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The Upsala School Board has been working to reduce class size in the elementary grades. Two new teacher hirings were approved at the April board meeting, Wednesday, and another is anticipated in the coming months.

“We advertised for a teacher to work with intervention support in the third and fourth grades over the winter, but we didn’t find anyone we wanted to bring on board,” said Supt. Vern Capelle. “We will be doing restructuring throughout the elementary classes.”

The hiring of Haileigh Sales and Madelyn Zastrow, as well as board authorization for another elementary position, will accomplish the goal of more staff for intervention.

“We’re not sure on classroom assignments yet. One of them will take (retiring teacher) Mr. Herbes’ fifth/sixth grade math position, one will be in the primary grades and one in grades 3-4,” Capelle said.

Upsala School Board briefs:

Other business coming before the Upsala School Board at its meeting, Wednesday, included:

• Approving many donations. For the playground fund: $1 from Megan Boecker, $20 from Janet Durbin, $25 from Christine Wuebkers, $50 from anonymous in memory of Kya Bartkowicz, $50 from Bruce and Heather Johnson, $200 from Tim and Sheila George, $300 from Amy and Chad Poppenhagen in memory of Ty Poppenhagen, $500 from Rick and Lori Nilson (Schwab Charitable) and $1,000 from Upsala Motors. For Dollars for Scholars: $50 from Bruce and Heather Johnson, $100 from Tim and Sheila George, $100 from Karin Nelson and $1,000 from Scott and Sara Arvig. For the Robotics Team: $100 from Harbor Freight, $350 from anonymous, $450 from NASA, $1,000 from Minnesota Power, $2,000 from Medtronic, $6,500 from Gene Haas Foundation (of which $2,500 is required to be used for manufacturing scholarships), and $10,000 from Sourcewell Innovative Grant. For Kindergarten Readiness: $2,500 from Upsala Lions Club. For as needed: $10,000 from anonymous;

• Approving the at-will contracts for Supt. Vern Capelle and Business Manager Colleen Harren for 2021-2024 and a one-year contract for Athletic Director (and retired teacher) Mark Herbes;

• Approving the contracts shared with Swanville for Speech Therapist Karlee Peterson and ECFE paraprofessional Jayne Lange for the 2021-2022 school year;

• Authorizing the administration to hire up to five summer custodial workers;

• Approving transportation for the spring 2021 field trips;

• Approving a scholarship donation of $500 from Roerview Dairy LLC, to be awarded to a 2021 graduating senior;

• Approving the resignation of Night Custodian Julian Herbes effective June 4;

• Approving the expansion of Extended School Year (summer school) programming to include targeted instruction for general education students;

• Approving the purchase of approximately 1 3/4 acre of land from Ralph Blonigen for $15,000. The parcel of land includes a 30-foot easement for utilities for a possible bus wash at the bus garage;

• Recognizing this year’s boys basketball award winners: Conference MVP Levi Lampert, Team MVP Carter Johnson, Defensive MVP Nick Herzog, Most Improved Tyler Smieja, Hustle Award Nick Herzog, Team Attitude Luke Harren, Practice Player Ethan Moon, letter winners Jonny Mayer, Zach Bartkowicz, Nick Herzog, Tyler Smieja, Ethan Moon, Carter Johnson, Luke Harren, Levi Lampert, Christian Ripplinger, Noah Boeckermann, Breadan Rene, Nick Kulla, Peyton Soltis and Micah Ripplinger;

• Recognizing this year’s wrestling awards winners: All Conference and CMC Honor Mention Bryce Binek; captain, Super Section fourth place and Honorable Mention All-Area Austin Wensmann; letter winners Austin Wensmann, Tony Boeckermann, Jeremy Mugg, Tyson Leners and Bryce Binek;

• Recognizing this year’s girls basketball winners: All Conference Kris Biniek; All Conference Honorable Mention Abby Klein and Taylor Soltis; Morrison County Record All Area Team Kris Biniek, Morrison County Record All Area Team Honorable Mention Taylor Soltis; letter winners Alice Hebig, Taylor Soltis, Kris Biniek, Abby Klein, Kylie Roerick, Madalin Koetter, Molly Leners, Hannah Luedtke, Brenna Graves, McKenna Graves, Isabelle Leners and Dakota Soltis;

• Recognizing this year’s senior high Knowledge Bowl accomplishments: one first-place and two third-place finishes in preliminary meets; second place at the Prairie Conference meet, fourth place at the Region 5 meet and 19th place at the state meet; and

• Recognizing this year’s Robotics team second place finish out of 24 teams, qualifying for the MSHSL state competition.

A special board meeting is set for Wednesday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center to canvass the results of the May 11 special election.

The next regularly-scheduled Upsala School Board meeting will be Wednesday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.

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