Backpack food project leads SCC board agendaMonday night’s school board meeting featured a detailed proposal presented by part-time St. Croix Central employee Bruce Elliott to create a “Food for Kids Backpack Program.”
By: Tom Lindfors , New Richmond News
Monday night’s school board meeting featured a detailed proposal presented by part-time St. Croix Central employee Bruce Elliott to create a “Food for Kids Backpack Program.”
“There are a lot of kids due to social and economic issues who don’t get a chance to eat,” Elliott said. “It struck me that this issue could be addressed by feeding these kids on the weekend. I’ve come up with a model, similar to Glenwood City’s, that I think will suit us.”
The goal of the program would be to provide food for kids in need when school is not in session over the weekends. Elliott’s research shows that it costs about $10 per student per month to run such a program. Funding would be run through the school district.
Elliott outlined four steps to implement the program: 1) establish the need by sending home an application designed to determine whether a student needs help. He emphasized it’s important that this application be developed keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the issue; 2) raise funding for the program by approaching local chambers, churches, Lion’s Clubs, and other potential private donors; 3) purchase the backpacks; and 4) establish a menu.
Students in the program would be assigned a number. Backpacks would be filled assembly-line style by honor students and each backpack would also be assigned a number. Numbers would be used to protect the anonymity of the students.
Another potential aspect of the program would be to provide participating students with certificates that could be redeemed at local stores for perishable items like bread, fruit, milk and eggs to help supplement the non-perishable items likely to be used to fill the backpacks, Elliott explained. Participating merchants would collect the certificates for reimbursement at a later date.
Board member Jeff Redmon added that some similar programs in the area obtained non-profit status to enable funding via grants and that this might be something to pursue in the long run. It was also suggested that 501(c)3 status might be procured by partnering with an existing charity, like a food pantry.
Some logistical issues still need to be resolved, including accounting for children in a home that might not have access to a backpack and the best route to insure backpacks are returned in a timely fashion. Elliott volunteered to help get the program up and running. All the board members said they supported his presentation.
In other business:
• Both Superintendent David Bradley and President Howard Kruschke reported on their trip to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards State Education Convention in Milwaukee. Bradley said he was impressed by keynote speaker Will Richardson “who talked about the business of transforming schools” emphasizing the potential for global networking to transform classrooms.
“The idea is to employ global networks to make our classrooms look and work more like the world outside the classroom, the one the kids live in everyday,” Bradley said. He also noted that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) was a hot tech topic at the convention.
During his administrative report, Bradley continued the transformational discussion noting that several studies have suggested that the practice of “looping” teachers has made a positive impact on student performance. Looping allows a teacher to stay together with a class for two consecutive years, reinforcing relationships and creating a more stable learning environment.
• Elementary Principal Steve Sanders reported that the new signs promoting the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. time slot were installed in the bus loop in Roberts and appear to be helping reduce the congestion between buses and parents dropping off students.
• Middle School Principal Scott Woodington reported MAP testing results for middle school students are due next month. Board member John Hueg asked Woodington whether he could “share any impressions from the most recent round of middle school grading.” Woodington said he hoped that grades combined with information revealed by the MAP tests would enable teachers to better engage their students.
• High School Principal Glenn Webb noted that by creating mirror systems, for example, “using the same books in high school that might be used in college or by creating one continuous language program that extended through three years of high school,” he hopes students will be better prepared for study at the next level. He also felt the meeting between former SCC graduates and current students was an innovative and effective way to communicate expectations at the college level.
• Jennifer Olson, director of special education and student services, reported that their newsletter is proving to be an effective tool in helping build stronger parent school relationships. The newsletter’s initial edition addressed cyber bullying. Addressing teen suicide is planned for the next issue.
• Director of Teaching and Learning, Shirley Arneson, emphasized the literacy committee’s goal to “insure all assessments are done with consistency, transparency and fidelity.” She added, in an effort to get parents involved in the classroom, they were considering a series of “mini sessions in the middle school and high school where parents would be invited into the classroom with the opportunity to get involved with students.”
• St. Croix Central ESP Unit Custodian and Paraprofessionals contract was approved unanimously as was the decision not to sign off on the automatic roll over of the administrator contract, the idea being to align this contract with the teacher’s contract.
• District accountant, Jennifer Kleschold, presented a projected school budget for 2012-13. Several issues will require further discussion.