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Mills school board discusses adding elementary principal

At the April 26 meeting of the New York Mills school board, members discussed adding a licensed full-time elementary principal for the 2010-11school year at the recommendation of Supt. Todd Cameron.

"This is the type of thing that has been on my mind for a long long time," Cameron said. "Going back to last June when a decision was made on the current model."

The current model established three positions. The superintendent, who also acts as elementary principal and community education director, a high school principal and a dean of students/athletic-activities director. The model was reevaluated at that time because the former elementary principal had requested to be reassigned back into a classroom.

"I think at that time it was for the right reasons looking financially at the budget cuts we went through," said Cameron. "My heart was telling me at that time to do what I thought was financially best for the district and that if I could do more and assist more then so be it. But for right now my vote would be to go with a licensed elementary principal."

Cameron went on to say that an elementary principal would be much better for the district, kids, and teachers. He was clear in pointing out that the staff members in the current model, dean of students/athletic director Travis Hensch and high school principal Blain Novak, were both doing an exceptional job.

"Having an elementary princiapal that can really attend and focus to the needs of the elementary school is better," said Cameron. "It's the best way to go and that's exactly what I want."

Novak reiterated Cameron's thoughts, "in a perfect world, the best model would be for a k-6 principal, high school principal and superintendent/community education director."

"The one thing that I believe the current model really missed this year was an advocate for the elementary teachers. In this type of business you really don't want to go straight to the top and complain about stuff that might not be critical and the superintendent doesn't need to know," Hensch added.

Novak said as a K-12 principal he doesn't have the opportunity to work with kids on a 1-on-1 basis when it comes to discipline in the hopes of making positive changes. A k-6 principal would be able to do a lot more mentoring in order to connect with kids on a more personal basis.

But Novak also pointed out there are strengths to the current model. He said the athletic director is able to attend to matters without having to be bothered in a classroom during class time, which allows teachers to focus their time on the students. He went on to say the current model allows for the dean of students to deal with attendance and truancy issues.

The board will discuss the possibly of adding a full-time licensed elementary principal at the next working meeting May 10.

Board approves late starts for 2010-11 school year

The board unanimously approved two late starts for staff development time during the next school year. The dates have not been determined but will account for only two total hours by starting two days one hour later.

The dates will be determined soon so they can be included on the school calendar that is sent out to the community.

NY Mills District goals for 2010-11 approved

The board approved to continue the 2009-10 district goals.

Goal #1: To implement and deliver the Minnesota Academic Standards in both basic requirements as well as through articulation in the K-12 curriculum to improve student's skills in reading, writing, math and science as shown by increased standardized test scores.

Goal #2: To develop a district-wide strategic plan that addresses the academic programs, services and future financial resources for the school district.

Goal #3: To improve technology skills so staff and students can improve their knowledge by embedding technology in daily activities and assignments.

Goal #4: To actively develop a set of parameters for effective communication between students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board and the community.