DASSEL-COKATO, MN The Russell A. Johnson Courtesy and Respect Award for the month of December was presented to Anne Seaberg, daughter of Michael and Debra Seaberg, during Monday’s Dassel-Cokato School Board meeting.
Student representative Anders Peterson presented a report, including the replacement of Snow Week with Unified Week, which is to increase awareness of intellectual disabilities.
This change was Peterson’s idea, from being involved with students with intellectual disabilities. He said he believes not everyone realizes that special education is comprised of many students who have an intellectual disability.
Each day of Unified Week will be marked with a different theme. Monday will be Pajama Day, for relaxation; Tuesday will have a Superhero theme; Wednesday will be Color Day, with each class representing a color; Thursday will be Spirit Day; and Friday will be Crazy Sock Day, to highlight Down syndrome.
No cell phone policy
Area Learning Center (ALC) Director Jon Nelson provided an overview of the “no cell phone policy” the ALC currently follows.
Students are provided an envelope with their name on it when they arrive at ALC, to put their cell phone or other devices into during their time at ALC. When each student is finished and leaving the center, they are given the envelope back to collect their belongings.
Nelson noted that there has been no resistance, and it was going well.
ALC work program
Also going well is the work experience program, in which students have the opportunity to earn credit for work experience during school hours.
The ALC also offers this opportunity to night-school students who are required to have a current job during daytime hours. Those who take this class during daytime hours will have the opportunity to leave school early for onsite job experience.
History of ALC
Nelson is also involved in a project with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), and the Litchfield School District to collect history on the Area Learning Center program.
Currently, these programs are not state-approved without a history of when the programs first began. There is currently no program in the state that is approved.
Nelson is working toward gathering this information to bring the ALC at Dassel-Cokato into compliance.
Superintendent Jeff Powers provided a report of several initiatives that he is involved in.
One of the projects is the security of the district’s schools. Powers participated in a webinar last week on security and how best to use the district’s safety dollars to ramp up security.
Powers is also looking into updating the lighting in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), replacing the high track, and installing a small solar garden.
Powers provided an overview of the Dassel-Cokato Public School Strategic Plan. The current plan is for the period from 2018 to 2023, and should be considered a work-in-progress for changes over the next couple of years before the next one is instated.
The strategic plan includes belief statements, and mission and vision statements. It also includes focus areas, goals, and objectives. The focus areas cover student achievement, student support, finance, facilities, and communication. Each of these focus areas will be reviewed and changed as needed.
The school board meeting ended with the discussion of graduation dates and times for the next two years.
The class of 2020 graduation ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m.
Typically, the graduation ceremony is scheduled for a Friday evening. A survey was sent out to the sophomore and junior class parents.
Parents of sophomore students were 38 percent in favor of the ceremony taking place Friday evening, 24 percent in favor of Sunday afternoon, and 36 percent did not have a preference between Friday and Sunday.
Parents of junior students were 29 percent in favor of Friday evening, 26 percent in favor of Sunday afternoon, and 44 percent did not have a preference.