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Newly tenured teachers honored by school board

They were able to shake hands with the board members this year.

district 518 brown house
District 518's administration building in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON — District 518's newly tenured teachers were invited to the school board's regular meeting Tuesday evening to be recognized by the board members.

While last year's batch of tenured teachers had to appear virtually due to the pandemic, restrictions have lifted, and this year's set was able to come in person and shake hands.

The teachers newly qualified for tenure are as follows: Abigail Alfson, Sally Anderson, Ashlyn Wendland, Moira Crooks, Summer Eisenmenger, Ryan Elfering, Angela Fritz, McKenzie Helgeson, Jessica McCann, Jessie Olson, Courtney Plath, Mary Poppe, Blake Regnier, Brenna Richters, Olivia Salentiny, Ellen Schmidt, Teresa Stofferan, Sandy Torgerson, Anna Vercruysse, Joshua Wasmund and Skyler Wenninger.

Salary negotiations

The board approved salary and benefit increase for several groups of district employees, as follows, which each increase happening over two years: communications coordinator (6.42%), community education director (6.42%), community education licensed coordinators (6.36%), community education non-licensed coordinator (7.36%), Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) program aides (8.1%), NCIC youth development leaders (8.89%), NCIC program manager (6.64%), NCIC achievement and integration coordinator (6.31%), district translators (6.19%) and technology coordinator (8.37%).

"Thank you for all the hard work involved in getting these contracts approved," said board chair Lori Dudley.

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Superintendent John Landgaard explained that negotiations are still going on with Education Minnesota Worthington (EMW) regarding teachers' salary and benefit increases.

Mask policy

Board members rescinded the face mask policy, effective June 1.

"There's an opportunity for use to create some flexibility that wasn't there in the past," Landgaard said, adding that staff will look at other possible changes to the district's safe learning plan.

However, because graduation is an indoor event, masks will still be required for that occasion. Students will be able to leave their masks on their chairs while they cross the stage, but must wear them at all other times.

"There are still fears about COVID that are very real for some families," Landgaard said, saying that he's aware the mask requirement will be more popular among some people than others.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the school board:

  • Presented DeeAnn Crall with a School Lunch Super Hero award from the Minnesota Department of Education for her efforts to keep district students fed over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Heard an update from Sal Bagley of Wold Architecture on plans for the community education building. The design development phase is complete, and drawings should go out for bid next month.
  • Approved a plan to do an enrollment study beginning in the fall.
  • Decided to change school start times beginning in fall 2022, with older students starting later and Prairie students starting earlier. Exact times will be determined at a later date.
  • Approved new positions funded by COVID-19 funds from the federal government.
  • Approved an early childhood/special education playground at Prairie Elementary.

"It will be a nice addition for those kids," Dudley said of the project.
"It's probably something that should have already been done," added board member Mike Harberts.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONSCHOOL BOARD
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