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Nevis groundbreaking Monday

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BY JEAN RUZICKA

The Nevis School Board approved a lease financing agreement for the 250 iPads that will engage students’ intellects next fall.

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Kinetic Leasing of Fargo, recommended by Ehlers, the school’s financial advisors, proposed a first payment of $32,587, due upon purchase, with two more annual payments. The interest cost of the three-year lease is $3,411, at 3.39 percent.

Total cost to the district is $97,911.

Board member Andy Lindow, who’d voted against the original measure, voted against the lease agreement.

Nevis’ two preschool classrooms will receive six each with kindergarten, first and second grades receiving 12 per classroom, roughly a two student to one computer ratio.

Kids in grades three through seven will each be issued an iPad.

Consensus has not been reached as to the device for grades 8-12.

A policy is being drafted which will be reviewed by the tech committee.

In other action, the board:

n Continued to approve construction contracts for the additions to the school, including a $118,880 bid for a direct digital control system through NAC Mechanical Electrical Systems.

The board also approved carpet tile in hallways in the elementary and new ECFE addition and terrazzo tile in the hallways by the new band and choir rooms and high school classroom addition.

The school board agreed to use aluminum tubing, as opposed to copper, as a cost saving measure.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 29.

n Learned the Nevis Robotics Team is one of the top 30 teams in the state and has qualified for the state tournament.

A request to participate, with an overnight stay in St. Paul, was granted, with congratulations to team members and advisors.

n Learned the school will receive a Violence Prevention grant through St. Joseph’s Area Health Services of $1,927. The funds will be used to upgrade the existing 2nd Step Program, which provides skills for social and academic success.

Each grade level of the program features developmentally appropriate ways to teach core social-emotional skills such as empathy, emotion management, problem solving, self-regulation and executive function skills.

Social worker Krista Platz, who works with students in grades K-6, addressed bullying, a term, she said, that is too general and, conversely, too restrictive.

“There are great kids in every class,” she told the board. “But there are one or two in each class” who are labeled “bullies.” She helps kids understand how their behavior affects their classmates and the classroom.

A printed handout she distributed states that intensive media attention on bullying has died down, “but the problem persists in many forms, and it continues to diminish the lives of tens of thousands of young people every day.”

According to a recent survey, roughly half of all high school students said in the past year they were bullied in a manner that seriously upset them. A similar number said they had bullied someone else.

“We need to make sure that every school child understands that insults, name calling, relentless teasing and malicious gossip can inflict deep and enduring damage that often can’t be cured.

“You just can’t unring a bell.”

Anti-bullying strategies have some effect, but a more promising solution is a multi-prong approach that creates cultures of kindness and helps young people develop inner resources to resist and reject hurtful messages.

Further, a better strategy is to instill, reinforce and reward the values of empathy, compassion and acceptance, a pro-kindness approach.

“A dedicated effort to teach, advocate and model kindness will work much better than efforts to punish meanness,” the report states.

n Approved the Early Childhood 2013-14 calendar and fees, which will remain the same.

Fees for School Readiness and Pre-K are based on annual family income.

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