The ISD 318 School Board shared their excitement for a new school year at the regular meeting on Tuesday, September 7. Local school administrators shared some brief thoughts on how the first days of school for each building went.

“We had a tremendous day today,” said Principal of Bigfork School Ken DeCoster.

DeCoster also noted that a lot of preparation goes into making the first day of school run smoothly.

“It was amazing, the excitement, being able to see kids and everything about the first day of school,” said Robert J. Elkington Middle School Principal Dan Adams. “A great deal of gratitude to roughly 100 adults who made this all happen—custodial staff, food staff, instructional staff, paras, everyone who helps bring this together. And then just under 900 kids. You just can’t beat that.”

Activities Director Anne Campbell came to the board with a request to approve naming the Grand Rapids High School Practice Field.

“Independent School District 318 is home to one of the most iconic educational based athletic settings in the state of Minnesota,” Campbell stated. The towering white pines that encompass the activity facilities on the camps of Grand Rapids High School provide a competitive environment that is unmatched.”

The request to name the practice field comes as it has seen an increase in activity offerings on the field. Specifically, the facility has been used as a performance venue for boys and girls lacrosse.

The board approved the request. The next steps will include forming a Facilities Naming Committee to work with the superintendent to identify names to present to the school board for consideration. This is the same process that was used when the recently built East and West Rapids Elementary schools were named.

The board also approved the acceptance of office and seated interim School Board Director Mark Schroeder. Schroeder is the former principal of Grand Rapids High SChool.

After the agenda items had all been addressed, many community members participated in the public input forum portion of the meeting. Numerous others also spoke during the open forum prior to the meeting. Those who participated spoke primarily about policies regarding the wearing of masks in school. Opinions on the matter varied greatly from those strongly in favor to those strongly against.

For information regarding Covid-19, visit

Other business

Board members also took action on the following agenda items:

Approved the minutes of the August 9, 2021 special school board meeting

Approved the minutes of the August 16, 2021 regular school board meeting

Approve a resolution to accept donations and gifts for April ($7,500.22), May ($18,504.22) and June ($23,307.24) 2021.

Approved the Independent Provider application from Minnesota High School Equestrian Association.

Approved the Itasca Resource Center lease agreement addendum.

Approved the lease agreement with Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids and Greenway.

Board members approved the meeting’s Consent Agenda with the following staffing changes: Laurie Antonson, Indian Education Student Advocate resignation; Jessi Bloom, Indian Education Student Advocate replacement hire; Jeff Clasen, Bus Driver replacement hire; Jonathan Dunnick, Debate Coach resignation; Nikki Gebhart, RJEMS Secretary replacement hire; Samantha Gould, Indian Education Student Advocate replacement hire; Abby Guthiller, RJEMS Volleyball Coach temporary hire; John Hartung, Bus Driver resignation; Carolyn Liebe, Title I Teacher replacement hire; Michael Lundberg, Food & Nutrition replacement hire; Thomas Markwardt, Bus Driver replacement hire; Don Peterson, Custodian replacement hire; Amber Powers, Community Education resignation; Cynthia Prather, School Nurse hire; Kyle Rae, Bus Driver replacement hire; Heather Reinartz, ESP replacement hire; Christa Roerick, GRHS Secretary replacement hire; Amy Savela, ESP retirement; Shelley Schramm, ESP retirement; and Cassie Vernig, Indian Education Student Advocate replacement hire.


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