Rush City to engage school community in goal planning effort

The Rush City School Board has agreed to engage the community in a strategic planning process this fall in an effort to generate and prioritize organizational goals that drive important decisions for the district.

During the Aug. 21 regular board meeting, Superintendent Vern Koepp said it’s been about seven years since the board participated in such a planning session, complete with setting academic goals. The district is working with Bruce Miles, a strategic planning consultant based in St. Cloud, to gather input, identify themes and set priorities for the next four to six years.

Board members plan to use surveys and information from meetings with members of the community, employees and students to enhance the process. The board and administrators, with the help of Miles, will keep the community posted of the findings along the way.

Koepp said teachers, support staff and possibly the principals will facilitate the meetings. A training for meeting facilitators is set for Sept. 22, which will be followed by gatherings with staff and the community. The process is anticipated to span eight to 10 weeks.

Fostering student accountability

Rush City High School Principal Brent Stavig is introducing a new way to keep students accountable in their grades this year, and the School Board approves.

Stavig reviewed the new plan, called an academic eligibility procedure, which entails weekly grade reports to monitor a learner’s progress. If a student has a failing grade in the same course for two consecutive grade checks, he noted, that student becomes ineligible to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities.

Students may remain eligible by attending at least one directed study session every school day until they are passing the course. This procedure is a proactive way to keep students on the right track, rather than discovering a failing grade at the end of the semester when it’s too late, he explained.


High school report

Stavig credited custodians for getting the school ready for 2014-15 and complimented science teacher Eric Telander’s rain garden, which is in full bloom near the front entrance.

He said the fall sports teams are “looking great” in preparation for their respective competitions. Stavig thanked Plastech for setting up the new lathe in the metal shop, while a new bender and engines also were installed.


Jacobson Elementary 


In her report to the board, Jacobson Elementary Principal Melody Tenhoff said the building is ready for the school’s open house at the end of the month and the first day of school Tuesday, Sept. 2.

She said summer school went well and thanked Julie Thom, Kirsten Bjork, Kelly Gunderson, Laura Nelson, Dawn Johnson, Cynthia Martin, Mary Kurvers and Robert DeGroote for taking time out of their summer to teach.


New teachers and 


Board members agreed to employ the following people to begin the 2014-15 school year: Ashley Fitcher, Spanish teacher; Jeff Titus, bus driver; Stuart Schmidt, bus driver; Kimberly Funes, custodian; Sara Sieling, preschool teacher; Michele Kirby, high school physical education and health teacher; Ben Montzka, high school vocal music teacher; and Shannon Karnick, paraprofessional.

The board approved the following resignations: Marilyn Fessenden, bus driver; David Engstrom, paraprofessional; Cynthia Martin, paraprofessional; Kristina Monson, Early Childhood teacher. A leave request for paraprofessional Deborah Carlson was granted from Aug. 25 to Dec. 31.

In other news:

• Koepp presented Board Member Teri Umbreit with a certificate of training in recognition of her completing the first three phases of orientation workshops through the Minnesota School Board Association Leadership Development Program.

• Koepp said the public hearing on taxes payable in 2015 will coincide with the regular School Board meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 18.

• The next regular School Board meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.

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