District 728 superintendent, board goals on track

Kurt Nesbitt

Contributing Writer

Both the superintendent and school board directors report progress on their professional development goals. The board and superintendent set goals and evaluate themselves and each other every year. The goals usually deal with professional development and community involvement.

School Board Chair Shane Steinbrecher said in a memo that all seven school board members rated Superintendent Dan Bittman as “exceeding expectations” or “exemplary” in categories related to the district’s vision and values, as well as the core competencies of the job, instructional leadership, community and relationships, communications and collaborations and management.

School district documents said each board member is registered for training they will share at a regular meeting, was actively engaged in the referendum process between July and November and continues to be involved in the strategic planning process.

Integration plan Ok’d

Elk River Area Schools adopted an achievement and integration plan on March 9 aimed at addressing achievement gaps within the district’s student population. It is meant to increase racial and economic integration, reduce achievement disparities and increase access to effective and diverse teachers. The plan goes into effect in July and will run to June 2023.

Officials want to increase the level of cultural competence by 1% each year through inter-district partnership activities, narrow the reading gap for students of color to 7.4% and increase the percentage of ISD 728 educators trained in culturally relevant curriculum, responsive instruction and restorative practices.

The plan is a part of the district’s larger World’s Best Workforce plan. It will use magnet schools in the area, inter-district professional learning and student opportunities and others to achieve those goals.

Parking lot  moving ahead with New Look Contracting

Traffic flow around Elk River High School should be addressed by the start of school this fall, now that Elk River Area Schools officials have a contract for the parking lot reconstruction at the high school.

District 728 School Board directors chose a contractor to build the new parking lot meant to address the situation with traffic on school street beside the high school complex. The school board approved a base bid and alternate bid totaling about $3.62 million to New Look Contracting out of Rogers for Elk River High School parking lot improvements. The project is expected to be complete by the fall.

The vote comes a week after Elk River city officials gave approval to a conditional use permit that allows the district to start work. The project is part of the district’s two- and 10-year plans.

Kim Eisenschenk, the district’s executive director of business, said Monday evening that she feels “very good about (the project).” She said in response to a school board director’s question that work should be finished on the new parking lot by the start of school this fall.

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