With Nevis students in grades K-12 returning Sept. 3, many items on the July 22 board agenda were related to welcoming them back.

The fall open house for parents and students will be Wednesday, Aug. 28. Seventh grade students will be meeting in Tiger Arena with their parents and mentors at 5:30 p.m. and the open house is from 6-7:30 p.m.

Staff changes approved July 22 included the resignation of elementary special education teacher Bill Dent, who is retiring but will continue to coach. The board also accepted the resignation of Lisa Moses from the pep band director portion of her position. Moses will continue in her role as jazz band director, along with teaching instrumental music.

Contracts were approved for Molly Drury (speech language pathologist), Michael Weerts (elementary teacher), Kimberly Warne (elementary special education teacher) and Joel Blanchfield (science teacher for grades 7-12).

“God answered our prayers and some phenomenal candidates applied for these positions,” Superintendent Gregg Parks said. “We’re not seeing the volume of people we saw in the past applying for teaching positions.”

Principal Brian Michaelson said George Goggleeye from the Leech Lake Tribe will be one of the speakers for the August staff workshop. He will be talking about cultural diversity. Deputy Josh Oswald and the drug task force will also be presenting at the staff workshop.

Board member Justin Isaacson suggested the district start looking for a guest speaker on the topic of anti-bullying and violence prevention presentation for this fall.

“Maybe we could have one for the elementary and another one for the high school as part of welcoming students back and to get a good atmosphere and feeling going for the new year,” he said.

Shop with a Cop

Isaacson also updated the board on the Healing Heart Foundation’s ‘Shop With A Cop” event for August, where area police officers will take students impacted by domestic violence on a back-to-school shopping trip. The goal is to raise $3,000 so 30 children who are referred can each have $100 to spend on school supplies and clothing.

“We are accepting donations to help with this event,” he said.

Anyone interested in donating can email jisaacson@Nevis308.org.

Board member Andy Lindow said that the Pam Lindow Scholarship Foundation will be holding its golf fundraiser at Blueberry Pines in Menahga starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 3. Email him at alindow@Nevis308.org for more information.

Negotiations underway

Board member Ed Becker said negotiations are beginning for teachers and classified staff.

Isaacson asked if there was a possibility of rearranging seasonal breaks so teachers can have more time off for vacations without impacting their contacts with students.

“Those are topics for negotiations,” board chair Larry Smith said. “This year’s calendar is already set up, so we’d be looking into the future. We’re already squeezing a lot in between Labor Day and Memorial Day.”

Parks said, with 48 percent of kids on free and reduced lunch, he has concerns about extended breaks during the school year and whether these students will have their nutritional needs met during that time.

“Not everybody’s going to Mexico,” he said.

Handbooks, purchases and bids

The board approved the first readings of both the student/parent and staff handbooks with highlighted changes for review. Michaelson said the dress code is in the process of being reviewed with input from staff and students. The number of electronic learning days was corrected to five days rather than the four days in last year’s handbook. The board discussed issues of internet access and teacher availability to help with students who have questions to make sure they have time to address each student’s needs.

The board approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford Transit 10-passenger wagon from Nelson Auto Center in Fergus Falls at a total cash price of $30,147.12. This is a replacement for a 2007 vehicle and will be used to transport students.

T & M Express was awarded the fuel bid at six cents under the pump price. The district accepted the only milk bid received from Land O Lakes Milk at 22.5 cents per half pint.

Parks reported all new windows are in and casements are in the process of being completed. Work on floors, painting and other preparations are also underway.