September 6 Meeting Highlights

September 6 Meeting Highlights

The minutes from the  September 6, 2023 meeting will be reviewed and approved by the School District 197 School Board at the Monday, September 18, 2023 meeting. For more information about meeting agendas and minutes, please CLICK HERE.

Action Item - Approval of the Agenda

The motion carried (6-0).

Action Item - Approval of the Consent Agenda

The motion carried (6-0).

Listening Session Report
No one attended the Listening Session.

Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Olson-Skog stated that students are back in school and the first days have gone well. In preparation, schools hosted meet and greet events so students could meet their teachers, find their classrooms and reconnect with friends. For staff, a welcome back celebration was held on Warrior Field, made possible by generous funding from the South Robert Street Business Association and the West Saint Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club. Nearly 600 staff members attended for fun and to connect with colleagues. Several students attended as well to share a few words about the impact staff has on their educational journey.

The “Warrior Hall of Fame” is new and recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the School District 197 community and excelled in various fields, including athletics, activities, the fine arts, academics, and philanthropy. These individuals will be honored at the homecoming football game on September 22. This year’s inductees are:

  • Ann Bancroft, Henry Sibley Class of 1974 and founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation
  • Helen Fisk, Henry Sibley Class of 1975, Sibley Debate Team State and National Tournament Award Winner, and former Henry Sibley Principal
  • Tom Gustafson, former teacher and coach in School District 197
  • Dean Verdoes, former teacher, coach, and athletic director at Henry Sibley, and current ISD197 Educational Foundation board member

On September 16, the Two Rivers football team will compete against Harding-Humboldt at TCO Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings Prep Spotlight. On September 30, the Warrior 5K Family Run/Walk will take place on Warrior Field at 9am, the Warrior Rally will take place from 12:00 to 2 p.m. on Stielow Field, and the Makers Market Craft Fair will take place from 9-3pm in the Two Rivers gym. All community members are welcome.

Student Representative’s Report
Student Representatives LaRae Dodson and Samantha Villa presented their student report. Fall activities are underway. Yesterday was the first day of school for K, 5 and 9. At the high school, the student led Link Crew helped students find their classrooms, discussed high school expectations, and participated in relationship building activities. An activities fair was held at the end of the day where students could gauge their interest in sports, clubs and other activities. All other grades began today. Middle schoolers are building connections with teachers and working on relationship building skills. Mendota Elementary will be hosting a Kindergarten family fun night in mid-September, Moreland will be hosting a fall fest and Garlough will be hosting a Culvers night.

School Health Advisory Committee Report
Sara Lein, Director of Special Programs, and Stacie O’Leary, District Health Services Coordinator, presented the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) report. The purpose of this committee is to provide opportunities, facilitate collaboration and promote communication among the district, community and parents in order to ensure high quality health programs in every school. In the 22-23 school year, nursing support was added at the secondary schools, a review process was developed to address chronic health concerns at all schools, and a community project in collaboration with Metro State University was held to assess vaccine hesitation with families at the Early Learning Center. Looking forward to this school year, the team is addressing new state laws impacting health care with opioid emergency response and menstrual equity; collaborating with outside agencies including Metropolitan University nursing school, 360 Communities and Dakota County; and focusing on immunizations district-wide.

First Day of School Enrollment Report
Peter Mau, Assistant Superintendent, presented a first day of school enrollment report. As of the first day of school, enrollment was at 5,102 which is 135 students over projection. The district typically decreases in enrollment between the first day of school and October 1. The district is approaching
their enrollment parameters. Four elementary grade levels (12 sections) at individual schools are within 1 student per class of being at the maximum. Three middle grade levels at individual schools are within 1 student per class of being at the maximum. For school years 19-20, 20-21, and 21-22, the district had 12.3-12.6% of students receiving ELS (English as a Second Language) services. In the 22-23 school year, that number increased to 14.2%. The district does not yet know what the percentage is for the 23-24 school year and the impact varies by site. Staff has been added where needed. In response to the numbers, the administration will present a resolution to close Grade 9 to open enrollment and is considering a resolution to close Grade 8 to open enrollment. This is regular practice among several Minnesota school districts and is allowed under Minnesota law.

Action Item-Approval of Resolution to Close Open Enrollment for Grade 9 for the 2023-2024 School Year
Peter Mau, Assistant Superintendent, presented a resolution that would allow the school district to close open enrollment for Grade 9 for the 2023-2024 school year. Two Rivers High School is currently more than 100 students over enrollment projections for the 2023-2024 school year. In Grade 9 specifically, the school is more than 30 students over projected enrollment. It has been a long-standing goal of the school district to increase enrollment. Total enrollment is nearing pre-pandemic levels and high school enrollment has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels. The current enrollment at Two Rivers High School is 1,658. Administration has anticipated some of this growth and staffed for it. However, the growth has surpassed expectations. This causes the most challenges in Grade 9 due to the number of required classes versus elective options students have. Many of the 9th grade classes are at or over
parameters. Closing open enrollment will allow administration to better manage these classes. This closure would not affect School District 197 residents from enrolling in Grade 9. In an effort to manage enrollment, administration proposed closing Grade 9 to open enrollment for the
remainder of the school year. This is regular practice among several Minnesota school districts. It is allowed under Minnesota Statute 124D.03. A school district may close open enrollment at a grade level if the number of open enrollments at that grade level is more than 1% of the total enrollment.
The motion carried (6-0).

2023-2024 School Board Building and Committee Assignments
Vice-Chair Sarah Larsen presented the final copy of the 2023-2024 School Board building and committee assignments. This was discussed at the August 21 st board meeting. The board will readdress these assignments in January as new board members begin their terms.

The motion carried (6-0).