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Looking ahead to next school year

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With the current school year drawing to a close, Perham-Dent School Board members and administrators are looking ahead in preparation for the upcoming school year.

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At the school board’s regular monthly meeting on May 21, discussion and action continued on several matters:

CEO program

Perham High School Principal Ehren Zimmerman gave an update on the progress of the CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) class. Most of the students, a teacher and a “home base” have been selected for the new program, which will begin this fall.

Jim Kraemer, a businessman from the Wadena area, will lead the class, which will be based in a conference room at Thumper Pond in Ottertail. So far, Perham will have 10 students enrolled in the class and Battle Lake will have three. At the time of the meeting, no students had been confirmed from Henning, though the district is likely to enroll three or four students.

Technology

Representatives from the Lakes Country Service Cooperative technology team gave a review of the year – along with an overview of a five-year plan for the district’s technology utilization.

“Really, technology has had a minimal impact over the years (on teaching and learning), simply because we kind of drop it in and fail to plan,” said Josh Nelson, the coop’s manager of education services. “Believe it or not, Perham is ahead of the game now because you’ve really come at technology from the learning perspective.”

One of the key technology changes for next year is the expansion of the 1-to-1 iPad initiative in seventh and eighth grades (one iPad for every student). The district will add 255 iPad minis to its program for those students to use and take home. Two additional carts of older iPads will be shared by the fifth and sixth grades, bringing their iPad ratio to about 2-to-1.

Building assessments

A team from ICS Consulting came and assessed all but one of the district’s buildings. Their findings and other information will be made available through a series of community informational meetings scheduled to start on June 25. More information about these meetings will be available closer to that date.

Buildings manager Russ Winkels said separate geothermal tests showed windows around the Prairie Wind Middle School cafeteria need caulking to prevent heat loss and water issues.

Winkels also said that the roof on most of the elementary school is scheduled to be replaced this summer. Quotes for the project using three types of materials are being collected, but recommendations have leaned toward using shingles.

HOTL playground

Heart of the Lakes Elementary School Principal Jen Hendrickson confirmed that equipment for the new playground has been ordered. Three current playground pieces will be kept and reincorporated into the new setup. Installation is planned for later this summer.

On Tuesday, Hendrickson confirmed that the school received a $25,000 Otto Bremer grant toward the cost of the playground. The grant, along with donations from numerous local groups, total more than $88,000 – leaving about $17,000 to reach the school’s fundraising goal.

New teachers and positions

The board approved plans to hire another physical education teacher, a special education instructor (specifically to work with students who are on the autism spectrum) and a general music/band instructor for grades 7-12.

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