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Low enrollment leads to six fewer DC teachers
Monday, April 30, 2012

By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – “There are a lot of personnel issues on the agenda tonight,” said Superintendent Jeff Powers at the Dassel-Cokato School Board meeting Thursday. “It’s been an interesting couple of months. There’s tremendous change for a number of reasons.”

Seven probationary teachers’ contracts will not be renewed for the 2012-13 school year.

“Are these all a result of decreasing enrollment?” asked DC School Board Member Rebecca Clemen.

“Not necessarily, (Matt Hogg) is a long-term substitute, but most are,” Powers responded. “We have to make an adjustment when we are looking at being down 70 students.”

Another teacher, Andrew Hegdahl, is a part-time teacher with a 0.17 full-time equivalent contract.

Other probationary teachers whose contract will not be renewed are Nancy Madsen, Dassel Elementary third grade teacher; Dan Krause, high school physical education; Ashley Kelly, sixth grade teacher; Johanna Hanneman, seventh grade teacher; Katie Hoppe, high school math teacher; and, Tamra Boltz, high school special education.

In addition to the teachers whose contracts will not be renewed, several more teachers resigned, including:

• Beth Ashwill, middle school special education;

• Kristin Deutsch, middle school family and consumer science teacher;

• Karla Davis, Dassel Elementary speech and language pathologist;

• Michelle Heidt, long-term substitute middle school family and consumer science;

• James Stang, Dassel Elementary teacher;

• Sonia Whittaker, middle school teacher;

• Karley DePatto, Dassel Elementary teacher;

• Sarah Luhrs, elementary music instructor;

• Kelsey Dehler, middle school special needs teacher; and,

• Veda Davis, Cokato Elementary Title 1 paraeducator.

Middle school secretary retires

Also announced at the meeting Cindy Swanson, who has been the secretary at the DC Middle School since it opened its doors in 1990, will be retiring at the end of the school year.

DC Regional Trail

Although a motion was made and seconded to provide $25,000 for repairs to the DC Regional Trail, the motion was rescinded.

Following some discussion, the board came to the understanding that it wanted a better plan laid out by the trail board before committing money for repairs, said DC Business Manager Tina Palmer.

The board would also like decisions about the trail to come from the trail board, not individual entities involved with the trail.

Powers will be contacting trail board chair Mike Scanlon to get clarification about what the plans for the trail are after receiving funds.

New milk

“The new milk (shelf-stable, ultra-pasteurized milk) gets a lot of talk,” Palmer said, noting a taste test was conducted Wednesday to find out what the students preferred. “I think, so far, DC is doing pretty well.”

Although the school was told the milk would be cool for lunch after chilling overnight, it seemed it was still warm, so the school has been placing it in the cooler one day earlier than recommended, Palmer said.

New textbook for Spanish classes

“It’s been 14 years for the Spanish program to have a new book,” said Spanish teacher Beth Boyle. “We are thrilled to be getting a new book.”

The new Spanish book, “¡Adventura!,” and curriculum were approved by the board at Thursday’s meeting.

The Spanish instructors found the textbook to be very vibrant, which is one of the reasons it was chosen, Boyle said.

“It’s bright, colorful, and enticing,” Boyle said, noting it was much more up-to-date than the 14-year-old textbooks the students have been using.

The book is also integrated with different technology and online resources, according to Spanish teacher Megan Van Zuilen.

Curriculum approved for seventh and eighth grade language arts

The board also approved new textbooks and curriculum for seventh- and eighth-grade English language arts at Thursday’s meeting.

The new textbook is a Holt textbook, and Holt has a partnership with The History Channel to provide videos integrated with the learning material, said Anna Reedy, eighth-grade English language arts teacher.

There are a number of supplemental teaching tools to use with the textbook, such as modifiable PowerPoint presentations and other online sources, added Naomi Stelzer, seventh-grade English language arts teacher.

“We liked that it had things to use with English language learners and high-low learners,” Stelzer said.

The curriculum also includes using Scholastic’s “Scope” magazine, and three novels.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved general leaves of absence for Kelly Kosloski and Steven Schauberger for the 2012-13 school year.

• approved child care leaves of absence for Aimee Gabrielson, Megan Chatterton, Anna Reedy, and Rachel Franklin.

• approved the employment of Miranda Brown as early childhood special education paraeducator, and additional assignment of early childhood special education paraeducator JoLee Marquette.

• approved resignations of coaches Lindsey Popelka, junior varsity girls’ basketball; Kelly Johnson, eighth-grade volleyball; Anna Reedy, C-team volleyball; and, Kelsey Dehler, seventh-grade volleyball.

• accepted the donation of $500 from Wells Fargo to the alternative learning center to help cover the cost of Minnesota Association of Alternative Program Stars program conference; $100 from the Cokato-Dassel Rotary Club to the alternative learning program and high school FOCUS program to buy supplies for the summer work program; and $250 from Duane and Tammi Dahlman for the scholarship fund.

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