Heather Hirsch of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) recently contacted Darcy Josephson, director of teaching and learning for the Redwood Area School District, to see if the local district would be interested in partnering with the state education department in a social emotional learning federal grant the state is applying to receive.

The local district would be one of three in the state, including one from the metro area, one from the metro intermediate area and one from the rural area of the state, to be involved in the program should it approve moving forward with the idea.

If the grant is approved, the district would receive approximately $280,000 per year for five years in order to implement the program.

Known as the AWARE-SEA program, each participating school district, known as a local education agency, would work collaboratively with the state to improve or expand mental health related interventions and services across the district.

According to Rick Ellingworth, RASD superintendent, participation in the program would help the district enrich the mental health programming it is offering to students and families. The Redwood Area Board of Education learned about the program at its March 23 meeting. 

The board approved the request, and now the district will wait to see what happens with the grant being submitted by MDE.

In other action during its meeting, the school board:

• Authorized WOLD Architects to move froward with a request for bids to replace the asphalt with concrete on George Ramseth Drive at Redwood Valley schools this coming summer. The work includes the bus loop and the student drop-off areas.

• Approved a one-year HVAC services contract with NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services at a cost of $23,896.

• Approved the recommendation to engage Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP to audit the financial statements of the school district at a cost not to exceed $21,000.

• Accepted the resignation of Sydnie Weiss-Anderson from her role as a Reede Gray first-grade teacher at the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year.

• Approved the employment of Shayna Jahnz as a middle-school special education paraprofessional for 6.75 hours per day at a rate of $14 per hour.

• Approved the employment of Derek Bebeau as the RVMS/HS vocal music teacher.