Alexandria School Board sticks with public comment period

Speakers must sign up ahead of time and abide by the rules

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ALEXANDRIA — The public comment period will remain as it is for the Alexandria School Board – despite efforts of one school board member to change it.

The decision was made at the Monday, March 20, school board meeting, to keep public comments at the end of the meeting. In addition, those wishing to speak at the school board must sign up ahead of time, they must submit their comments in writing to the school district by the previous Wednesday, they get three minutes maximum to speak, they must meet policy guidelines regarding expectations on civil discourse and if a situation develops it would come under immediate review by the whole board and the board would make a decision.

School Board member Laura Knudsen wanted the comment period moved back to the beginning of the meeting, as she said it had been for decades. And she wanted all requirements to submit ahead of time removed. However, she did feel the three minutes per person could stay in place. Knudsen had made a motion, but it failed due to a lack of a second.

School board member Alan Zeithamer made a motion to continue on with the public comment period procedures as they have been done the last several months.

His motion was approved by a vote of 6 to 1.


Points of Pride

Superintendent Rick Sansted read through three pages of Points of Pride during Monday’s meeting. The Points of Pride recognizes students and staff each month for excelling or doing something great.

He shared that Jeff Doherty was named Girls Hockey Section 8AA Assistant Coach of the Year and that Aaron Rooney was named Section 6A Boys Diving Coach of the Year.

The Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association named the Alexandria Wrestling Team the Class AA Academic Team State Champions. The top 10 GPAs average 3.88, which was the highest in Class AA, he said.

Sansted also shared that Culinary Arts students Rigoberto Clarke, Quintyn Gartner, Charlotte Lempka, Kaedin Moos, Brennan Staples and Naneisha Vargas passed their National Certification for Food Safety test and received their Servsafe Certification.

He also shared that Robotics Team 3313 was given an award from the Great Northern Regional Planning Committee for displaying “gracious professionalism” in an unprecedented turn of events. Sansted explained that five teams were required by their schools to leave halfway through a regional competition due to blizzard warnings and Team 3313 stepped up to drive another team’s robot to help them remain in the competition and complete the tournament.

And, among several other Points of Pride, Sansted shared that the DECA students competed at the Minnesota State Career Development Conference with 63 individual finalists and that many of those students qualified for the International Career Development Competition.


School Board members listened to several presentations, including one from Troy Wunderlich, principal for Garfield, Miltona and Carlos. He, along with a few teachers, provided an update on both Garfield and Carlos elementary schools.

During the Carlos presentation, Kristen Schmidt and Stephanie Groetsch talked about Adventure Acres – a new outdoor area at the school that includes the following:


  • Preschool and kindergarten natural play area – sandbox, talk tubes, balancing logs, pulleys and climbing hill with a slide.
  • Coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Native plant habitats
  • Four outdoor classrooms
  • Nature art stations
  • Outdoor fence MakerSpace
  • Seasonal Gardens

Adventure Acres would also include Carlos Cabin, a 40-foot by 80-foot structure that would be used for outdoor learning, a space for plays, musicals, picnic and more, an outdoor chalkboard and more.
The school has already received $30,000. The Carlos Parent Advisory Council will be hosting a Community Block Party fundraiser on May 20 to help raise even more.

The block party fundraiser will start at 3:30 p.m. and will feature live music by The Blonde and the Bohunk, The Nobles and The Heyn Family, food vendors, carnival games, outdoor movie, face painting, bingo and more.

For more information, contact the school at 320-852-7181.

New Curriculum

School board members also heard presentations about the new literacy curriculum for kindergarten through fifth graders. They heard from all 18 committee members who were part of the extensive process to choose the new curriculum.

School Board member Shawn Riley said he was impressed with their presentation and thanked them for their enthusiasm and dedication.

Early Childhood Education educators from Community Education also presented information about the new curriculum for children ages 3 to 5. They also had a committee that went through an extensive and comprehensive process to choose their new curriculum.

School board members were also impressed with the work from those educators.

School Board meetings can be viewed on the school district’s website, Click on the words, “I want to” on the right side and then “Watch a School Board Meeting” in the window that pops up.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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