Weather Forecast


District 518 adds WMS interventionist position

WORTHINGTON -- The District 518 Board of Education both reduced and increased staffing Tuesday at its regular meeting.

Community Education staff was reduced by a total of two full-time equivalent positions, mostly due to state and federal funding reductions and grants running out.

Early childhood positions would be reduced by .54 FTEs, parent education positions would be reduced by .43 FTEs, and adult literacy positions would be reduced by .43 FTEs.

A school age care leader would be reduced by .16 FTEs and classroom/child care paraprofessional positions would be decreased by .44 FTEs.

Elsewhere in District 518, staffing was increased by 4.584 positions, helping the school cope with a 60-student increase in enrollment.

An English Language Learners position would be added at Prairie Elementary, a .25 FTE position would be added at the Area Learning Center, and 2.334 positions would be added at Worthington High School for specific curriculum areas.

The final position -- that of interventionist -- will go to a licensed teacher whose job will be working with Worthington Middle School students who have fallen behind their peers academically.

"There are ... kids who just can't do the work. They're there, working at it, but they just can't do the work. The idea with the interventionist is that maybe we can get those kids to catch up," said WMS principal Jeff Luke.

The interventionist position was created to help address the problem of social promotion in the middle school, where students can move to the next grade level whether they pass classes or not. Retaining students and having them re-take the same classes again, however, has been shown by several studies to have a negative effect on learning.

An interventionist would, ideally, help students succeed without retention or social promotion.

Worthington Middle School is also moving its Middle Level Program Alternative Program to the ALC. The Middle Level Program also attempts to help students catch up to their peers well enough to rejoin them in their regular classes, but generally targets students who may need social and emotional assistance as well as academic assistance.

In other news Tuesday, the board:

* Approved the 2011-2012 school year calendar, which includes 175 instructional days and 184 days of teacher contract time.

The school year will begin Aug. 22 and end May 18.

* Approved a two-year bus transportation contract with American Student Transportation, Maple Grove, for $219.95 per day per bus for bringing students to and from school.

AST will offer all current bus drivers employment provided they meet AST's employment requirements. The organization will also put up buildings to house its buses in the Worthington area.

The next highest bid was approximately $210,700 per year higher.

* Approved school lunch prices at $3.25 for adults, $1.55 for kindergarten through fourth grade students, and $1.70 for fifth grade through 12th grade students.

School breakfast prices for 2011-2012 will be $1.50 for adults, 70 cents for kindergarten through fourth grade students, and $1 for fifth grade students through 12th grade students.

* Approved the resignation of Megan Nagel as English teacher at the Area Learning Center, Janet Haren as second grade teacher with the EDGE program, Ken Karwoski as ninth grade basketball coach at Worthington High School, Carla Reynolds as Class I paraprofessional at Worthington Middle School, Darcy Walters as dishwasher at Prairie Elementary, Dave Cummings as physical education teacher at Worthington High School, and MaryAnne Smith as agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at WHS.

* Approved employment of Sara Dunlop as .60 FTE early childhood special education teacher at Prairie, Sam Baumgartner as paraprofessional at Prairie, Sheila Shnyder as long-term substitute second-grade teacher at Prairie, Jay Scheidt as ninth grade baseball coach with WHS, Dale Solt as second grade teacher with the EDGE program, Joel Walerius as long term substitute program aide with the EDGE program and Paula Laffrenzen as special education paraprofessional at WMS.

* Approved the non-renewal of probationary teaching contracts for Jose Ortiz-Flores as math teacher at WHS, Laurie Stapleton as DCD teacher at WMS, Adam Johnson as special education teacher at WMS, and Jessica Bielke as ELL teacher at WMS.

* Approved acceptance of a donation from the JCPenney afterschool roundup for ALC programming.

* Approved Steve Dudley and Bryon Spittle as volunteer track assistant coaches, Joe Kinley as volunteer softball assistant coach and Brad Shaffer as volunteer baseball assistant coach.

* Approved the second reading of Policy 641, student acceleration to higher level athletic activities, and Policy 412, expense reimbursement.

The board also approved the first reading of Policy 700, fiscal management goals, and policy 714, fund balances. Information from Policy 700 was removed and placed into 714, a new policy, which will likely be discussed further by the Operations Committee.

* Recognized the WHS speech and knowledge bowl teams for their achievements at state competitions.