What would you do if you won $10,000?

That’s the question Supt. Gene Harthan has found himself facing the last few weeks after he was notified that Swanville Public School won $10,000 in Campbell’s Grand Stand for Schools sweepstakes.

“I didn’t even know we were entered into the sweepstakes, but it was sure a very nice surprise to find out we won,” he said.

Harthan learned later that several teachers and other community members had discovered they could register and nominate a school online for the sweepstakes.

In the sweepstakes Campbell’s seek to give away $1 million and 100 schools across the United States are drawn to become the lucky winners.

“The winning entrance was registered by one of our teachers’ mother, Mary Lou Gerards,” Harthan said.

The check of the win has arrived and after discussing with Principal Sheryl Johnson and the School Board, it looks like the students may just get to enjoy some Chromebooks.

The discussion of the students having access to Chromebooks already began last year. Many schools had moved in the direction of one device to one (1:1) student and Minnesota of Education reported that about 55 percent of the schools had some level of 1:1 program.

Another advantage of the Chromebook is that students can then take tests on it, such as the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) that every student is required to take from third grade.

Harthan said the one thing he wants to make sure is that whatever the money is used for that it can benefit all students and not just one grade level.

“It was the whole school that won, so it would only be fair if all could use it,” he said.

The suggestion is to possibly purchase about 40 Chromebooks at a cost of about $250 per device. Licensing for each would be $25 and two carts that would not only hold the devices, but also charge them, cost about $700.

“That way with 20 Chromebooks in each cart, we can have one cart for the high school and the other for the elementary school,” Harthan said.

“We don’t know for sure yet, but we’re leaning in that direction,” Harthan said.


Swanville School Board Briefs

In other business Wednesday, the Swanville School Board:

  • Approved Carol Dold as school census taker at $1 per name;
  • Approved Supt. Gene Harthan as the designated person responsible for granting access to the MDE secure sites;
  • Approved another year of leave of absence for Paul McKinley. It’s McKinley’s fourth year of his three to five-year approved absence period. McKinley is required to notify the Board by Feb. 1 each year of whether or not he intends to return. McKinley took a leave of absence to explore other alternatives;
  • Approved a logo to be used with apparel for the Patriots. The logo is of a patriotic head turned sideways, with the wording U.S.A. in the colors of red, white and blue;
  • Heard from Harthan the elementary has started the Jump Rope for Heart program again. This is the 11th year the school is doing it. Students seek pledges from people in the community and in turn jump rope as many times as the pledge asks him or her to do. The money are then raised and donated to the American Heart Association. Harthan said the students usually raise about $2,000;
  • Heard from Harthan that parent-teacher conferences are planned to be held Feb. 27;
  • Heard from Harthan that a family planning to have five of their children attend school have expressed an interest in seeing Swanville offer wrestling as a sport. Harthan will look into it further to see if it’s possible;
  • Heard from Harthan the school’s insurance company, Continental Western, is requiring the school place guardrails on its free standing bleachers to prevent students from falling off. The bleacher safety requirement states that bleacher spaces over 55 inches above grade or floor below. Harthan said it is something the school most likely will need and said he will look into it further;

• Heard from Harthan that he met with Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen and Ann March with CHI St. Gabriel’s Health in Little Falls and discussed possibly starting up a D.A.R.E. type program for fifth grade to address alcohol and drug use and smoking. Harthan said the program is just in the preliminary stage; and

  • Heard from Harthan that the school is experiencing some issues with its current heating system, but not as much as it did with the previous heating system. Harthan said different parts keeps breaking, mainly with the control system. Every time there’s a power surge or power outage, it needs to be reset.

The Swanville School Board’s next regular meeting will be Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. in the high school library. The date was changed from its regular day on the third Wednesday each month, since Harthan has a conflict that day.

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