Braham Schools suspend cheerleading program

By Elizabeth Sias

The Braham Area School District has suspended the cheerleading program for the remainder of the school year.

Many members of the cheerleading team were present at the school board meeting Monday, Feb. 27, speaking out against the district’s decision to suspend the program during open forum.

Cheer co-captain Jessica Lindgren, as well as her mother Nancy Lindgren and Girl Scouts leader Dawn Fredlund, allege that the cheerleading program was suspended in part due to senior Jessica Lindgren’s decision to miss several practices in order to run a cheerleading camp through community education to achieve her Girl Scouts Gold Award.

The cheer camp runs for two weeks, and Lindgren said she would have missed three out of eight practices during that time.

Lindgren said she first approached cheerleading coach Billie Borchardt and Braham Activities Director Tim Malone to ask if she could run the cheer camp through cheerleading, but said she was told she would not have sufficient time.

Nancy Lindgren stated during open forum that the majority of the cheerleaders supported Jessica Lindgren in running the cheer camp, although they were allegedly told they would be benched. She said they were told at a game in mid-February that cheerleading had been “cut.”

“I think every single one of them deserves the right to finish off the year cheering,” Nancy Lindgren said. “I think it was wrong that it was even taken from them. It could have been handled differently.”

Another member of the cheerleading team presented the school board with a petition of signatures in support of reinstating the program.

At this time, Superintendent Greg Winter could neither confirm nor deny the reasons behind the decision to suspend the cheerleading program.

“The open forum portion of the board meeting is not within the control or boundaries of board action,” Winter stated in an e-mail. “Information given during the open forum is not subject to the control of the board and may be false.”

No disciplinary action has been taken with the activities director or cheerleading coach, Winter said. As of now, the district is examining information to determine if any further action should be taken and whether to reinstate the cheerleading program for the 2012-2013 school year.

He added that the board has allowed administration to make the decision on bringing the program back.

“There are some issues we can’t release to the public, but they’ve been taken care of,” he said following the school board meeting. “It has been suspended. That means it’s more than likely done for the year, and the school district has to make a determination on whether or not they want to bring it back next year.”

School Improvement Grant

Summer school is planned for the month of June this year. SIG funds will be used to pay for teaching staff.

The summer school session will be for a total of 80 hours with sessions lasting four hours per day for a total of 20 days. Plans for the summer school are tentative at this time, and Officer of Turnaround Schools Mike Thompson said he will update the board as June gets closer.

An upcoming meeting on SIG financial and technical matters will be held in Ogilvie on Feb. 29. The meeting is an effort on the Minnesota Department of Education’s part to regionalize support for SIG schools by eliminating and cutting down on travel.

The meeting will focus on the process and timeline for moving into year three of the grant, increased learning time for year three and feedback on interim progress reports that are submitted quarterly throughout the year.

In addition, SIG budgets will be reviewed to ensure that grant funds are being spent down at an acceptable rate.

MCA III Math Test Results

Third through sixth grade students completed the MCA III Math test Feb. 6-10.

Overall, the percentage of students who meet or exceed the state average was high in third grade and steadily declined until sixth grade. In third grade, 88 percent of students met or exceeded; 73 percent of fourth graders; 45 percent of fifth graders; and 55 percent of sixth graders.

The next step, Elementary School Principal Randy Pauly said, is to take the results from this test and look to see how instructional practices can be adjusted to increase the achievement of students by the end of the school year.

Families are encouraged to reinforce expectations for success for students at home.

New high school classes added

The master schedule has been finished with the addition of some new classes for next year, High School Assistant Principal Judy Adams said.

The new classes are college anatomy; college U.S. history; current events and social events; Spanish offered to all 8th graders; psychology offered each semester; advanced classes in drawing and painting, clay and sculpture and graphics; and industrial tech 9.

Prom plans finalized

Plans have been finalized for Prom on April 14. Students will have Grand March in C100 at 3:30 p.m., will be bused to the Armory in Cambridge for dinner and dancing until 7:30 p.m. and then go to Stars and Strikes in Stacy for paint ball, bowling, arcade games and more until 11:30 p.m.

Pennies for Patients a success

Braham students raised over $1,200 over the last several weeks for Pennies for Patients, Student Council Representatives Cameron Braund and Kelsey Sorenson said.

Spring play coming

The cast and crew of the spring play Cheaper by the Dozen are in full swing with practices under the directorship of Tracey Fix. Performances will be March 30, 31 and April 1.

Certificates for School Board members presented

Superintendent Greg Winter presented certificates honoring School Board members in recognition of their service.

“They all make personal sacrifices and spend countless hours on board business,” Winter said. “It’s often a thankless job, so say thank you to the men and women who serve on the Board of Education. They’re making a difference for our students.”

Teacher Jim Zak retiring

Elementary school teacher Jim Zak has submitted his letter of retirement from his elementary classroom teacher position, effective May 15, 2012. Zak has been with the school district since 1981. He has been on leave of absence since August 2011.

Presentation on Internet safety to be offered

Braham Area Community Education will offer a free presentation, “Internet Safety for Families,” on March 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the high school.