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No e-learning on snow days for DL schools

In a 3-2 vote, the school board declined the proposal.

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Elementary principals Trisha Mariotti and Emily Sternberg were two of the four school administrators who spoke in favor of e-learning to the board.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — Detroit Lakes School District students will not have e-learning days during snow days.

During the monthly school board meeting on Monday, Nov. 28, the board voted down the idea, 3-2, with board members John Steffl, Jennifer Pedersen and Dr. Thomas Seaworth opposed, and Amy Erickson and April Thomas in favor.

The snow day learning plan at the elementary level included having staff check in with students to answer questions and provide social-emotional support. Parents would also have access to speak with teachers before and after school hours. The middle school and high school administrators had similar plans, which also included video instructions for students.

The board was also informed that at higher learning levels, a traditional make-up day added to the end of the school year does not make up the day missed, as students may be in a different class altogether.

All school administrators stated surveys were presented to staff and parents. The majority of both supported up to three e-learning days for instances such as a snow day.

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Seaworth asked what percentage of students didn’t have access to the internet. He was told less than 10%, based on survey results.

“So with the disaster with e-learning during the COVID time, is this a good idea?” Seaworth asked.

Detroit Lakes Middle School Principal Mike Suckert explained e-learning would allow continued relevant instruction and prevent pushing learning days back.

“Isn’t that what we supposedly did during e-learning, virtual days?” Seaworth asked.

“That was long-term,” Suckert said.

“And it failed miserably,” Seaworth responded.

“That was long-term,” Suckert said. “This is short-term. They are back in class a day after.”

Detroit Lakes High School Principal Joshua Omang agreed with his colleague, adding that more factors were at play during the pandemic.

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“Follow-up is a huge piece,” Omang said, noting that after one or two snow days the students are back in class and teachers are able to reinforce the lesson. “That is the huge difference.”

Omang added that e-learning is a practice that colleges will likely implement during inclement weather, as well, and having the experience in high school could prove beneficial.

The board then took a vote and the e-learning plan failed to get enough support from the board.

New staff welcomed to Laker team

The board also approved the hiring and resignations of staff members.

From the little learners' corner of the district, Sadie Stroeing was hired as an extended care worker at Lincoln at the rate of $15.25 per hour.

At Rossman Elementary Tim Murray and Mary Ann Nelmark were hired. Murray was hired as a meal supervisor and alternative delivery of specialized instructional services at the rate of $15.25 per hour and Nelmark joined the LatchKey team as an assistant at the rate of $15.00 per hour. Resigning were Lindsey Johnson, Diane Lanoue, Dana Sabers and Kimberly Erickson. Johnson was a paraprofessional/noon supervisor at Rossman Elementary and Lanoue and Sabers were Title 1 assistants/noon duty supervisors at Roosevelt Elementary. Erickson was a Latchkey assistant at Rossman.

The Detroit Lakes Middle School welcomed Chelsea Helliksen-Rodewald as a special education paraprofessional at the rate of $15.25 per hour. Resigning at the middle school was Paraprofessional Macaylee Qual.

At the high school, Jeff Tessman joined the custodial staff at the rate of $19.33 per hour.

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In the activities realm, Austin Fritz and Brent Eidenschink became Laker coaches. Fritz joined the coaching staff of the girls hockey team as an assistant. He will be paid $3,746.70 per season. Eidenschink was named the varsity wrestling coach and will be paid $4,298.85 per season. Resigning was Deangelist Duffie Strozier as the middle school boys basketball coach.

The district also hired Fonda Holehouse and Lacey Thiel. Holehouse will work as the Becker County Jail ABE Instructor at the rate of $33.47 per hour and Thiel as the district’s occupational therapist for $26,395 for the current school year. Resignations not assigned to a specific school on the agenda include Patricia Thorson and Rita Arola. Thorson was a special education teacher in the district and Arola was a production assistant.

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