When the Yellow Medicine School Board meets once a month decisions are made that affect the administration, the staff, students, and the greater community. The meetings are intentionally kept rrelatively short and to the point.
Sometimes it appears that decisions are made without much discussion. However, the opposite is true. While it is unlawful for board members to meet and make decisions outside of an official board meeting, information is gathered and presented to board members for discussions at school board work sessions. Those sessions are conducted as needed.
Sometimes school issues are not brought to the board, but are handled internally through a chain of command. When an issue arises, the first link in the chain is the teacher or staff member directly involved, from there the issue goes to the building principal, from there to the superintendent and if necessary to the board.
The school board plays an integral role in the operations of the district. According to YME District Policy 301, the role of the School Board is to oversee the educational philosophy and goals of the school district, not to manage day-to-day operations. The School Board holds administrators responsible to implement the educational philosophy and goals of the district. If educational issues arise, the chain of command is followed. Most if not all concerns can be resolved without the involvement of the School Board.
Last Monday evening the board held one of their work sessions. The agenda included adiscussion on Robert’s Rule of Order, the budget, food service requirements, early childhood education, technology, the gifted and talented programs, coaching vacancies, reproductive health, and the board reorganization scheduled to take place in January.
It is at the work sessions that the board is able to look to future needs of the district. Two items on the agenda, technology and coaching vacancies were two items discussed. The district has received a grant that Stoeckman referred to as a B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device) technology grant. Next fall students will be able to bring their own technology devices into the classroom to help enhance their learning experience. Students will be using tablets, iPods, and even smart phones. Stoeckman noted that installing WiFi throughout the district will play a big role in the implementation of the grant.
The need to fill future coaching vacancies was also discussed. Board members asked questions and shared ideas on how the district could meet those needs in the future.
Often during work sessions more questions come out of a discussion than possible solutions. The board members discussed at length the problems facing not only the YME food service, but school food service across the nation caused by the new federal mandates. “It seems like we were just making progress, and now we are getting more complaints,” shared board member Dawn Odegard. She explained that last year hot dog and “mac and cheese” days were a favorite with students with the highest attendance for the school’s hot lunch. Last year the students could select a foot long hot dog or two hot dogs and were given a sizable serving of well seasoned macaroni and cheese.
Page 2 of 2 - Under the new regulations, the meal is limited to one hot dog and a small dish of bland macaroni and cheese. Odegard and other board members asked that the administration look into the possibility of reestablishing an ala carte menu.
Stoeckman allowed a limited amount of time for discussion on each item on the agenda. Every board member voiced their opinions. Even though the work sessions are meetings where no decisions are made by the board, those sessions examine problems or potential problems and often committees are asked to investigate ways to solve the problem or to avoid a problem.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 10.