The Perham-Dent School Board has approved a plan to hire two new Deans of Students, one for Heart of the Lakes Elementary School and another for Perham High School.
District Superintendent Mitch Anderson said the hirings are “certainly warranted” with the district’s steadily rising enrollment. The deans will take over disciplinary responsibilities at the schools, which will free up more time for the principals.
Heart of the Lakes Elementary Principal Jen Hendrickson said a dean would free up her schedule. With a high number of untenured teachers in her building, Hendrickson spends a significant amount of time conducting teacher evaluations. Attendance is also a problem at the elementary school.
“There are a lot of kids missing a significant amount of school,” Hendrickson said, adding that a dean would be able to follow up with families more often and in a timely manner.
High School Principal Ehren Zimmerman said having a dean at PHS will allow the school to proactively address discipline instead of reacting to problems. Prairie Wind Middle School Principal Scott Bjerke, who used to be a dean in the district, said that without proper intervention, discipline can quickly turn into “a constant assembly line.”
The middle school added an Academic/Behavior Interventionist a couple of years back, a position that plays a similar role to a dean.
Also at the Feb. 13 school board meeting, City Manager Jonathan Smith and BHH Partners Architect Tony Stoll presented the latest plans for The Hub project. Smith said the current plan is a good marriage between the visions of the school district and city.
“People don’t realize how many iterations there’s been to get here,” Smith said. “If everyone is a little ticked off and a little happy, we’ll be in a good spot.”
The plan calls for demolishing two-thirds of the east half of the former high school building, with the east property available for redevelopment, according to Stoll. The reduced building size will lead to a smaller annual cost investment.
The existing building will then be repurposed for the Boys and Girls Club and Empowering Kids, with a 20 year lease agreement required for both organizations. The Boys and Girls Club will occupy 13,500 square feet; Empowering Kids will have 5,277 square feet. Productive Alternatives will take up another 5,660 square feet. The auditorium space will not be expanded other than to provide access to existing lower restrooms.
The board also approved Feb. 18 and April 22 as snow day make up days.