School Board Notes 1.23.23

January 23 Meeting Highlights

The minutes from the January 23, 2023 meeting will be reviewed and approved by the School District 197 School Board at the Monday, February 6, 2023 meeting. For more information about meeting agendas and minutes, please CLICK HERE.


Action Item - Approval of Agenda
The motion carried (6-0).

Action Item - Approval of Consent Agenda
The motion carried (6-0).

Comments to the School Board
One staff person attended the meeting to discuss her concerns related to Policy 410, Family and Medical Leave and advocated for inclusion of paid parental leave into the policy. Chair Mansur read aloud two statements regarding the same topic.

Action Item – Approval of School Age Care Fee Increases for 2023-2024
Director of Community Education, Lisa Grathen, and Missy McGinty, School Age Care Coordinator, presented information related to School Age Care (SAC) fee increases for the 2023-2024 school year. The SAC program is a fee-based program. Though the 2023-24 fees were previously approved by the board, the administration is proposing 10% increases to address inflation in operating expenses. The proposed increases for drop-in andpick-your-day contracts are higher, given their difficulty in scheduling and staffing. Even with the proposed increases, the fees remain at or below the fees in all comparison districts. These fees will be published in the SAC brochures that will be mailed to homes in February.
The motion carried (6-0).

Action Item – Approval of Final Reading of Policy 410, Family and Medical Leave
Superintendent Olson-Skog presented the final reading of Policy 410, Family and Medical Leave. This policy was presented to the board at their meetings on November 28 and December 12. Following the first reading of the policy, the board asked the administration to explore the addition of “parental leave” to the policy. The Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) requires public employers to “meet and negotiate in good faith with the exclusive representatives of public employees…regarding the terms and conditions of employment”. Paid leave is a form of compensation and is a term of condition of employment which must be negotiated through the exclusive representative. No changes were recommended to the policy during the final reading. In the future, changes to parental leave may be recommended during the negotiations process or as the result of legislative changes.
The motion carried (6-0).

Mid-Year Update on Strategic Plan Implementation Targets
Superintendent Olson-Skog, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Cari Jo Drewitz, Director of Special Education Sara Lein, and Assistant Superintendent Peter Mau presented a mid-year update on the strategic plan implementation targets - establish a district-wide system of social-emotional learning (SEL) and support; build equitable systems and supports throughout the district; and increase E-12 opportunities for career exploration and preparation. 

Ms. Lein reported that training sessions have been provided to staff to increase the understanding of social-emotional competencies. District-wide surveys will be administered for all students grades 3-12, families and staff with questions focused on SEL. Survey data will then be analyzed to determine next steps towards continuous improvement.

Dr. Mau presented on initiatives in the equity focus area. As it relates to student voice, district-wide surveys will be administered for all students grades 3-12, families and staff with questions focused on equity. Students participated in “Q-Quest” which is a youth advocacy conference celebrating LGBTQIA+ lives, histories and cultures. As it relates to recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff of color, 90-day check-ins are being piloted with two staff this month with a larger roll out in February. The AMAZEworks anti-bias curriculum is being implemented to educate young students about healthy complex identities, to respect each other through their differences and build more empathy and understanding. All classroom teachers will be trained in that curriculum by the end of the 24-25 school year.

Ms. Drewitz reported on several opportunities for career exploration and preparation. The district was awarded the Expansion Rigorous Course Grant through the Minnesota Department of Education. Funds will be split over the 22-23 and 23-24 school years. The district will develop courses to provide opportunities in Agricultural Food and National Resources, and Health Services. Enrollment in both AP Biology and AP Human Geography are up over last year. The retention rate of students remaining in the courses has also increased which demonstrates that the various supports in place are having a positive impact. New this year is the Certified Nursing Assistant program, CS/IT CAPS, and AVID 12/College Strategies. New for 23-24 will include AP Seminar, AP Government and Politics and AP PreCalculus. BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) is being implemented which is an evidence-based model that provides a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of students. 9th grade students will be put into cohorts with weekly staff meetings to discuss the progress of students. A team has also been working on the Middle School schedule review process which will be brought back to the School Board at an upcoming meeting.

Board Goal Discussion on Increased Inclusivity in Board Recognitions
Chair Mansur suggested that this item be moved to a future work session or a board development session. Board members were asked to begin brainstorming their ideas as it relates to this goal. Feedback will also be sought out from staff and students. This topic will be brought back to a future meeting.