Director’s Column: January, 2018
Welcome to winter! We have now successfully navigated through the first semester with new teachers, students, and staff members are experiencing the smooth “hum” of completing assignments, asking questions and actively learning, playing sports, and participating in After School Program!
Every parent wants his or her student to succeed, and toward that end, we devised aStudent Action Plan system to intercept students who were potentially going to fail one or more core courses. (Core courses are math, English, social studies, and science.) With few exceptions, teachers were able to reach parents to enlist their support in having their son or daughter pass their core course. We continuously monitor ninth through twelfth graders since they are in a credit-earning capacity; naturally, failing courses can interrupt a student’s plan to graduate on time, so we do our utmost to intercept that so that kids can stay on track.
Of great interest and anticipation is that next year, in the 2018-2019 school year, ECHO Charter boys’ basketball will be joining the Camden Conference, which means they will have a full schedule of games throughout the packed season. Stay tuned! If we have an adequate number of girls who want to play basketball, we could consider a girls team as well. Boys’ basketball, under coach Travis Leenerts, is 6-0 for the season to date. Way to go, boys! Girls’ basketball, under coach Molly Peavy, is also having a very successful season, with a 2-0 recordto date.
Students have also been “pitching” ideas for different sports, and we will look into these requests. Thus far I’ve had students who are interested in track and field, archery, and competitive electronic “gaming” sports.
Band and choir kids are working on choosing their spring play or musical, which will once again be performed as a dinner theatre. Kids are looking at a comedy, musical, or assortment of short skits. More information will be given as it becomes available.
Students in 7-12 science are doing short research projects accompanied by research papers and presentations as a way to warm up for the 2018 Science Fair! Thoughts of conducting endless trials and doing research have aroused a sense of excitement for this year’s fair, which again will be a judged event. No date has been set yet, but the Science Fair will probably be held in April. More information to come!
One question on everyone’s mind concerns snow days, given the fact that we had to close school for two days in October due to city water issues. Officially, we have one more snow day that is considered to be a “freebie” and thereafter, we will need to start making up any other snow days. In consultation with the staff, IF this should come to pass, we may need to convene school on what would otherwise have been a student-teacher workday. A Remind text message will be sent out along with a letter home to parents and a notice on the website. If you are not signed up for Remind, please do so because it is an invaluable communication tool.
Of exciting note, grades 3-12 will all be going on a field trip to the Minnesota Zoo in Burnsville on Wednesday, March 28! The school received a grant that includes transportation expenses, so there will be no charge for students. (If your student wants to bring money for souvenirs, that is fine!) Though the final schedule has not been set, we will be departing school around 7:30, arriving at the zoo for our 10:30 class start, leaving the zoo at 3:00, and returning about 6:00. We will supply breakfast and lunch for the kids, and we urge you to pack a snack for them to tide them over until they get home that evening.
Our transportation department has worked diligently to ensure that our buses are running well to get students to and from school, but sometimes things go awry with mechanical difficulties, staff sickness, and the like. For those of you who have been flexible with us as we have had a bump or two throughout the year, we THANK YOU!
Finally, if you are interested in joining the school steering committee to examine academic planning for ECHO Charter, please feel free to contact me at 507.925.4143. We need your input!
Specifics on dates and times for the events above will be published as they are decided. Stay tuned!
Helen Blue-Redner, Director and 7-12 Science Teacher