The St. Michael–Albertville School Board heard from teachers and staff regarding the upcoming two-year contract.

The board also accepted a check for $6,500 from the “Stuff the Bus” campaign and heard an updated strategic plan for the Teaching and Learning Department

TEACHER CONTRACT

A new two year contract is being negotiated with the teacher’s union. A large number of teachers attended the meeting to let the School Board know that are expecting to be rewarded for the excellent results of their efforts.

Douglas Birk, Director of Administrative Services, reported about the progress of negotiations. STMA representatives have met several times with the designated representatives of the involved parties. On Nov. 19 they will meet for mediation to discuss key financial issues. Birk said, “The parties continue to meet in good faith. I would characterize the negotiations as being very respectful, cordial and professional on both sides. We’ve had very good discussion on the issues and look forward to meeting again.”

The board will meet in closed session before their next meeting Nov. 18 to discuss their approach to the process.

Robert Zahler, STMA High School social studies teacher and president of the teacher’s union, spoke on behalf of the nearly 450 teachers, school nurses, social workers, counselors, and deans in the district.

Zahler said, “The work of our teachers, with strong support of parents, has placed our school system at the top of several school ranking sites. It’s no wonder then, that developers like Lennar list the St. Michael schools as a primary selling point for their homes in the district.” He added, “We take the board at its word that they value and appreciate the work that we do, but in any profession, being valued is more than words of appreciation, it is also material compensation. … When STMA teachers compare their compensation to others, especially those who do not achieve the successes that we do, it is disheartening. On behalf of the certified staff I’m asking the school board to reach a contact settlement that properly reflects the value placed on the work that we do most importantly for the kids of STMA but also to the benefit of all property owners in the district.”

STUFF THE BUS

In other news, Sandy Greninger of Family Youth Community Connections (FYCC), Olivia Swanson of Mathnasium, Bobby Swoboda of Ameriprise Financial and Nick Shultz of Community Development Bank presented the STMA School Board with a check for $6,500 from the “Stuff the Bus” campaign which raised money from the members of the Shop STMA businesses and donations through their “Go Fund Me” page.

The money will be used by the teachers to provide school supplies and other items for students who are unable to afford them.

Area businesses who gave $300 each are: Community Development Bank, Financial Security Bank, FYCC, Mad Monkey Media, Millennium Dance Co, MidWestOne Bank, Ameriprise Financial Services, Hardware Hank, Edward Jones offices of Matt Kruse and Jeff Raiche, Dehmer’s Meats, Peggy Schumm CPA, Derek Brant StateFarm, Precision Auto, Mathnasium of St. Michael, B&D Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Healthsource of Albertville, St Michael Lions Club, Dunn Bros Coffee and North Wright County Today.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

In further matters, Teri Johnson, Director of Teaching and Learning for STMA, reported on the updated strategic plan for her department.

The Teaching and Learning Department is “dedicated to meeting all student academic, social, and emotional needs by providing quality support to families and staff through equitable educational activities.” The department staff provides support through staff development; programming for special needs students including special education, gifted programs and English language instruction; filing paperwork to meet state and federal regulations; family and community connections; and assessment. Much of the work of the departments is funded by from two percent of the school district’s basic revenue that can only be used for staff development and evaluation.

A committee of administrators and teachers was formed to determine the department’s needs for the next two to four years and wrote the report. They worked to write goals in keeping with the district’s vision and mission. The committee recommended that the department “develop a plan for communicating STMA’s Teaching and Learning Department’s vision and responsibilities; develop department goals focused on research and innovation supporting the new District Strategic Plan; develop a plan/proposal for department reorganization and growth; adopt a system of implementation fidelity which guides the work of the Teaching and Learning Department and provide time for staff members to expertly complete each phase of the implementation process.”

Director Johnson said, “The district is like a fleet of naval ships and in order for all of us to be going in the same direction we have to have some type of communication and navigational services and that is the heart of our work.”

The committee members will review the results and come back to the board with a final plan.

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