Quality Compensation Program and Professional Development for Teachers is on track to return to District 831. The school board approved the proposal on May 2.
The teachers union is scheduled to vote on May 9, and then the plan would then go to the Minnesota Department of Education. If the state says yes before the last day of school, Q Comp will be in place in September for the 2013-2014 school year. Otherwise the start will be delayed one year.
To provide staff development and tie compensation to student performance, the state pays $169 per student to districts with Q Comp. The district, through the property tax levy, supplies $91 per student.
When the program starts here, the annual cost to the state will be $1,115,000, and to the school district, $600,000.
In addition to voting to buy the FLAAA Sports Center (see page 1) and approving Q Comp, at the May 2 meeting the school board heard about four successful ventures in different schools.
Linwood Elementary fourth-grade teachers Judy Marleau and Kathy Dow presented their reading plan to the board.
To use a gift certificate that a parent had given her, Dow said, she was searching the teacher books in a book store two weeks before school started.
“The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn Miller caught her eye.
Now she uses the principles in the book to “awaken the inner reader” in her students.
The fourth-grade teachers expect each student to read 40 books a year, spread over nine genres, with 150 pages counting as a book.
The kids read when they’ve finished an assignment. They bring books along on field trips.
A reading log, book talks, and letters to the teacher are part of the program.
The teacher writes back to each child, each week.
“I know their hobbies,” Dow said. “We recommend books to each other.”
Nature Explore at the Central Learning Center is an outdoor classroom with spots for building, nature art, climbing, crawling and music.
The first of five Nature Explore classrooms to be certified in Minnesota, it opened in October of 2007.
The space was built with start-up funds from organizations and local businesses, plus a lot of labor from parents.
Success stories include 11 children building and staffing a hotel they made from recycled Christmas trees, a student with autism spectrum disorder beginning to speak, and a GED graduate who wrote her first essay on the concept.
The three-person culinary arts team from the high school that won the state tournament in March traveled to Baltimore for the national competition.
For practice, “We set up in the high school hallway for exposure, interacting with students like we would with judges at competition,” teacher Laura Feyma said.
The team could use only two butane burners to cook on. In Baltimore they prepped in their hotel room, after shopping in local stores and discovering that Baltimore stores do not have the same ingredients as Minnesota stores.
The students had to demonstrate four knife cuts and cut up a chicken. They had 60 minutes to prepare their meal.
Community Problem Solving
Two Future Problem Solving teams from Lino Lakes Elementary presented their winning projects.
The fourth-graders’ school bathroom remodeling project and the sixth-graders’ school-wide fitness project will be covered in a future Times article before they head to the international competition, June 6-9 at the University of Indiana.