School Board discusses end of year activities

Voters will decide on a $3.3 million bond issue for improvements for Central Elementary School on Nov. 5. (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)
 (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

by Adam Gruenewald

Despite the fact the school year is winding down, Central Schools remain in full swing with plenty of activities and responsibilities left for district leaders and students.
That was the message heard by District #108 Central School Board members during their regular meeting on Monday, April 24 in Hamburg.
All three principals as well as student council representatives and sophomores Sam Meeker and Jared Glander shared plenty of happenings across the district.
For their part, Meeker and Glander updated the board on successful Earth Day activities that sold 925 trees with 75 left over that could be place around the school. The project was headed by Amber Orr and involved both the Central Middle School and Central High School student councils.
Student council also held a dodgeball tournament this past Wednesday after students took the ACT to benefit cystic fibrosis and are planning an upcoming blood drive this Friday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Central High School gym with Pennies for Patients coming up as well.
Elementary Principal Michael Daugs shared that he and others are “right in the middle of preparing for next year,” and are looking at developing schedules and class lists for students with several events and testing remaining in the next couple of months.
Middle School Principal Ron Erpenbach agreed, sharing that tested will be done by May 10 and there are a few hires to go for next year.
“We are right where we normally would be,” he said.
Updating the council on the upgraded weight room, Erpenbach said more donations have come in that will fully fund the project and that he is still trying to sell the old equipment.
High School Principal Tom Erickson also updated the board on testing, including about 95 juniors that took the ACT with Advanced Placement testing also coming up.
“Kids did well and took it seriously,” he said of the ACT testing that is now offered to all juniors in Minnesota and only a few Central students opted out. “It’s a good opportunity for kids to take the ACT that normally wouldn’t.”
The schedule for the upcoming year also is beginning to be finalized, he added.
“We are in really good shape for April,” he said. “Things have come together with the schedule for next year. There are a few details we still have to iron out in terms of determining where we are at.”
The 1:1 chromebook initiative is also taking shape that will begin with the junior class.
“We’re excited about that and teachers have worked through the process with us to determine the best fit for our school.”
In other news, Activities Director Ron Erpenbach shared that there could likely be several changes involving athletic programs at Central this upcoming year. Both golf and dance programs have significantly low numbers, so Erpenbach is looking into other options for either co-opting with other schools, such as Glencoe-Silver Lake for golf, or ending the programs depending on student interest.
On the positive side, Erpenbach shared that Lester Prairie has expressed interest in developing a co-op for cross country and would likely send about five kids to run for Central.
Unlike the current golf arrangement with Sibley East, Central would retain their same name, coaches and uniforms and just absorb the students within the program. Lester Prairie would pay for transportation of the students and Central would charge them on a participant basis.
Responding to questions from board member Craig Pexa and others, Erpenbach said it was highly likely, but not a guarantee, that Central would remain in the same class and section for the sport.
“I think we should think about it,” he said. “With a district our size, I think we should be helpful to people when we can be helpful to them.”
While the board did not make a formal decision, they seemed in favor of the idea of developing the co-op for cross country.
Also, school board members recognized Central Elementary students for demonstrating integrity in the month of March, Tori Stacken, Emma Dettmann and Gwendolyn Stacy for advancing to state speech, approved the non-renewal of teaching contracts for Chrystal Marty and Title 1 Instructor Tammy Poppler, approved the hiring of fifth grade teacher Nikki Tyhurst and high school math teacher Adam Tyhurst and accepted a variety of donations including $1500 from WM Mueller & Sons to C-Club,  $120 from West Carver Law to FFA to cover cost of mailing military care kits, $300 from Central Boosters to National Honor Society for student community give back project, $700 from anonymous donor to band, $100 from VocalEssence for transportation for students to 2017 WITNESS and $750 from the Kopp Family Foundation for scholarships.
The District #108 Central School Board will next meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 22 in the Central High School.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.