Responsive classroom procedures (RC), Promethian boards and pens, new school year ceremonies and a bit of a glitch with school bus schedules were all topics that came up Tuesday evening during the Columbia Heights Public Schools board meeting at the District Community Room.
Board members, the superintendent, school principals and four parents described different aspects of the start of the 2011-2012 school year. The meeting atmosphere was uplifting with mostly positive comments about school-start traditions and optimistic previews for the coming term.
Supt. Kathy Kelly told of Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius’ visit to the school district. The commissioner read to kindergarteners and visited a break dancing class at Highland Elementary. She told the students that she had done break dancing back in the 1980s.
Kelly said the youngsters didn’t believe her so Cassellius did the moon walk and did it well.
“The (students) loved her,” Kelly said.
Regarding transportation problems, the parents told of a lack of communication to elementary and middle school students and their families about morning pick-up times. A couple of them noted that a lack of bus service in an area near I-694 sent a few students to Fridley schools as open enrollees.
Board member Missy Lee said she felt it takes a couple of weeks for transportation issues to be smoothed out and for bus routes and schedules and students to be in the right places at the right times.
Chuck Corliss, president of K-12 Transportation Management Services, told the board during a scheduled transportation report that his company had sent out some 1,900 post cards to students before school started—only about 100 fewer than last year. His company works with school districts and bus companies in arranging transportation.
He seemed shocked to find out that elementary and middle school bus riders didn’t receive any information in the mail about the bus schedules. Corliss said he would get to the bottom of the matter Wednesday.
School board members and Kelly talked glowingly about a new teacher induction program, convocation, a picnic put on by volunteers and retired teachers, open houses, the first football game and a booster sponsored tailgating party.
Highland Elementary principal Michelle DeWitt said people lined up 45 minutes before the school’s open house so they could find out who their children’s teachers would be. Principal Willie Fort from Valley View Elementary said about 80 percent of the school’s families attended its open house.