Waconia School Board examines field trips

What do parents in Waconia think about field trips? This question got to the heart of a discussion held by members of the Waconia School Board during their brief school board meeting held on Aug. 12.
As it does before the start of every school year, the board reviewed a list of proposed field trips for the school year. In 2013-14, a number of proposed trips would require overnight stays and/or activities designated as higher risk. Most of these trips pertain to groups from the high school, such as Power Company, FCCU, Spanish and the Conservation Club, while a few trips were for students at Clearwater Middle School.
One proposed trip that caught the eye of several board members was a Caribbean cruise for high school vocal and instrumental music students during spring break in March 2014. The trip was described as a performance opportunity and would allow music students who aren’t part of the competitive show choir or marching band programs, which travel to numerous competitions, to have a chance to perform during a trip.
After discussing the proposed field trips, the board approved all of them except for the cruise, which will be considered after the board is able to meet with the music directors to learn more about the merits of the trip.
As indicated earlier, the board held a related discussion on field trips in general. Questions included does the district plan too many field trips? Are the trips too expensive? Do parents feel pressure to allow their children to go on “voluntary” field trips? Director Naomi Erickson encouraged parents to contact board members with their feedback on this subject so it can be considered during a board work session set for Aug. 26. Contact information for all school board members is available at the district website (www.waconia.new.rschooltoday.com). At the site, click on District Info, Board of Education, and click on Members.
Also during the meeting, it was announced that Dr. Judy Nagel, who has served as the assistant principal at the high school for the past year, has resigned her position at Waconia to accept the interim principal position at Kennedy Community School with the St. Cloud School District. Nagel had replaced Jeff Jeska, who had been the assistant principal for 11 years before accepting the district’s new Director of Technology position last year.
Superintendent Dr. Nancy Rajanen said the district would miss Nagel’s “tremendous knowledge.” She wished Nagel well, describing the principal position as “a great opportunity” for Nagel, whose resignation is effective Aug. 20. Rajanen said the district is currently screening applicants to find a replacement.
In other matters:
• Workers compensation coverage will now be provided for school board members to protect the district from any incidents that occur while a director is fulfilling school board duties. Rajanen noted that the cost to provide this additional coverage was nominal to the district.
• The board’s next regular meeting will be held at Waconia City Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9.

Contact Todd Moen at todd.moen@ecm-inc.com

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