Weather Forecast


DL school board OK’s ‘positive coaching’ contract

Good behavior, both on the athletic field and off, dominated discussion at Monday morning’s meeting of the Detroit Lakes School Board at the Lincoln Education Center.

When the fall sports season begins at schools across the state on Aug. 11, Detroit Lakes coaches’ focus will be on accentuating the positive for their student-athletes —thanks to a new $2,600 contract with the Positive Coaching Alliance that was approved at the meeting.

As the board learned through a short video presentation, the PCA is a national, nonprofit organization that is focused on the goal of transforming the culture of high school sports into a positive, character-building experience for all.

Through this contract, the PCA will organize a series of four workshops to be held over the course of the year that can be geared toward athletes, coaches and/or parents.

The board directed Superintendent Doug Froke, Activities Director Mitch McLeod and High School Principal Darren Wolf to meet and come up with some suggestions on the best approach to take in meeting the goals outlined by the PCA.

Though Board Chairman Ladd Lyngaas said that “there isn’t a problem” in DLHS athletics currently, there is room for making some positive changes.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board had its first reading of a revised bullying policy. The district is revising its policy to fully comply with a mandate passed by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature that is aimed at strengthening policies against bullying at school districts across the state.

“This was a lightning rod issue” during the 2014 legislative session in St. Paul, Froke said. “It has received a lot of attention.”

Board member Tom Seaworth pointed out that the district is going to have to be careful to ensure that its bullying policy is in line with current Minnesota laws.

“This is huge… it creates a huge liability for this district,” he said, adding that he was also disappointed the legislature had created “another unfunded mandate.”

“They provided a policy, but not the funds to implement it,” he said.

Seaworth and others were concerned that some of the language contained in the proposed policy is too vague, and requested that Froke seek legal consul from the district’s attorney on tightening it up, while still remaining in compliance with the legislature’s mandate.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board briefly discussed how to proceed with plans for another possible building bond referendum, in the wake of district voters overturning a proposed $59 million bond project.

The board is in the process of gathering names to establish a new building committee that will be tasked with making recommendations on how the district should proceed with addressing its K-12 space needs and facility safety issues.

Lyngaas said he would like to see the new committee hold its first meeting before the end of July.

“Things are moving fast,” Froke agreed, noting that if the board would like to see a new referendum vote in mid-May (the tentative target date), they would need to have plans ready to go by the February board meeting at the latest.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454