School Board Meeting Review

March 23, 2018

Hello, Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools!  This week I’m going to share with you a summary of the regularly scheduled monthly school board meeting that was held this past Monday, March 19th.


The board celebrated the Black River Falls EMS, specifically Jody Stoker and Steve Collins.  The EMS has been a generous partner to the district. Whether it is in hosting the many field trips that travel to the station, driving the ambulances to Forrest Street to give our younger students an up-close look at all of their equipment, or assisting with the CPR and First Aid training for all of our coaching staff.  Their dedication to our community regarding safety and education are much appreciated!


The board voted to continue our current partnership with the Co-Op Credit Union in the form of the Tiger Credit Union housed at the high school. The board further communicated that they would appreciate making sure that when we are looking for speakers in classrooms that we consider asking representatives from all of our local lending institutions and not solely the Credit Union.


For the Focus on Purpose this month Mrs. Nortman, middle school Family Consumer Sciences teacher, brought Kaylee Sweno and Mia Handly to share their FCCLA project with the Board.  The girls shared their project of donating tie fleece blankets to the oncology departments at local hospitals. They did a fantastic job presenting their process and final project outcomes!  Congratulations to them for qualifying for state competition and for representing BRFMS so professionally and compassionately.


The board reviewed the feedback from the family and staff perception surveys that were recently administered.  We have much to celebrate! We also explained that the next steps for that data is that the Continuous Improvement Planning teams from each building will work with their specific building data to identify areas for improvement, (as well as celebration), in the creation of their plans for the coming year.  Scorecards will be updated and shared.


The board reviewed the first reading of a large number of policies that were recommended from the Policy Committee.  They will receive a second reading at our April Board Mtg.


As always, the District Administrators Report contains several interesting items, but that are a bit randomly grouped together.


Red Creek Elementary raised $26,940.44 from their Jump Rope for Heart efforts.  That is not a mistake--truly amazing! Congratulations to Andy Osegard and Mary Danielson for their coordination efforts!


The annual District Joint Spring Banquet is scheduled for April 25 at Castle Hill Supper Club.


The budget recommendations were taken off the agenda because the Insurance Committee is still investigating options.  As health insurance is our second highest expense, we cannot finalize a budget recommendation until we lock in what our health insurance costs will be.  The Insurance Committee meets again on Thursday, March 22. The board scheduled a special meeting for April 11 for a first hearing on the budget recommendations.  Immediately following that board meeting, we will share the budget recommendations in the buildings to gather feedback before the board meeting on April 16th in which it will be an action item.  


Paul Rykken has been selected to participate in the Gilder Lehrman fellowship once again this summer!  The topic he will be delving into is Eisenhauer and the Art of Presidential Leadership. Congratulations to him and we continue to be impressed with his dedication to being a lifelong learner!


In the reports from the buildings Forrest Street and Red Creek highlighted the role of their literacy coaches and the critical role they play in their improvement efforts across the buildings.  The middle school talked about the new process for job shadows for our 8th graders this year. We share appreciation with Carol Nortman, Brian Stemper, and Stephanie Brueggen for making it happen--along with many other staff members' coordinated efforts!  Lisa McCullough and Michelle Wood talked about the new after-school tutoring program at the high school and their increased efforts to provide kids with the help they need to be successful, as well as the opportunity to hold them accountable for their grades.  


Finally, The Board went into closed session to discuss the staff feedback and to prepare their annual evaluation of the superintendent.


As always, thank you for your support of the School District of Black River Falls.    If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!

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