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HomeNewsEducationLake Superior School Board; January 9, 2024 –

Lake Superior School Board; January 9, 2024 –

The Lake Superi­or School Board re­ceived an update on the district’s various construction projects at last week’s meeting. Ekalath Sophaphanh, from ICS Consulting, gave an overview of work that has been completed so far and reviewed work that is ongoing. The new cafeteria at Minneha­ha Elementary School will likely be finished before Spring Break and the current cafete­ria space will be reno­vated to accommodate new prekindergarten and kinder­garten classrooms. Construction of the main entrance and of­fice space at William Kelley is underway and should be com­pleted soon. Work has begun on the boy’s locker room and work on the girl’s locker room is scheduled to begin in April. Work on the music suite at William Kelley was slowed by the fact that there were unforeseen features in the existing space that were un­covered during demo­lition. This prompted the need for some re­design of that space. The original cost pro­jection for the bus ga­rages was $3,000,000. The bids that came in exceeded that amount which prompted a cost-saving redesign for both facilities. When completed, both ga­rages will be con­structed of more basic sheet metal which will bring their cost within the $3,000,000 target while still meeting the district’s bus stor­age and maintenance needs.

There is apparently concern among some families in the district about the lack of avail­ability of advanced placement courses. This prompted a dis­cussion on dual enroll­ment and supplemen­tal online courses. All present emphasized the fact that the dis­trict is not interested in slowing progress for students who are ready for more ad­vanced coursework than what is current­ly on offer at LSSD schools. It is import­ant for families who are seeking advanced placement instruction for their children to discuss their needs di­rectly with district of­ficials. The Minnesota Department of Educa­tion has guidelines for the type of supplemen­tal course work that meets State standards. The Lake Superior District is obligated to adhere to those stan­dards when it comes to students who take dual enrollment or supple­mental courses.

The Policy Commit­tee is looking at a form that would acknowl­edge student gender identity and name changes. Questions arose as to whether it is appropriate for the district to involve itself in this issue. A board member ex­pressed concern that the form encourages gender changes and that the district may “put itself in harm’s way”. School Board Chair Tracy Tiboni suggested that fur­ther discussions and a workshop be sched­uled to clarify how the district handles this issue. Gender identity issues are nothing new and have been present throughout hu­man history. Readers can expect to see more on this, as it relates to education, in the near future.

Two Harbors High School Principal Julie Benson attended her fi­nal school board meet­ing last week. Benson is retiring at the end of January after 36 years of dedicated service. In her last report to the Board, she high­lighted several accomplishments that have brought her joy over the years. These include student in­volvement in One Act Plays, Robotics and Career Readiness pro­grams. She also spoke of the revamped music program which has, among other things, gotten music students out into the communi­ty, singing Christmas carols in area nursing homes. The Board enthusiastically ac­knowledged Benson for her commitment to excellence for and for her tireless efforts on behalf of LSSD stu­dents. Though she will be missed, the Board wishes her well as she enters a new phase in her life.

The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Febru­ary 13th at 6:00 p.m. at Two Harbors High School.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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