Child reading a book

Republican Eagle file photo

“It’s going well,” Jen Grove, Burnside Elementary school principal, said while giving an update to school board members June 6 on Title 1 reading programs in Red Wing.

Title 1 is a federally funded general education program that helps students who are failing or at risk of failing to meet grade level standards.

Funding is based on the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches;  however, students don’t need to be in the lunch program to use Title 1 services.

Red Wing elementary schools use Title 1 to provide extra help and instruction for students struggling in reading. 

In 2022, the district was given $318,615 and is expected to receive $354,063 in funding for 2023.

“Students are identified by our FastBridge Learning screening assessments; fall, winter, and spring,” Grove said. “We also look at classroom performance, student grades, and teacher recommendations to identify students eligible to receive Title I services.”

During the 2020-2021 school year, 240 K-4 students were served locally.

“[Our new program] is Waseca,” Grove said. “[It’s] based on 44 phonemes and uses a four-step approach in which the children spell the word depicted on the card with a moveable alphabet, a process that involves encoding or using the phonetic principle introduced to make a word. 

In the next step, the child lays out all of the cards and matches the label cards, thereby decoding the phonetic information. Additional practice in decoding involves writing the words and reading words that follow the same phonetic principle in a booklet.”

Waseca is best used for children with dyslexia, but all students benefit.

As Grove and her team look to next year's Title 1 funding, they hope to encourage more parent involvement, work on a flexible use of dollars and streamline the curriculum.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, members also discussed LTFM bonds, a possible referendum and elections.

Bonds for lights

In April, the board approved a long-term facilities maintenance plan that included a bond sale to fully fund the LED lights upgrade project.

The sale occurred on May 25 for $1,7 million with interest cost of 3.29% and was purchased by Northland Securities.

There is not a set timeline when the LED project will start, but the administration wants to get things going in the near future.

Referendum

Members discussed planning for a possible levy referendum in 2022. No decision was made; however, business manager Jackie Paradis will prepare resolutions to bring forward for a board vote in June or July.

“Although a strong argument can be made for asking voters to increase the current operating levy referendum to minimize reductions, [I] suggest a renewal of the current operating levy for five additional years,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said.

The previous referendum passed in 2018 with the following levies:

  • $1,200 per student for the first question;

  • An additional $450 per student, raising the total to $1,650 per student, for the second question.

Elections

School board general elections will be held in conjunction with the state elections on Tuesday, Nov.8.

Currently three spots are up for election and those holding them – Arlen Diercks, Jim Bryant and Holly Tauer – have not announced their plans.

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