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School board to add new kindergarten teacher

WORTHINGTON -- In an effort to keep an ideal class size, the District 518 Board of Education approved hiring a kindergarten teacher on Tuesday, bringing to the total number of sections from 10 to 11.

"We have around 225 to 230 kids in kindergarten, but what's happening is that we have a higher number of students with ELL (English Language Learners) needs than previously," said John Landgaard, District 518's superintendent.

There are currently five sections of ELL students and five sections of regular classrooms. According to Josh Noble, principal of Prairie Elementary, the new kindergarten teacher will not be a paraprofessional and will result in a sixth section for regular classrooms.

"In ELL classrooms, we like to keep the number of students between 19 and 20 students, but it raises the number to 26 kids in the other classes," Landgaard said.

Hiring an extra teacher will create regular class sizes with 21 to 22 students.

Also approved in the meeting was new food equipment for Worthington High School.

"It is still useable but not in the setting that we have based on the health inspection," explained Dave Skog, director of management services for District 518.

In other news Tuesday, the board:

* Approved resignations of Sharlene Miedema as ABE teacher with community education, Cayleen Mackey as kindergarten teacher and Elizabeth Dahlheimer as first-grade teacher at Prairie Elementary, Mary Reemts as dishwasher at Worthington High School, Sandy Manila as secretary with the summer school EDGE program, Dean Schnaible as assistant girls' basketball coach with WHS, Krista Gillette as second-grade teacher at Prairie Elementary and Joe Kruger as varsity assistant football coach.

* Approved the termination of Carla Reynolds as ESL program assistant with the summer school EDGE program.

* Approved the employment of Melissa Van Dyke as program aide, Jessica Holinka as ESL program assistant with the summer school EDGE program, Allison Birkey as secretary with the EDGE program, Ken Karwoski and Micaela Massey as seventh- and eighth-grade volleyball coaches at Worthington Middle School, Andrea Derynck as EDGE site coordinator at WMS, Erin Ebbers as program aide-science enrichment, Jesse Duitsman as program aide-middle school-cooking, Jessica Holinka as program aide-art enrichment, Bryan Heck as eighth-grade transition teacher with the 21st Century Summer School Program, Dave Cummings as setting four teacher with special programs, Jenalee Morales as second-grade teacher at Prairie Elementary, Anna Korever as math teacher at WHS, Kelsy Altman, Jay Duitsman and Jessica Holinka as program aides with the 21st Century Summer School Program, Donna Day-Beck as special education teacher, Cody Dvorak as agriculture teacher at WHS, and Benjamin DeRynck as health/physical education teacher at WMS.

* Approved donations of landscaping block from Mark Boltjes of Worthington.

* Approved Minnesota Retired Educators Association (MREA) membership dues in the amount of $2,400.

* Approved the purchase of mVal teacher evaluation software for an annual cost of $920, plus an additional one-time training cost of $400.

* Approved student and faculty handbook changes.