High School Principal Jeff Johnson told the Park Rapids School Board on Tuesday that his staff has been meeting with approximately 80 students in grades 9-11 who failed a class either last spring or during the fall trimester to plan credit recovery.

“We want to get them on track as soon as possible,” he said. “About 70-80 percent of them want to start doing it now, after school.”

Another 10-15 percent prefer to do the make-up work next summer, he said, while another group hasn’t been reached yet.

Johnson said he is working with district administration regarding after-school teacher pay, and he stressed that students won’t be asked to start over from scratch, but to take what they have already done and bring it up to a passing level.

Johnson also reported that the school’s partnership with St. Cloud State University and Team Industries in a student apprenticeship program has been on hold this year due to COVID-19, but is starting up again. “That’s going to continue, now, another five years,” he said.

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Century School reports

Middle School Principal Shawn Andress reported that attendance has been down the last couple of Fridays for the “Panther Time” interventions, where invited students come on campus for extra help in areas where they are struggling. She attributed this dip to the recent cold snap, recalling that several parents called to say their cars wouldn’t start.

Elementary Principal Mike LeMier said that, due to COVID-19, plans for the usual kindergarten round-up and kindercamp have been adjusted in favor of a summer program.

LeMier reported more than 20 members of his staff have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine and will have their second shot on March 11. He said they are monitoring how staff are being affected by the vaccine and planning how to cover for any teachers who are unable to work on March 12.

Early voting begins Feb. 26

According to school board chair Sherry Safratowich, early voting begins at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26 at the school district office for the special school bond referendum scheduled for April 13.

The bond is being sought to raise $59.8 million for facility improvements, including demolishing the Frank White Education Center, expanding the high school, improving the parking and pickup/drop-off areas at Century School and replacing the school bus garage.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad said the ballot question is similar to the two questions that failed in the November 2020 election, except it will be a single question and the dollar amount was adjusted. However, he said, the tax impact will be the same.

Bagstad also discussed a series of planned meetings with parents, grouped by students’ grade level, to discuss how the improvements would affect their school experience.

Activities picking up

Reporting on behalf of Activity Director Jeremy Nordick, Johnson said:

  • The school’s one-act play, “Do Not Go Gentle,” was a section runner-up.

  • The speech team has been picking up more events and adjusting well to COVID-19 restrictions, according to Coach Tanya Miller.

  • A boys basketball game this week with Crosby-Ironton had to be rescheduled due to quarantine issues when the other team had positive cases.

  • The Minnesota State High School League will be allowing more attendance at school events.

Community Education Director Jill Dickinson said a growing number of in-person activities are opening up both for youth and adults.

Dickinson also reported her staff is excited about putting together a summer course catalog.

Facilities Superintendent Alan Vanderstad reported that two minor heating issues were recently repaired, and that he is currently short two staff members for reasons not related to COVID-19.