October weather permits ongoing track construction

Photo by Robert Williams
Crews took advantage of mostly dry conditions in early October to continue paving efforts on the future concessions and bleachers area of the new complex with hopes to get work done on the track surface before winter.

By Robert Williams

Editor

The 2022 workforce plan annual report was presented to the board at the Frazee-Vergas school board meeting on Monday, Oct. 10. The plan reviews educational goals set last year and reports on the results in meeting those goals.

Rebecca Matejka reported on the K-6 Student Success program. The program met all of its goals including 44 of 45 students increasing their reading equivalency by .5 from fall to spring on the Star Reading Assessment. In math, 41 of 44 students made the same improvements on the math assessment. 

Another goal is integration, concentrating on racial and economic achievement gaps between students. As part of the West Central Cultural Collaborative, high school students from other schools work with kids in elementary schools.

All students involved reported being satisfied with the mentorship program when surveyed.

Part of the program for sixth graders is beginning career exploration to increase awareness of college and career opportunities. Matejka reported 100 percent participation in the program from sixth graders.

Teacher diversity and veteran retention were also targeted for filling future teaching positions, along with efforts to diversify staff. The district works with college programs within a 70-mile radius to fulfill student teaching requirements and recruit and retain new teachers. Partnerships were made with four area colleges to encourage on-going referrals of diverse applicants to the district. 

“We’re kind of doing a little preparation on what it’s going to be like in junior high and we took them to M-State, because a lot of our kids don’t  know what kind of options there are beyond these walls. It gives them an opportunity to dream a bit,” Matejka said.

American Indian Students (AMI) Coordinator Heather Perrine reported on goals met in decreasing the proficiency gap between Native American students and all students in reading and math proficiency.  Perrine’s goals also consisted of increasing integration of American Indian content into the curriculum, increasing knowledge of cultural identity and growing involvement with the parent committee.

All AMI third grade students increased reading proficiency by .5 and 64 percent were another half of a grade level ahead by the end of last school year.

Some areas that did not meet expectations included Kindergarten Readiness, but the program was not far from the goals set. The early childhood programs in Frazee were also affected by the retirement of longtime coordinator Karrie Schultz in May.

Elementary principal Travis Nagel’s report also included reports on student achievement with goals of having 100 percent of K-3 students at or above grade level expectations. First graders led the way with 96 percent, while third graders were down at 70 percent. 

Of note, those are the kids most directly affected in early formative years by the COVID shutdown and distance learning in 2019 and 2020.

High school principal Anna Potvin also noted those third graders did exceed the state average on assessments.

Intervention plans for students at risk and monthly reviews with interventionists and paras are in place to improve those numbers.

According to Nagel and Potvin, students exceeded state levels in four of seven grade levels in math assessments. Three of seven grade levels exceeded state levels in reading and none of the three grade levels (fifth, eighth grades, high school) where science assessments were given.

Board chair Thaddeus Helmers noted a consistent lapse in student achievement in math between sixth grade and up, questioning why students leave sixth grade very prepared before slumping in seventh and eighth grades.

“Since I’ve been on the school board we’ve never exceeded the state math for transition from the elementary to the high school,” he said.

Precise data was unavailable to fully address those issues, but Potvin stated there were improvements at the 11th grade level and further discussions should be had on addressing Helmers’ point.

The full annual report is available online from the district at www.frazee.k12.mn.us. Click district>school board>boardbook for the most recent agenda.

Construction update

Earthwork on the junior varsity baseball field has begun. At the new football and track complex, the paving of the track is scheduled to begin and the new scoreboard, bleachers and press box are scheduled to begin installation in the next two weeks.

Hornet Pride

A donation was made to Frazee Elementary via CyberGrants on behalf of the employees of Cargill by alum Gail Zick Clendening in the amount of $340.