September 28, 2018: Board Meeting

Spotlight  - September 28, 2018

Hello Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the School District of Black River Falls, and I’m here to share this week’s Spotlight on Schools!  This week I want to share a recap of the September School Board Meeting that was held on Monday, September 17th.


The Board shared their appreciation with the Courtesy Corporation from McDonald's for their support of the Student of the Month recognition at the high school, as well as their partnership with our Foods classes.


Black River Falls Police Chief, Kelly Bakken and Jackson County Sheriff, Duane Waldera, were both present to talk more about potential funding for a School Resource Officer.  The Board took action to continue the conversations, but no decision were made about which of the organizations we’d partner with or what financial support would be offered. We are waiting for some of the other organizations involved to first make their commitments.


Staff from Forrest Street Early Learning Center shared some information on something called Conscious Discipline in which they are working hard to help our youngest students build their toolboxes so that they can self-monitor their emotions and reactions to situations more often than not.  The hope is that the students can spend more time on instruction and less time working through behavior challenges and outbursts.


Dr. Kielbasa, our Director of Pupil Services, shared the number of seclusion and restraint incidents from the previous school year.  It was down from previous years. We believe strongly that increased training for staff members has had a positive impact in preventing outbursts that would normally call for a student to be removed from class.


Connie Seiber, the Food Services Supervisor shared a presentation about our school lunch program where she described the intense amount of planning that goes into meeting the federal requirements for the contents of the food.  The changes were implemented in 2010 and manufacturers continue to modify their recipes and are producing products that meet the requirements and have much improved flavors! There is a group of high school students that help taste test products to advise our menu planning.


The funding for our BLAST after school tutoring program was not awarded this year.  The District is working with other grants that were successfully awarded to determine what type of program we can still provide with fewer dollars.  We believe the value added of this program is critical to some students and families and want to do what we can to provide the opportunity. We’ll keep everyone posted on our progress.


Perhaps you have heard of Moody’s financial ratings?  We just received confirmation that the District has a Aa3 rating, which puts us in the top tier of districts around the state and nation. This was critical during our last referendum as it allowed us to borrow the funds at a lower interest rate and saved the community thousands of dollars!  We continue to work with our shrinking budget. It is affirming to know that our dollars are being well managed and it is recognized by outside financial organizations.


On a completely separate note, next week is Homecoming week in Black River Falls and we are gearing up for a fantastic community celebration about all that is right and great about our schools.  We have issued a challenge to students to find a way to be “rowdy within reason” and to have fun but be sure not to cross the line in their behaviors. While toilet papering may be a long standing tradition in our community, vulgar and racist symbols painted on people’s property are most definitely not.  We hope the students show their Tiger Pride and we can all enjoy a beautiful fall week of Homecoming festivities!


If you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Let’s go Tigers!


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