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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • School district continues to FLY

  • The school board is moving forward with its Flexible Learning Year with three public hearings to get parents' and students' views.
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  • As the Redwood Area Board of Education continues to consider the future of its flexible learning year (FLY) concept, it moved forward with the process toward extending the program during its meeting Monday night.
    That move forward included the scheduling of three public hearings which are being held to meet the requirements of state statute but more importantly to provide information to the public on what has been done during the first two years of FLY.
    The proposal, which was based on the premise of allowing more student contact days in advance of standardized testing allowed the 25-member consortium to start school in advance of the state mandated post-Labor Day start based on the assumption those days would prove to be a benefit to students through improved test scores.
    According to Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, and Darcy Josephson, director of teaching and learning, the data which would be presented at the meeting would include the two years of test data which have been gathered, as well as information about other aspects of FLY, such as the professional development progress, as well as survey information which has been collected.
    Ellingworth said he and Josephson, as well as several other school superintendents form the FLY consortium met recently with Gov. Mark Dayton to address the FLY proposal which, if approved by the school boards, would be sent for potential approval by the Minnesota Department of Education.
    Ellingworth said the governor was very genuine and down to earth and said if this was an idea that was working he did not intend to stand in the way.
    The public hearing dates to discuss FLY and to allow the public a chance to offer input on the program are:
    • Nov. 26 from 6-7 p.m.
    • Dec. 6 from 6-7 p.m.
    • Dec. 17 from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.
    All of the public hearings are set to be held in the board room.
    The public is encouraged to attend the hearings.
    In other action during its meeting Monday night the school board:
    • Approved a proposal to conduct a parent-teacher conference and creating connections event for parents of students in Grades K-2. The event is being held Nov. 15 from 4-6 p.m. at the Lower Sioux Community Center. This time would include additional compensation for those teachers involved at a cost of approximately $1,600.
    Ellingworth said the Native American population of the school makes up about 25 percent of the total enrollment, and he said over the years there has been a lower proportion of families from the Lower Sioux who are taking part in traditional parent-teacher conferences.
    The hope is to demonstrate an effort to open those lines of communication with the families to show them the school district is open to making the connections that can help all students.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ellingworth said ideally he would like to see every parent meet the teachers who are working with their children, because he believes creating those relationships can only help students.
    Ellingworth said he is not portending this is going to be a success, but he said he believes it is worth trying.
    “This is a place to start,” said Ellingworth, adding it could be expanded if this first try is successful.
    • Entered into a letter of intent with Lyon Contract-ing for the possible sale of a piece of land owned by the school for future development of an apartment complex. While the board approved the letter of intent, it clarified this in no way commits them to sell.
    • Rescheduled the public hearing for certification of the 2012, payable 2013 levy for Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the school board room.
    • Accepted the resignation of Lindsey Stage from her position as an elementary school paraprofessional.
    • Approved the employment of Justin Timm as the RVHS knowledge bowl coach at a stipend of $1,616, Michael Meeker and Emilie Veith as math masters co-coaches at a stipend of $350 each and janet Lothert as a musical pianist at a stipend of $366.
    • Approved an increase for the SACC coordinator stipend to $7,200 annually.

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