#23 February 21, 2020

23.  February 21, 2020

Hello Black River Falls community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the SDBRF, and I’m here to share this weeks’ Spotlight on Schools. Today I will be sharing a brief recap of the discussions and decisions that were made at the monthly Board Meeting that was held on Monday, February 17th.

Luanne Meyer joined us to share with the Board the summary/outline of what the Strengthening Families Program entails.  Our County has been forward thinking in securing many certified trainers to be able to offer this program to students and families.  It is a research based program that provides explicit training to parents, activities for the students, and then whole family activities designed to strengthen the family structure and avoid risky behaviors.  

There was a request by a community member for the SDBRF Board of Education members to consider forwarding a resolution to articulate its support of Public Education in our state and that there be some limits made to the existing voucher system.  There was much discussion around the fundamental differences between public tax dollars supporting public education versus public tax dollars supporting private and religious schools. The discussion highlighted the fact that continued increases in public spending on voucher schools is negatively impacting funding for public education and that the current tax base cannot support two parallel education systems.  Carol Hornby, community member, urged the School Board Members to stand up for Public Education as our Board Policy articulates. There were no specific ideas for resolutions discussed. A motion was made in support of crafting such resolutions and failed 4-2. The topic will likely be brought back for additional discussion.

In employment recommendations the Board was pleased to offer congratulations to Todd Fendt, who has been teaching in BRF since 1991, and Carol Nortman, who came to BRF in 1989, as they both plan to head into retirement this spring!  Both currently work at the MS and have been doing great things for our kids and families for years! We wish them both many years of retired bliss! :)

Extra and Co-Curricular Handbook changes:  Jay Weinman shared with the Board some adjustments to the handbook that have been put into place.  He worked with Chris Stalheim and a group of parents, coaches, and students, to make the recommended changes.  The emphasis is in providing our students with opportunities to shine, provide systemic consequences when they make poor decisions, but also remembering that they are kids.

Facility Process:  There are two evening community conversations scheduled to talk about our current facility needs.  The first is March 10th, 6:00-8:00 pm at the HS and March 30, 6:00-8:00 pm at Forrest Street. All are welcome to join us!  The second meeting will build off of the first one, so attending both would be helpful to get the complete picture. We will be advertising these two opportunities FAR and WIDE!  Please help to spread the word!

The building budget center allocations were approved.  This means that the buildings can begin crafting their annual budgets.

Forrest Street and Red Creek shared their first round of iReady testing and articulated their growth toward their goals.  Both have done the fall and mid-year testing at this time. Final goal achievement will be measured when the test is given in the spring.  There are some pockets of excellent growth to celebrate, and some areas that need their PLC teams to dig into and do some collective brainstorming!

Dr. Kielbasa was extremely complimentary of all of the adults (and students) who have transitioned to Gebhardt at the semester.  That building has become quite a diverse learning community and students are really thriving! Of course, it’s still quite new, however, there is evidence of this being a powerful programming option!

I’d like to end with a highlight and some positive feedback one of our families shared with us. This parent wanted to highlight one of our 3rd grade teachers:  “Mrs. Repka is a wonderful teacher. She makes sure that our son is getting the learning that he needs and challenges him. She really makes his days great by being the best teacher ever!”  We couldn’t agree more! Mary Repka is an incredible teacher to her students, partner with her families, and mentor to her colleagues. We are so thrilled that she is here!

I have one excited note for you, last night our Tiger Girls Hockey Team won the first round playoffs in an EXCITING marathon game!  They defeated Viroqua with a score of 2-1! However, it took six overtime periods before the tie was broken! WAY TO GO Tigers!

As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, please reach out and let me know how I can be helpful!  Thanks for all you do to support our students and let’s show our Tiger Pride, in all that we do!


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