The GFW School Board met on Monday, May 15, 2023 for a regular meeting. A summary of the meeting is below.
Watch the meeting on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj-mv3aJOH8
School and Community Recognition
During the School and Community Recognition, Superintendent Horton and members of the board recognized members of the GFW team who are retiring at the end of this school year. Retirees were not able to attend the meeting since they were out working with students but certificates will be handed out in the coming weeks.
The retiring class of 2023 is:
Mr. John Wisch - Bus driver
Mr. Jeff Seehafer - Teacher
Mrs. Ardie Seehafer - Teacher
These staff members have been a big part of our district for many years and we are truly thankful for their service and dedication to our schools and students!
Superintendent Horton shared briefly on some of the exciting things happening in the schools right now as we get closer to ending the school year. There are lots of fun events taking place, but learning is also still going full speed ahead.
Principal Thompson presented on what is currently going on at GFW Elementary School. Events taking place this week include the Spring Music Concert and Grandparents Day. Students are working on Sunflower art projects and will receive a book this week. Summer School is planned with a focus on reading, math and social skills for students. The T-Bird Way assembly recently wrapped up recognizing EMTs as real life heroes. There will be a fun outdoor celebration coming up. The T-Bird Community Arts Camp is coming up which will include a performance of The Jungle Book. There will also be a summer production of Beauty and the Beast which has been cast.
We celebrated Teacher Appreciation last week and had so much fun celebrating the work of our teachers! Fourth graders will be going to GFW Middle School for orientation to prepare them for their upcoming transition to fifth grade. Other field trips are also coming up for students.
Principal Galetka shared an update about what is happening at GFW Middle School and High School. Spring Fling was last week with lots of fun activities for students including kickball and coronation. Teachers were also celebrated throughout the week. Students were very busy last week with the NHS Blood Drive, College and Career Fair, and band concerts all taking place. The greenhouse plant sale was also a huge success.
The graduating class of 2023 will receive caps and gowns this week as we prepare for graduation. The FFA banquet also takes place this week with Ag experience day taking place on May 18 and the variety show performances coming up this weekend. Evening of Excellence and NHS induction will be coming up, along with the Letterman’s Banquet in June. Graduation will take place on June 3 and we are excited to celebrate!
GFW High School Updates
Principal Galetka also presented on GFW High School that serves students in grades 9-12 with Professional Learning Communities in departments including fine arts, special education, CTE, Math, Science, ELA, social studies, and EL support. Student supports include interventionists, special education co-taught classes, study halls, social worker, dean of students, student services coordinator, as well as a virtual options including psychologist, speech therapists, and more.
The school uses a Multi-Tiered System of Support for students who need additional support in reading, math and behavior. The team meets every other week to discuss student progress and needs. Courses for high school students use the Minnesota Career Fields, Clusters and Pathways as a guide for academies and pathways courses. The three academies include AEM, BACE, and HSHS that provide hands-on learning opportunities focused on career exploration in a variety of fields including agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, business, arts, communications, entrepreneurship, health services, human services, and more.
GFW uses Restorative Practices for discipline to best support all students in a partnership with students, families, and the school to allow students to learn from experiences instead of focusing only on discipline. Student leaders are very active at GFW High School with Student Council and NHS members being very involved in the community. Other student opportunities include a newly launched marching band launched by band director Miranda Kelly. Students also have some fun with different activities including FFA, dances and events, and the variety shows that show off student talents in a fun way. There is a lot of student achievement to be excited about and proud of including FFA leadership, athletic achievement, and of course our graduating seniors!
There were no reports shared by board members.
Resolutions and Action Items
The board heard and approved resolutions and action items.
The first resolution was focused on approval of an architectural firm for the new school building that was approved by voters in the April 11 building bond referendum election. The district’s legal counsel has been working with legal counsel from construction management firm Kraus-Anderson and architectural firm Wold Architects and Engineers. Dr. Horton shared a bit on the process behind outlining and creating the contracts with legal counsel and using templates and insurance requirements to create a strong agreement.
Vice Chair Schmidt asked about timelines and requirements for completion dates. Dr. Horton shared that the date presented by the firms initially was that the district could move into the school in the fall of 2025 and that is the date in the contract.
Member Briese asked about the process to hire subcontractors and the process to resolve issues with work by subcontractors. Dr. Horton answered that it is in the agreement that Kraus-Anderson is an ally of the district in those instances and will work on the district’s behalf to work with subcontractors to keep timelines aligned and making sure there is a high-quality level of work throughout the process.
Vice Chair Schmidt also asked about the bidding process with Member Stehr asking about whether or not the board will oversee those approvals. Dr. Horton answered that the board will be involved in approving bids for work as recommended by the construction management firm.
Dr. Horton shared that the plan is to work in a very timeline-focused manner at all phases of the construction process.
The Wold Architects contract which was approved by the board.
The Kraus-Anderson Construction Management contract was approved by the board.
The Board also heard from CFO Lindsey Heine on proposed changes to the 2023-24 budget that has been adjusted to address the phone system at current facilities, as the current system is expiring and needs to be dealt with instead of waiting for a new facility. Finances continue to be strong for the district.
The Board approved the revised budget
The Board also introduced and approved resolutions for contract non-renewals for the 2023-24 school year
The Board approved a change to the board committee structure that eliminates current board committees and accepts new committee structure and appointments. The board affirmed its commitment to governance and to create efficient and effective guidance for the school district. The resolution eliminates all current committees and assignments and replaces them with the following:
Executive Committee - Merkel, Acree, Stehr
Facilities and Long Term Planning Committee - Merkel, Acree, Briese
Policy Committee - Schmidt, Briese
Community Engagement Committee - Schmidt, Stehr, Haas
The Policy Committee will update all policies to align with the new committee structure and direct the superintendent to create advisory councils and update materials to reflect the new structure.
A motion to approve the resolution wade by member Stehr, seconded by member Acree and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
The Board also accepted donations to GFW Schools as required by statute
The Board closed the regular meeting for a closed session.