Saturday, May 29, 2010

Classroom of the future proposal presented to ISD 2142 Board

Article from the Cook News Herald:

ISD 2142, the St. Louis County School District, is one of the most unique districts in these United States. It covers an area larger than many states, including Rhode Island and Delaware. It has a transportation system that would drive many bus companies nuts. The seven enrollment areas comprise seven schools, but that will soon be cut down to four with the new construction approved by district taxpayers last December.
This unique district presents some problems other districts don't have. To handle those problems, ISD 2142 tries to be on the forefront of technology in delivering educational programs to its nearly 2,000 students.
At the regular board meeting of the district held Monday at 5 p.m. in the AlBrook School, the Technology Committee, headed by AlBrook Principal Kristi Berlin and the district's computer guru Markus Hoche, gave a preview of the classrooms of the future which will become commonplace in the new and remodeled schools.
The classrooms of the future will depend on support, new equipment and training. The two technology gurus were wearing a type of microphone that teachers will use. These will make sure everyone in the class hears them. These aren't the microphones that most people know. They use computers, etc. They worked great in the large cafeteria of the AlBrook School. The committee also showed how telephones, smart boards, etc. would be used to give the students the best education that the district can give them. These new classrooms will become the envy of surrounding districts. According to Markus, they can afford to do this, too, under their budget.
Students in 2142 are in for some great times in the future.
Principal Berlin gave an update on what has been happening in the AlBrook School. She reported that the math and reading curriculums are going to be highlighted next year. She reported on Senior Day where seniors are given help in applying to college and for scholarships. AlBrook has 30 graduating seniors and they have been awarded $225,000 in scholarships so far. Eighty percent of the class is going on to college. Also, students going on to college are transferring 30 plus credits to their college from high school classes.
The board accepted a $2,000 donation from the Lahti family for the Orr School Youth Development Community Garden Project.
The cooperative sponsorships for boys hockey with Virginia, MI-B and Orr, cross country for boys and girls with AlBrook and Cotton, and alpine skiing with Virginia, Mesabi East, Tower-Soudan and Eveleth-Gilbert was dissolved. The board then approved cooperative sponsorships for boys and girls cross country with AlBrook, Cherry, Tower-Soudan and Cotton.
Twenty-four probationary teachers and one probationary ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) teacher were terminated. Most will be hired back for next year.
Tenured teachers Todd Olson .2 FTE, Carolyn Olson .2 FTE, Brian Lamppa 1.0 FTE and Susan Lindmeier .2 FTE were placed on unrequested leaves of absence (ULA).
Four ECFE teachers were placed on ULA. They are usually hired back for next year.
Theresa LaVigne was recalled as a Title I teacher for the 2010-2011 school year.
Michael J. Edwards, a well-respected teacher at AlBrook, had his resignation/retirement approved.
The meeting adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beaudry, Bruns support new North School site

Article from the Cook News Herald concerning the new Cook-Orr school :

By Zelda Bruns and Tom Beaudry
ISD 2142 School Board

On Dec. 8, 2009, voters of ISD 2142 approved a bond referendum authorizing the school district to move ahead with the consolidation and reconfiguration of our area schools. After watching voters reject three straight operating levies that could have provided the funds needed to keep more schools open, it appears that we have finally found the plan that a majority of residents of the district support and will keep our school district together.

Over the next few years, the plan will consolidate the Cook and Orr schools into a single PK-12 school that will serve students from both attendance areas. The site selection committee was charged with finding a location that would be in between the current schools to help maximize enrollment numbers. The board approved the recommended site. This school will be brand new, with a new name, mascot, and team colors to reflect the coming together of our communities. This school will provide technology and facilities that are unavailable in other school districts in our area.

School consolidation will always be a controversial issue. We both would have preferred a plan that would have kept both the Cook and Orr schools open, and made investments in the existing buildings. However, there is simply not enough money available from the state or local taxpayers to keep all seven schools open in this district. Given the choice between building a new school to serve both areas or risking closing one or both schools, we believed that consolidation was the better choice.

One-third of the residents in each of our attendance areas agreed with this approach. We thank those voters for supporting the school board's plan. However, we also realize that two-thirds of our residents did not support this bond referendum. This makes our job pretty clear - we need to make sure the facilities plan does everything it has promised, and we still need to demonstrate to many of you that this is the best alternative.
There is a lot of talk about a plan to combine the schools in Tower, Orr and Cook with the Ely schools. We do not support this option, primarily because it breaks up ISD 2142 without solving its fundamental financial problems. Splitting the district in two would not guarantee we could keep our schools open. In fact, it may lead to loss of the district's sparsity aid which, thanks to our local legislators, is 12 percent of the district's overall revenue. Area voters, including residents in the Cook and Orr attendance areas, have rejected the operating levies needed to fund operations in all of our current schools. Combining our current schools with a different district won't change that problem.

Change will always be difficult. But ISD 2142 enrollment has been dropping, and the time has come for our long-range plan that will improve our educational facilities and stabilize our finances. We need to unite behind this plan and make it work for the students and families who live in this area.
But at the same time, we know that most of you will be watching carefully to make sure that the promises of this plan are kept. We will be fighting to make sure that the new Cook and Orr school will offer the best facilities available for the education of area students. You deserve that kind of commitment from us.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Babbitt - Embarrass Band Concert Photos & Videos, May 6th, 2010

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