The Alexandria School Board aims to make good on its promise of increasing availability between board members and people in the Alexandria community.
Prior to Monday’s regular meeting, two board members engaged in an open discussion with parents and community members in what the district is calling “Board Connections.” For 45 minutes before the monthly meeting, up to 20 community members who made reservations with the district beforehand were able to present discussion topics with the two available board members in a small group conversation.
The board believes this is a way to increase transparency and discuss topical issues away from the school board meetings. These sessions take place in the district office, which is where the regular meetings are held. Angie Krebs, the board chair, and Pam Carlson, the board treasurer, met with the first group of community members on Monday.
The board will host these meetings during a four-month trial period and discuss the future of Board Connections. Board Connections is an RSVP event, and community members must reach out to Maggie Timm at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
More community members and parents attended the meeting to express concerns with the district’s opening plan this fall.
Some parents, who are concerned with the district’s lack of COVID-19 protocols, said they are ready to pull their kids out of school in younger grades if they aren’t allowed to get vaccinated. Some other parents, who are opposed to masking, also said they would pull their kids out of school due to COVID-19 related policies.
The district has not changed its opening plan since its approval during the July meeting.
Operation plan approved
Darcy Josephson presented the District 206 Operation Plan, which was unanimously approved. Here are some of the goals laid out in the presentation:
- Reduce achievement gaps between students who do and don’t qualify for special education and students who do and don’t qualify for free or reduced lunches by 1%.
- The district aims to get 85% of its 2022 graduating class college-ready by meeting one of its measurements to be college ready. This includes an ACT composite score of 21, an "accuplacer" or test score of 250 that helps ensure students are placed in college courses that match their skill levels, a match MCA score of 1,150, an ASVAB score of 31, enrolled and passed college and CAPS courses, or participation in career mentorship and passed work seminar classes all qualify as college-ready.
- The graduation goal remains at 90%, which the Minnesota Department of Education sets. Last year, 93.54% of Alexandria Area High School seniors met graduation requirements.
- Alexandria Public Schools looks to see an increase of third graders that can read at a third-grade level. The strategies behind this include implementing a new elementary literacy coaching model, phonics curriculum and classwide interventions. The district will look into more training for teachers and data collection for coaches and principals.
Other items of note
- Jennie Engle has been appointed to the FIRST Upper Midwest (FUM) board of directors. She joins 11 other board members representing Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota in FIRST Robotics. She is currently the only board member who is teaching or involved with education and only one of three representing greater Minnesota.
- The board approved a grant application to The Aagard Group and the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute for $4,829 to improve manufacturing expenses in school shops by upgrading equipment used in industrial technology classes.
- The board approved several fundraising efforts on the consent agenda. The Alexandria Area High School football team will sell Cardinal Discount Cards to raise money for safety equipment, uniforms and scrimmage vents. The A Club will sell concessions, advertising in athletic programs and posters to supplement the purchase of any needs for all students at AAHS. Six elementary fundraisers were part of the approval.
- The board approved an increase in substitute pay rates to match other schools around the area. Rate increases ranged from 7% up to 25% depending on the position.