At the Becker School Board October meeting, during open forum, BHS Senior Austin Clemen spoke before the board regarding policy 470, which regards political activities in the school. He was concerned that symbols of civil rights (such as the pride flag, etc.) could be construed as political in nature according to the definition and therefore not be allowed in classrooms.
Board Member Mark Swanson stated that he had previously made the superintendent aware of these issues while reviewing another policy, and he felt that Clemen’s comments were right in line with the changes he hoped to see in the policy. He thanked Clemen for bringing his opinions as a student before the board.
Board Member Ryan Obermoller made a motion to remove policy revisions of both policy 470 and policy 524 (regarding social media) pending further information from the school’s attorney. The motion passed.
During his report, Supt. Jeremy Schmidt also revealed that MSBA (Minnesota School Board Association) is expecting to make some policy changes in this area as well, according to advice from their attorney.
The student council representatives reported a successful homecoming week, with high participation in the students’ dress-up days.
This week, the students have organized some “Tackle Cancer” events for the student body, culminating in the “Tackle Cancer” football game Friday, Oct. 8.
The school applied for a COVID-19 testing grant which would cover part or all of the costs of testing staff for COVID-19. The school also ordered some 15-minute tests and created a position for a “Testing Technician” to coordinate the testing of staff.
Schmidt mentioned upcoming MSBA events and possible policy changes.
There will be an open house to provide information about the upcoming referendum election at the High School Commons Oct. 12 from 5:30-7 p.m. More information is available at the website, BulldogsStrong.com. There will be a representative there who can tell residents the exact tax impact the referendum would make on their property (this tool is also available online.)
Becker Early Childhood
Sue Hiltner, Coordinator for Becker Early Childhood, and Melissa Dumont, a school readiness and ECFE teacher, and Laura Garding, a paraprofessional, all helped to give a presentation on the ECFE program and the impact the referendum would have on the program. Children aged infants to three-year-olds attend ECFE classes, while four-year-olds attend school readiness classes. Between 120-150 students attend these programs, along with their parents. About 85% of all Becker kindergartners attended the school readiness program. There are also special education programs for 3-5 year olds.
While tuition has increased the last few years, they have a policy that no family is turned away due to inability to pay. There are scholarships for a limited number of students as well.
Part of the referendum would really help the early childhood area to grow. It would allow the early childhood classes to be grouped together, rather than having two classrooms in a different area. It would also give them the opportunity to accept more students into the programs, as they are currently turning away some of the youngest toddlers and infants.
In Other Business,the Board:
• Acknowledged the positive review and comment of the commissioner of education;
• Appointed election judges.