Shared services project, Read Well by Third Grade plan on track

The Independent School District 834 Board received updates on the shared services project and plans for how best to implement the Read Well by Third Grade Local Literacy Plan at their learning session Thursday.

Board Chairman George Dierberger said the shared services project is on track and going well. The school board has teamed up with mayors, city council members and Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel to discuss how to save money for all parties involved. What has been proposed as the first tangible idea is an inventory of all the athletic fields to determine cost and figure out a way to alleviate those costs once they’re shared.

“What we’re trying to create is a recreational facilities list up to the far northern corners of our district in Hugo to see what is there, what conditions the fields are in, who maintains them and at what cost,” said Lori Brink, community education director.

With the help of Brink and Stillwater’ Ward 4 City councilman Mike Polehna a city intern will tackle the athletic facility inventory project. The intern has been working closely with the city throughout the summer. The goal is to eventually create efficiencies in scheduling and partner to bring more high profile tournaments, like the Special Olympics, to the St. Croix River Valley.

“One thing that people don’t understand is that we’re responsible for the fields as a school district and a lot of people wonder why aren’t we doing more when it comes to recreation,” Dierberger said. “There is an extra burden on us with the fields and we’re doing more here than the other districts are.”

The group of officials involved in this process meet for the third time on Aug. 16.

Also discussed at the learning session was the implementation of the Read Well by Third Grade statute passed last fall by the state legislature.

“All’s well so far,” said Dr. Mary Anderson, executive director of elementary curriculum, innovation and leadership. “There are specific ways the schools have to notify the parents. There are specific plans that are very prescribed to reach the goals of this statute and we’re already doing what is intended by the statute in our district.”

Going forward, Anderson plans to give out common assessment tests across the district to see what the needs are of the various elementary schools and make sure that a structure is in place to address issues if they arise. She worked with a broad spectrum of teachers across the district in grades K-6 this summer to figure out how to capitalize on the statute while continuing teacher learning.

A draft of board goals for the 2012-2013 school year was presented and will come back for a final review at the next learning session.

The only action plan discussed at the school board meeting was a motion to approve a new boundary line in a residential development in the northeast corner of Woodbury. The current boundary line between ISD 834 and Washington County School District 833 was approved in 2002 to avoid bisecting lots.

The new boundary line was approved in 2005 by ISD 833 but was tabled by ISD 834 until the last plat was completed.  Since that time, a new company, Woodbury Residential Land, LLC, is buying the development from former owner, Laureant Development. Woodbury Residential Land, LLC chose to ask for this boundary change to be approved to accommodate changes in the development plan before they purchased the land.

“We’re looking to have a contiguous piece of the development along the boundary line,” Jim Deanovic, of Woodbury Residential Land, LLC said. “And we are preparing to fix things in the past that never got done.”

There are no material effects for either district and the motion was passed unanimously.