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DCMS opportunities support students
March 6, 2017

By Jennifer Von Ohlen
Staff Writer

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Dassel-Cokato Middle School (DCMS) Principal Alisa Johnson and Dean of Students Ryan Weinandt shared with the school board last Monday the different opportunities DCMS offers to support its students.

With 705 students navigating its halls, Weinandt said the middle school has the district’s largest student body.

To help ensure these students get the attention and support they need, the middle school offers several student programs and opportunities designed to target different groups of students’ needs.

One of these opportunities is a Catch Up, in which students can stay after school two days a week in order to get caught up on missing assignments with a licensed teacher readily available to provide assistance.

While some late assignments could be due to difficulty understanding the material, or negligence, Catch Up can also benefit students who experienced a long absence due to vacation or illness.

Catch Up can also take some of the stress off of parents needing to help their child complete (or do) the assignment at home.

Besides academics, Weinandt said it is equally important that students are met at a personal level, too.

“The best thing you can do is establish a relationship with a student,” he said; and at the middle school, they intend to reach every student.

Throughout the year, a list of every middle school student is sent out to the teachers, who are then instructed to mark every student they would be able to identify. From there, Weinandt compiles the students whom were not marked into a second list, with a photo, and sends that to staff, letting them know that these students do not have anyone in the middle school who can recognize them.

From there, it is up to the staff to fill that gap.

Other opportunities set up to help students include:

• Charger time,

• Odyssey,

• crash lounge,

• Olweus Bullying Prevention,

• transition supports from 8th to 9th grade,

• remedial math class (5-8),

• remedial ELA class (5-8), and

• behavior management system.

Johnson and Weinandt also shared with the board its daily schedule, assessments, personalized student planning, reward opportunities, use of technology, safety procedures, and the ways it supports its staff.

“It’s really a great place,” Johnson stated. “We have great staff and we have great kids.”

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• reviewed the Career and Technical Education (CTE) project flyer, which is set to be mailed next week.

The project is meant to prepare students interested in CTE careers with equal opportunities offered to those pursuing four-year degrees.

Project cost (plus financing) is $6.9 million.

There will be a public informational meeting Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in the high school choir room.

Voting for the bond will take place Tuesday, April 18. For more information, visit district.dc.k12.mn.us/cte-project.

• accepted the Spanish department’s 2018 Guatemala study abroad proposal.

In 2016, 11 students, along with DC’s two Spanish instructors, spent about two weeks in Guatemala, touring the country, interacting with locals, and volunteering.

Superintendent Jeff Powers expressed his support of the trip to the council, saying last year’s experience “went very well. Our two Spanish teachers did a good job planning it,” he said.

He also stated the teachers brought the same number of kids back as they took down, and “they all look the same.”

• listened a proposed 2016-17 budget revision presentation from district business manager Tina Palmer.

The proposed changes are as follows (revenue; expenditure):

- general fund ($369,243; $363,107);

- transportation fund ($47,829; $47,829);

- capital fund ($18,623; $21,951);

- food service fund ($19,512; $5,538);

- community education fund ($43,724; $75,622);

- debt service fund ($300; no change);

- scholarship fund ($300; no change); and

- dental fund ($30,080; none)

• approved an out-of-state trip for D.E.C.A.

• decided to create an annual $600 scholarship for a student pursuing a career in education.

Council chair Rebecca Clemen and clerk Chuck Nelson volunteered to draft the scholarship’s specifications and documentation.

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