By Ivan Raconteur
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) High School Principal Jason Mix appeared before the Lester Prairie School Board last Monday to present information about a proposed Innovation Pilot Project.
Minnesota school districts may jointly apply, through Wednesday, March 1, to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to launch an Innovation Pilot Project in order to improve student and school outcomes.
It was because of the application deadline that Mix presented the proposal to the Lester Prairie School Board before the HLWW School Board. He noted he planned to present it to the HLWW board tonight (Feb. 27).
Pilot projects must include two or more school districts that form a partnership after collaborating with school staff and receiving formal school board approval.
The purpose of Innovation Pilot Projects is to launch creative, collaborative education programs and activities and to share district resources.
The project must do at least one of the following:
• Provide challenging programmatic options for students.
• Create professional development opportunities for educators.
• Increase student engagement and connection and challenging learning opportunities for students.
• Demonstrate efficiencies in delivering financial and other services.
Mix said both districts serve students who may not want to go to colleges, but who want a career.
The program Mix proposed would allow students to learn the skill of welding.
The districts would work with Millerbernd Manufacturing in Winsted to provide hands-on training for students.
Both Mix and Lester Prairie Principal Nat Boyer noted the intention is not to hurt existing programs at the schools.
“I don’t want to negatively impact our existing programs. I see this as a positive opportunity, opening doors for our kids,” Mix commented.
Boyer said he spoke to Joe Scoblic, who teaches technical education at Lester Prairie, and one of Scoblic’s concerns was pulling students out of existing programs.
However, the proposed program could expand opportunities for students.
“Some students have taken all the available tech classes at Lester Prairie. I think this is a great opportunity,” Christine Mattson, Lester Prairie school counselor commented.
The board approved moving forward with the application. There is no cost to either district for applying. Both boards would have to approve a specific project in the future if a grant is awarded.
Class trip update
Mattson and science teacher Mike Bjork presented an update on the senior class trip to Orlando, FL Sunday to Saturday, March 26 to April 1.
All but one of the 30 students in the class is participating, and the one who is not is a full-time Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student.
Bjork said the trip will be fun and educational. The cost per student is about $1,430.
Students will experience different cultures at the Epcot World Showcase.
They will see American History at the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom and the American Adventure Show at Epcot, as well as nature and science at other stops during the trip.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• heard from Board Chair Corbey Hentges about an individual promoting a business during a recent school event. Hentges suggested the board consider adopting a sponsorship and donation policy at a future meeting.
• approved the resignation of Blaine Walstrom as head volleyball coach.
• approved the 2017-18 school calendar.
• scheduled a board retreat immediately after the Monday, March 20 board meeting.