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ECSD School Board Reviews District Response to Challenges Created by Ongoing Pandemic

By Joseph Schany - | Jan 27, 2021

by Joseph Schany

The Emmetsburg Community School District (ECSD) Board of Education met Wednesday night at the Emmetsburg High School library, discussing ways in which ECSD has responded to the challenges created by the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Darren Hanna, ECSD Superintendent, outlined a program called “Impossible to I’m Possible” now in its third week. The award was created by administration to reward staff going above and beyond to lead students and the district in today’s difficult environment.

“It’s been a different kind of year, a tough kind of year,” began Hanna. “There have been a lot of curveballs. We want to recognize people who take on that challenge and persevere through it because we want to role model that to our kids, so we came up with this award. It’s been really fun and exciting to do.”

According to Hanna, nominations are presented every Thursday afternoon and the various recipients from the high school, middle school, and West Elementary are awarded each Friday.

Administrators from all three schools next provided updates on the progress each school is currently making in the new semester.

Tracie Christensen, Grade 5-12 Principal, began by reviewing enrollment numbers at the middle school and high school, pointing out that each school is down two students from the beginning of the year. However, according to Christensen, enrollment is fluid and three to four kids will be enrolling in the coming days.

Christensen also reviewed the first semester high school grades, stating 36 credits were not earned due to failed classes, noting a correlation between incomplete practice work and failed assessments.

“It’s pretty evident that if students are not completing the practice that they need they are not being very successful on the assessments. At some point we’ve got to get the students to understand that they’ve got to complete their work and prepare themselves for assessments to get there, so we are working on a plan to work on this.”

Hanna mentioned four themes that arose from Strategic Planning, noting parents in the district are thinking a lot of the same things as staff. Areas include:

• Facilities – “There’s been a lot of compliments around the middle school/high school project and the West project,” said Hanna. “People felt those things were necessary and you were good stewards of the tax money to do projects that would leave a positive impact and were not seen as overdone.”

• Programs and Opportunities for Kids – “Kids finding their way as to things they want to think about doing once they leave school and how the school can approach that and make school meaningful in a way that helps them get there,” added Hanna.

• Retaining and Attracting High-Quality Staff

• Partnerships and Collaborations in the Community

Board member Katy Thomsen asked, “When will the results be shared with the community?”

“We are still working on them in groups so I don’t want to get ahead of my groups,” replied Hanna. “Right now we are getting ready for the first round of the planning committee. We will eventually put together a full report to put out there.”

Read the full article in The Reporter.