By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

Houston School Board heard the annual report for World’s Best Workforce at its regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. 

The board set its goals for the upcoming year. For the previous year, some goals were not met or measured due to covid-19.  

All students ready for school:

Staff will use High Scope cirriculum with students. For those students who do not attend preschool, they will be encouraged to attend Kinder Conneciton and ECFE classes. Community input includes community education classes, parent involvement and preschoolers being part of Hollidazzle.

Grade level literacy by third grade:

Every student will show a 2% growth in their targeted goal. Houston still made growth in this category, when compared to Minnesota and the nation. Superintendent Mary Morem said staff will focus on different things for kids, but also whole class things as well. 

“There are some trends we need to attack. The goal is always growth,” she said. Community input suggested implementing reading buddies such as high school students or nursing home visits. 

Closing achievement gap between students: 

In the elementary school, grades 3-6 will increase math goals from 61% to 63%, reading goals from 58% to 60% science goals from 63% to 65% in 2022. In the high school, the percentage of students who will receive ADSIS direct services for behavior in grades 7-10 whose score on the SAEBRS behavoir rating scale is below a 36 during the school year will decrease to 20%. Reading scores will increase from 54.5% to 56.7% and math scores will show a 2% growth for every student in grades 7, 8 and 10. 

At Summit Learning Center, each teacher will implement the Marzano Art and Science of Teaching Framework to align student learning to standards. Math goals for grade 11 will increase to 15% and reading goals in grade 10 will increase to 15% in 2022. 

At Minnesota Virtual Academy, the goal is to see one year’s academic growth in one year’s time in math and ELA, as shown by Fastbridge testing andStar360. Community input suggested finding mentors or caring adults for students, and offering homework help. 

College-ready by graduation: 

Houston High School will participate in the Redefining Ready Cohort and focus on ACT benchmarks, cumulative 2.8 GPA for seniors or higher, students participating in dual credit, AP classes, student achievement in Algebra II courses, attedance during freshman year, involvement in community service, student co-cirricular involvement, work-based learning and industry credentialing. 

At MNVA, Stride Career Pathways will continue, offering eight pathways at the high school level. At Summit, each senior will have a resume created and usable for a career and/or college. Seniors will participate in one mock job interview, and all juniors will have their career- or college-readiness checklist reviewed at their junior meeting.

Community input asked for students to have a legitimate resume, practice job interviewing have job shadow opportunities and a creation of skills lists and careers that match.

All students graduate:

For seniors at the high school, each will have a resume for college or a career and participate in one mock job interview. Juniors will have their career- or college-readiness checklist reviewed at their junior meeting. At Summit, juniors will discuss progress toward graduation and opportunities if the student is in jeopardy of not graduating. MNVA will target specific interventions to ensure this year’s ninth graders do not fall behind in credits. Percentage of ninth and tenth graders who are on-track with credit completion at the end of the year will increase from 53% to 60%.

Community input suggested offering credit recovery in the summer and meeting with students who did not complete credits. 

Bond approval

The board approved accepting a bond for $1.632 million from Robert W. Baird, Inc. at 4% interest and over a 15-year term. The funds will allow the district to complete work on its HVAC project at the high school, which includes improving the ventilation systems for 11 classrooms.

Other news

The board approved a quote from La Crosse Overhead Glass Company for $6,210 to replace a door at the elementary school. 

Board member Gene Lundak thanked teachers for their hard work and noted that last week was National Education Week. Board chair Tom Stilin added his thanks and said the district was fortunate to have its teachers. Superintendent Mary Morem thanked students as well. 

Communications and activities director Mikayla Simmons noted that “The Little Mermaid” musical would be recorded and available on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. There was a $10 fee to watch online through the play company’s streaming service. It may also be available after that date, but Simmons would double check. 

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Houston School Board will be Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., with Truth in Taxation at 6:30 p.m.

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