High School Principal Jeff Johnson asked the Park Rapids School Board on Monday, Nov. 1 to authorize the hiring of a Level 3 special education (SpEd) teacher.

Further to their discussion on Oct. 18, Johnson said creating the new position would take pressure off other teachers who are providing basic English instruction for students representing several SpEd categories.

Special education director Eva Pohl noted there are separate licenses to provide different areas of SpEd programming, including autism spectrum disorder, developmentally-cognitively delayed, emotional-behavior disorder and specific learning disabilities.

Pohl said they will look at candidates’ licensures, as well as those of existing staff, to ensure they meet the requirements of their cross-categorical program.

Asked where this person would teach, Johnson suggested moving the teacher from one available room to another this year and possibly settling them next year in what is now the daycare room.

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“It is a full-day program, where some of these students would not be coming in and out of the classroom very often,” he said. “Centrally located would be best. We’ve got some ideas where we can house it in the high school for the rest of this year and plan what that looks like next year.”

Superintendent Lance Bagstad stressed they’re not immediately planning to develop a Level 3 SpEd program at the school, but they are working toward adding some Level 3 programming.

Asked what would happen if they can’t find a candidate with the needed licensure, Johnson said they may already have teachers with certain licensures who could be reassigned, allowing one of the current SpEd teachers to move up to a higher level.

“It would be very difficult for somebody fresh, brand new, coming into a Level 3 type program,” he said. “I’ve got a couple people that would be willing to work with me on staff.”

School board member Stephanie Carlson made a motion to create the position Johnson described. The motion passed unanimously.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Heard that business manager Kent Fritze completed his certification with the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials.

  • Hired Eric Hillesland as a junior high boys basketball coach, Stephen Funk and Amber Seibert as National Honor Society co-advisors and Mike Arvik as a bus driver.

  • Accepted the resignations of Steve Safratowich as a bus driver and Ryan Kern as a braillist effective Nov. 11.

  • Approved out-of-state travel for Amber Seibert to the National Association of Agriculture Educators’ annual convention Nov. 29-Dec. 4 in New Orleans, La. Bagstad said the trip is part of Seibert’s role as a member of the association’s board of directors and is paid for by the association.

  • Acknowledged a $500 donation from Coldwell Banker Clack & Dennis Real Estate to the Park Rapids BPA chapter.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15 at the Frank White Education Center.