Graduation to be virtual; grading to be adjusted

At the May 18 regular school board meeting, ISD 318 Superintendent Sean Martinson indicated the school district had received guidance on Monday from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) with further guidelines regarding graduation ceremonies. A message was sent out yesterday to the families of the senior class stating attendees would not be able to exit their vehicles during the ceremony. Therefore, the district will be moving forward with a virtual ceremony.

“It’s not meant to be a cop out. It’s your district, for the community watching, we are doing the best that we can,” stated Martinson. “Will we make mistakes? Yep, but we will do those mistakes and we will make those mistakes with the thought of benefiting our kids first and their safety, as well.”

A planning committee will now convene to create a plan that gives the class of 2020 a meaningful ceremony. Additional information will be provided as the committee works to set these plans in motion.

The message stated, “Please know that this decision was not made easily or lightly.”

“We grieve the loss of tradition with our seniors and our families.”

Grading during COVID-19

School board members approved the ISD 318 Grading System during COVID-19 guidelines.

“This was designed basically by MDE and so we are just following their guidance to set this policy for just spring 2020,” explained Director of Teaching and Learning for ISD 318 Sue Akre.

The policy seeks to address the impacts of COVID-19 on students during the spring of 2020. Grades K-5 will receive, “P for Progressing,” while grade 6-12 will receive either an “A, B, C and Pass for the semester.”

According to the policy, “Student report cards and transcripts will contain a notation that the 2019-2020 school year was impacted by COVID-19.”

Additional business

In other business, board members approved the following:

• First reading of Policy 513 Student Promotion, Retention, Acceleration and Program Design, ISD 318 Early Entrance Procedure and ISD 318 Whole Grade Acceleration Procedure.

Akre explained the procedure is mandated by the state of Minnesota.

“A team of extraordinary individuals, both administrators and teachers, crafted this and it’s just really, really good,” said Akre.

Board member Sue Zeige thanked the team for their work on this policy.

“A lot of work went into it and it’s something that was lacking,” Zeige said. “Thank you.”

• Resolution to accept donations and gifts from January 2020 ($20,676.17), February 2020 ($14,953.50) and March 2020 ($20,564.81).

Board member David Marty expressed his appreciation for the gifts given.

“I would echo that, as well, David,” Board Chair Pat Medure commented. “That’s over 56,000 dollars in three months so thank you to the community and individuals and organizations that made a donation to ISD 318 to support our programming.”

• Transfer of funds from Fund 1 to Fund 2.

• Professional Services Agreement with ISD 6070 Itasca Area Schools Cooperative for licensed hearing, physical and other health disability services.

• Minutes of the May 6, 2020 School Board meeting.

• April 2020 claims in the amount of $10,575,407.28.

The meeting’s consent agenda was approved as is and included the following staffing changes: Olivia Anderson, secretary transfer hire; Susan Anderson, ESP retirement, 33 years of service; Adam Francisco, custodian termination; Amy Keranen, teacher retirement, 29 years of service; Garaldene Kilpatrick, secretary transfer hire; Corrin Mann, teacher replacement hire; Mandi McNeil, teacher replacement hire; Joseph Oberton, bus driver retirement, 10 years of service; Jessica Sgarlata, teacher replacement hire; Laurie Stangel, teacher retirement. 26 years of service; Jennifer Wilhelm, secretary replacement hire.

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