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Perham-Dent schools off to a great start

With the school year in full swing, everything across the board is looking fantastic for both students and faculty, according to the September 15 meeting of the district's Board of Education.

Heart of the Lakes


Ms. Kari Yates, principal of Heart of the Lakes Elementary said it's "exciting to have a building full of kids who are off to a great start."

"We really made creative use of every space in that building," Yates furthered.

The elementary school is undertaking an endeavor to determine independent reading levels. This approach is being taken to insure that each student is being properly instructed at his or her own reading level.

All students from kindergarten to the sixth grade will be administered AIMSWEB Universal Screening of Reading skills to determine the allocation of intervention resources.

According to its website, AIMSWEB is a benchmark and progress monitoring system based on direct, frequent and continuous student assessment. The results are reported to students, parents, teachers and administrators via web-based data management and reporting system to determine response intervention.

NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) assessments for grades 2-4 will be administered soon. The data will "provide valuable information about strengths and needs in curriculum and grade level, classroom, and individual performance".

There has always been a fine line between Reading and Mathematics, Yates noted. Historically and consistently there have always been high scores for the students.

It was noted that a move to dive deeper into subgroups of mathematics will occur, and break them into substrands to further enhance the learning experience of students and avoid potential gaps.

Food service options have become available to offer students the option to choose an entrée choice every day, and a large number of fruit and vegetable choices. Yates noted that Bonnie Sorem, Anna Johnson, and Annie Carey were integral to making the transition work so well for the children.

Danielle Elker, a graduate of Concordia College, is joining HOTL elementary and it was noted that she "received incredible support from the Kindergarten team and is off to a strong start".

Trish McClellan is joining the school and will aid kindergarten, third, and fourth grade students with Read Naturally, a computerized reading fluency intervention.

Prairie Wind Middle School

Prairie Wind Middle School will have a total of 452 students this upcoming year. 98 fifth graders, 106 sixth graders, 133 seventh graders, and 115 eighth graders will be continuing their journey through education to be the future leaders of our world.

It was noted that the school is aiming to determine "what the essential standards should be for each grade level/curricular area and begin the process of developing a seamless transition from grade to grade". This will help streamline grade transitions while looking for gaps and overlaps.

Prairie Wind Middle School is surpassing area middle schools, ranking first in Reading, Math and Science for eighth graders; seventh graders ranked first in Reading and second in Math; and sixth graders ranked first in Reading and Math.

Mallory (Palubicki) Stoderl is a former PWMS/PHS graduate who is joining the school as a seventh grade Pre-Algebra teacher. She earned her B.A. from St. Cloud State University ('09) and will also be assisting Amanda Michaelson with the Student Council, as well as serving as the district Spelling Bee coordinator.

Students now have three choices along with fresh fruits/vegetables on a daily basis. It was noted students are happy with the changes made and the quality of the food. The school will be doing its best to stay in touch with parents about how much their children are spending on lunch account balances, as some students are taking ala-carte and/or adding a second entrée, it was reported.

Perham High School

Perham High School is in the process of hiring a Special Education DCD paraprofessional for Developmental Cognitive Disabilities. Teachers have adopted a policy against cell phones and iPods in classrooms.

The high school is staying within a percentage of other schools' MCA scores. They are remaining very strong in the Sciences.

Twenty-five new students registered at the high school and six are foreign exchange students. Fourteen withdrew over the summer, with two to the ALC, two moved online, one is going for a GED, and the rest moved out of the district.

Reports of the new food services have been highly positive so far this year, noted principal John Rutten.