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Leave of absence approved for exiting Osakis superintendent

Justin Dahlheimer, who was hired to take over as superintendent after Randy Bergquist, was appointed to serve in the position for the interim.

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OSAKIS โ€” A leave of absence was approved for Osakis School District superintendent Randy Bergquist, who submitted his resignation earlier this year.

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Randy Bergquist

Justin Dahlheimer, who was hired to take over as superintendent after Bergquist, was appointed to serve in the position for the interim.

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Justin Dahlheimer

The action was taken at the regular meeting of the Osakis School Board on Monday, May 8.

The school board also heard a report about a $15,000 Prairie Care Fund Grant that was recently awarded to the elementary school for mental health first aid.

Elementary school principal Shad Schmidt said Osakis was one of 69 schools that applied for the grant, and one of the 22 that made the final round.

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The grant will help fund training for school staff, who will learn about depression, mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, psychosis and substance use disorders, and how they can help students dealing with these issues, Schmidt said.

"They can assess the risk for suicide or harm, listen non-judgementally, which I would like to believe we do anyway, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help and encourage self-help and other support strategies," Schmidt said.

The grant money will also go toward the creation of "Zen dens" in the classrooms.

"It would be โ€ฆ almost like a sensory area for kids so when they need that break, they don't have to come and ask, they don't have to leave the room, they don't have to have a paraprofessional," Schmidt said. "The teachers would be trained in how to use this, so the kids can go and access it appropriately."

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
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