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NR teachers take advantage of classes

Dozens of New Richmond teachers went above and beyond this summer in order to improve the quality of their instruction.

The district offered six professional development classes in July for any teachers wanting to attend.

According to Jess Ferguson, director of curriculum and instruction, a total of 41 teachers took advantage of the offerings. She told the New Richmond School Board at its Monday work session that teachers took part not knowing if the classes would count toward salary advancement opportunities.

"Everybody was extremely engaged," she said.

The classes were taught by staff members already within the district, saving New Richmond money when considering that seminars and workshops outside the district can cost hundreds of dollars.

She said the classes helped prepare teachers for the coming school year and it was time well spent. Ferguson said those teachers who taught the classes feel the in-house training effort should be continued in the future.

In other business:

-- The board approved the purchase of the System 44 Intervention Program, aimed at students are significantly behind in reading. The cost of the program is $66,000 over two years.

-- The board approved the hiring of Vicki Gjovik as the district math specialist, at a contract rate of $40,441.

-- The board approved a contract with Marilyn Guinn for $39,430. She works as the 4K program liaison between the district and the 4K providers.

-- Superintendent Jeff Moberg updated the board on the current status of the Community Commons complex, which is housed in the old middle school building.

He said 93,000-square-foot building isn't being fully utilized, but is being fully heated, cooled and maintained. The oldest portion of the structure, the 37,000-square-foot, three-story part, is the key to determining what the future holds for the Community Commons.

Moberg said he will be studying the issue in the coming weeks, and talking with various partners in the complex. He said the decision about the future is a difficult one, because the district doesn't want to be stuck with having to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade and maintain a building that is not used for the direct education of students.

Moberg said most people are in agreement that at least a part of the Community Commons should be sustained. The question, however, is who will manage the property and where the funding for upgrades and upkeep will come from.

Moberg said some in the community are seeking grant funding to help pay for repairs and maintenance, but nothing firm has been accomplished yet.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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