Enrollment, hires up as school year starts

Forest View Elementary kindergarten teacher Samantha Merrell helps students get on the right bus after the first day of school Tuesday. (Photos by Mary Bailey)

Forest View Elementary kindergarten teacher Samantha Merrell helps students get on the right bus after the first day of school Tuesday. (Photos by Mary Bailey)

About 50 new teachers on board in ISD 831

 

Before leaving for the day, Samantha Merrell's kindergarten students listened as she explained the procedure, including “Do not get on a bus until you talk to me.”

Before leaving for the day, Samantha Merrell’s kindergarten students listened as she explained the procedure, including “Do not get on a bus until you talk to me.”

Clint Riese
News Editor

A projected total of 6,700 students in ISD 831 began the school year Tuesday. That number represents a slight increase from 2012-13.

The number of fresh faces on the district’s staff is also on the rise. About 50 new hires came on board over the summer, marking the biggest crop in years. Another 20 or so came on board during the 2012-13 school year and took part in the district’s four-day workshop for new teachers last week.

A state grant is one force driving the hiring surge. ISD 831 received funding from the Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services process. The aim of ADSIS is to reduce the number of referrals to special education by providing early support to struggling students. In Forest Lake Schools, most of the new ADSIS teachers came from in house, so the new hires stemming from ADSIS are filling other teaching positions.

The grant, secured in June, is good for two years.

Other new hires stem from the district’s use of dollars from the state’s Achievement and Integration Program. This state money is being used to fund Reading Recovery, a program used internationally to give individual attention to first-graders struggling with literacy.

Both programs reflect a push by the district to strengthen its “Tier II” curriculum for students needing additional help, said Superintendent Dr. Linda Madsen.

Curriculum, administration and facility usage is mostly stable heading into the new school year, Madsen said.

Lynn Bormann is the district’s only new principal. She is replacing Mike Conway at Wyoming Elementary. At the high school, former language arts teacher Stephanie Ward is now a dean, while former dean Leslie Heidel is teaching family and consumer science.

The district’s Spanish immersion program has grown to include fourth grade this year. One grade per year is being added until the elementary program is bridged to the secondary-level program.

“It is interesting because now we are getting a cadre of immersion teachers at the elementaries connecting with the teachers from the upper grades,” Madsen said.

A third school resource officer from the Forest Lake Police Department has been added. Four representatives from the department presented to district staff last week regarding school safety and emergency training.

The first-time engagement proved fruitful, Madsen said.

“There were many, many positive comments from teachers about how good it is to hear that perspective. … I don’t think most school districts would focus on that and would have that relationship to do that,” she said.

Familiar faces

At least nine of the new hires have local connections.

– Century Junior High special education teacher Alesha Blom is a Forest Lake native who went through the school system.

– Lino Lakes Elementary early childhood education teacher Anna DeRaad is a Forest Lake native who went through the school system.

– Wyoming Elementary kindergarten teacher Amber Diemert is a Stacy native who went through the school system.

– Southwest Junior High Spanish teacher Brent Kolbow is a Forest Lake native who went through the school system.

– Wyoming Elementary third-grade teacher Krista Lange is a Hugo native who went through the school system.

– Forest View kindergarten teacher Samantha Merrell is a Forest Lake native who went through the school system.

– Scandia Elementary literacy intervention instructor Maggie Myre is a Scandia native who attended Scandia Elementary.

– Wyoming Elementary literacy intervention instructor Dorothy Senger, an Isanti native, worked at Applebee’s in Forest Lake for 11 years.

– Forest View Elementary literacy intervention instructor Amy Tye is a Forest Lake native who went through the school system.

 

 

 

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