Braham addresses changes for next school school year

The Braham School Board met June 17 to consider changes to handbooks, school schedules and general policy for the 2013-14 school year.

Braham Area Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund announced the elementary will hold recess before lunch next year, citing that research has shown students are calmer and better eaters when they are active prior to eating.

Students will also have a 15-minute activity period prior to daily academic work. Eklund explained research supports students are more alert and better prepared to learn after engaging in physical activity.

Braham Area High School Assistant Principal Judy Adams presented proposed changes to the high school student handbook. These changes included limiting lunch periods to students currently attending Braham Area Schools and PSEO students. Visitors will not be allowed.

The language for dress and appearance was changed to include examples of unacceptable attire including: no outdoor clothing like hats or mittens to be worn in the classroom, no leggings worn without proper coverage and no apparel or footwear that may damage school property, such as roller shoes.

Monitoring against the use of e-cigarettes, as a violation of the school’s drug and tobacco use policy, was explained. It is illegal to possess tobacco in any form within one city block or 300 feet of a Minnesota school or bus carrying students. An amendment was therefore added to the school’s drug and tobacco policy to include any nicotine-delivery devices.

Braham Area High School Principal Justin Sawyer provided a report on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment testing results.

The 11th-grade math test resulted in a 65 percent need-to-exceed, which is a significant improvement from the 42 percent the school received last year.

The ninth-grade writing test was slightly down from last year at 75 percent. Sawyer explained he is waiting for further test results from other schools in the state to conclude whether this slight dip is something more schools are experiencing and to address what can be done to improve those scores.

Reading scores have not yet been released, but are expected to be completed by the teachers’ workshop in August.

Superintendent Gregory Winter voiced his concern over the change the Legislature made to dispose of the MCA GRAD, or Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma, tests.

“The students will figure out very quickly that there is an end around doing well in classes, doing well in curricular areas,” Winter said. “Some of the legislators are finally understanding the harm they’ve done and are already making some plans as they open up the next session to right the wrong they’ve done with this.”

A consideration for a resolution that would result in a referendum for revenue was acknowledged as on record. The board must have the consideration on the books if they want to take action to authorize the election for a referendum during the 2013 election period.

In other action on the board:

• Employment recommendations were made. Bill Broderius was recommended for K-12 vocal music teacher. Broderius has previous teaching experience in Aitkin and Isle. The employment of Tim Malone as assistant principal and activities director was approved. Malone, who is currently this district’s activities director, will begin in his new responsibilities July 1.

• The revised Wellness Policy on Nutrition and Physical Activity was adopted to replace the current JP-Wellness Policy. The new policy outlines guidelines for physical activity and food and beverage standards. All food and beverages sold or served at the school will meet the nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

• The final 2013-2014 proposed budget for the Braham School District was adopted. The budget plans for about $10.32 million in expenditures against $9.56 million in revenue. Of these expenses, $458,074 was reserved for activities, $631,418 for transportation, $472,583 for food service and $17,600 for scholarships.