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District 88 Board certifies election results

Hears report on 6-period day at NUHS

November 14, 2012
By Kremena Spengler - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - The District 88 Board of Education on Tuesday certified the results of the Nov. 6 election.

The board approved to election of the following new board members whose terms will begin on Jan. 1, 2013: Matt Ringhofer, with 5,316 votes, Patricia Hoffman, with 5,299 votes, Jill Hulke, with 4,604 votes, and Sharon Gieseke, with 3,875 votes.

The board also certified the results of the referendum on a new school levy of $575 per student per year. It verified that 5,991 people voted for the levy, and 4,658 people voted against it.

In the non-action portion of the evening, the board heard a progress report on how resource time is being utilized after the high school switched to a six-period day for the first time this year.

The stated intent of the six-period change was to increase student achievement, while optimizing instruction in a contracting school system.

The new schedule includes six 56-minutes periods, with a mid-day additional period split between a 26-minute resource portion and a 30-minute lunch.

Teams of teachers from several departments reported about the resource sessions in English, math and reading.

For example, the English session took place over four weeks, in grades 7-10, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays and Fridays were reserved for structured study time.

The English session focused on writing effective arguments. English teachers wrote 12 interactive SmartBoard lessons which were taught by resource teachers and culminated in each student writing an essay on an assigned topic.

Similarly, the still ongoing math session is focused on specific strands of material for grouped students, with the choice of topics and student groupings determined by data from MCA (state achievement) tests. The math session was taught by math teachers each of whom focused on their area of expertise.

The ongoing reading session (alternating with math) is focused on helping identifying the main idea and inferences in articles selected by specifically trained teachers. This focus was also identified through test data.

During and after the presentations by principals and teachers, board members asked questions about specific aspects of the sessions, such as the lessons learned from the effort, and about plans for strengthening the enrichment (versus remedial) component in future resource sessions.

Board members also asked about how the open-lunch period, which is a privilege granted to juniors and seniors who are on track for graduation, is working out.

Administrators reported no significant issues related to seniors and juniors leaving the campus.



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