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SRO, coaching evals, behavior coach top agenda

With approval of the School Resource Officer Memorandum of Understanding with the city of New Richmond, pending legal review, at the New Richmond Board of Education's Monday, June 18 regular meeting, the timeline to have an SRO in the district by next school year has begun.

"With the board's approval, we can start the interview process for the position the week of 9th of July," District Administrator Patrick Olson said. "That starts the timeline of training, both for the replacement in the department — since they are looking at possible internal candidates — and the SRO training. And we should find out in the next few weeks to what scale we did receive when it comes to that $100 million grant."

The New Richmond City Council approved the MOU at a recent meeting, but, according to Olson, the draft the city approved did not have all the language the district wanted in the document. The district added about eight different aspects taken from the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Department of Instruction and vetted legally, including confidentiality, to the original draft. The document was put together by Olson and several New Richmond Police Department members.

Athletic Coaching Evaluation

Olson told the board the district is taking steps to streamline athletic coaching evaluations at the high school level, and later at the middle school level.

"It has been a priority from the board for the last three years that we get better. A couple bigger steps we are taking include putting together a coaching evaluation form," Olson said. "As we have discussed with extra curricular assignments ... it is determined by their advisors how frequently they will be evaluated. One of the things we are discussing is to what this looks like."

According to Olson, athletic director Casey Eckardt used to do evaluations with coaches years ago, but the evaluation process eventually went away. Eckardt currently has two early drafts of an evaluation form in the works: a yearly evaluation form that is one page long and a longer form that would be used as part of a coach's three year summary evaluation. The evaluation forms would be used in conjunction with the yearly final evaluation meeting after each season.

"We are not looking for something that is cumbersome, but instead something that gets to the root of some productive feedback as a coach," Olson said. "I had Casey start on this draft to lay out what areas of coaching are important to us. But again, this is just a draft and we will keep going back to the table to finetune it."

The district wants a similar evaluation for coaches at the middle school level, but Olson said those discussions have yet to take place with assistant principal Michele Wood.

"The feedback from this type of form will be consistent, which is what I think will be key to this. Just like any form we use with our teachers and administrators, we want to create some consistency on a year-to-year basis," Olson said.

Olson anticipates the forms could be ready for approval in August in order to take effect next school year and be unveiled at the co-curricular staff meeting at the start of the year.

District Behavior Coach

Another memorandum of understanding the district is waiting to get a look at is for the District Behavior Coach, which is a joint partnership with Westfields Hospital & Clinic. According to Olson, the district has created a DBC position that will serve students district-wide in a similar capacity as academic coaches.

"As part of our RtI initiative, this position will assist classroom teachers with students that need additional behavior support by providing assessment, strategies and progress monitoring to help everyone be more successful," Olson said. "This agreement is for two years and Westfields Hospital & Clinic will pay $80,000 per year for the next two years to fund this position."

The job description states the DBC will provides leadership and direction at the district level, working to design, implement, coordinate and evaluate a comprehensive behavior support program including universal trauma sensitive approaches and universal social/emotional curriculum, with their first year focusing on the elementary schools. The position will also provide education/training to staff on the trauma sensitive approach to working with behaviors that disrupt the classroom; facilitate team meetings that design Behavior Interventions Plans; address classroom organization, effective instruction, and social skills instruction within the general education environment; and collaborate with special and general education on the development of supplementary social skill instruction, among other duties.

Although the MOU was on the agenda, Olson said Westfields has yet to approve the MOU and send it to the district.

"These conversations have been taking place over the last year and we are looking forward to again being proactive in providing this additional resource to our staff which will benefit our students," Olson said.

The school board tabled the discussion and approval of the position until Westfields sends the MOU. Olson said interviews for the position would take place in the next week or two.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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