1/22/2021 1:15:00 PM North Branch School Board organizes;
hears Covid prep update for students' return
The North Branch District 138 School Board last week elected officers, set wages and meeting dates and addressed a host of other annual organizing tasks, with a new chair guiding the Board for the first time in years. (See story on Kirby Ekstrom stepping down.)
The 2021 Board Chair is Tim MacMillan, Vice Chair is Sarah Grovender.
~ Compensation stays at $60 per meeting and $125 for any session half day or longer (four hours and over). The Chair also gets $800, Vice Chair $500, clerk and treasurer get $300 annually.
~ Ekstrom had been on the MN State High School League Board and the decision was made to have the North Branch Athletic Director serve as liaison in his place and report back to the Board on sports/activities related developments.
Replaing Ekstrom as Liaison to the state legislature and MN State School Board Association will be Heather Osagiede.
There was a recorded presentation of video by all the fall sports coaches, created to recognize team and individual efforts of athletes.
The coaches for football, soccer, cross country volleyball and girls’ tennis submitted videos acknowledging academic and competitive achievements. The Board appreciated the unique effort and said they all hoped the activities recognitions could return to an in-person format soon. Students will return to in-person learning in North Branch as of this week, Superintendent Sara Paul explained in her update. Supt. Paul said North Branch really feels like the district is prepared for virus protocols and in fact— this week at the MSBA conference— staff members are presenting some of North Branch’s “return to learn” efforts.
Paul said North Branch is going back to in-person opportunities sooner than most districts because “We sorted through (covid-19) questions in July and August.” She noted that building and grounds superintendent Art Tobin made a presentation to a national organization on building sanitization metods and products, and air flow among other practices, and he was invited to be part of the group.
In another virus-related matter, the “Support Stars” outreach to boost on-call replacement workers both in and out of the classroom was well received, Supt. Paul continued. She said 30 or so expressed interest in being available for support staff openings or in obtaining a long term substitute license. About half of those have entered the process to become employed.
“It’s awesome to see so many community members willing to do what they can...helping to get the kids back in school,” she added.
“Support Stars” is what the district dubbed a local group of qualified workers, who have already gone through the licensing (if needed) and application process— and who can provide hours when educational staff availability is constricted during anticipated times of high demand. See the district website if you are interested in being contacted for filling vacant positions you may be eligible to fill.