First level of HRS model rolling at Verndale school


High-Reliability Schools (HRS) work is underway at the Verndale school according to Superintendent Paul Brownlow.

The HRS model is a strategic planning framework that provides indicators of school operations. The district has received a $250,000 grant from the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) to work on a program Brownlow expects to take place over a three-year period. The grant will be combined with $275,000 the district already has budgeted for development to reach the program's goals.

The first level of the five level program is providing a safe and collaborative environment for students and staff. Problems such as bullying can be reported by students anonymously. Staff members will be able to give their input on school operations through formal channels.

As the district reaches each level it will be reviewed by a representative of Marzano Research, the group which developed the five-step plan.

Verndale Fourth Grade Teacher Jennifer Blickenstaff and Secondary Social Studies Teacher Samantha Schmitz joined Brownlow for a trip to Oklahoma City in February to observe two HRS schools at different levels in the process. Some Verndale staff members are expected to travel to Texas this summer for an HRS Schools Summit. A Minnesota summit is planned for August. While meeting only three of the program's five steps are required by the NJPA grant, Brownlow said the Verndale administration has their own goal.

"We want to be a demonstration school for other schools," Brownlow said.

Summer Recreation Program fee hikes were approved at Monday's meeting by the Verndale school board.

For those participating in Pirate Summer Fun, Verndale student and family fees will be increased from $26.50 for each student per session in Block 1 to $28. Students per session for Blocks 2, 3 and 4 will see their fees increased from $35 to 37.50.

Out of district student/family fees will increase from $31.50 to $33 for each student per session in Block 1. Students per session increases for Blocks 2, 3 and 4 will go from $37.50 to $42.50.

The maximum fee paid by Verndale Student/Family participants will be $255.

There will be no maximum for out of district students.

Summer Theatre fees will increase $10 over the 2016 rate to $35.

Swimming lessons will increase from $40 to $42.50 for Verndale district residents. Out-of-district rates will go from $45 to $47.50. The family cap for Verndale district residents will be $95.

Verndale resident rates for the Summer Rec program will go from $27 to $30. Non-resident rates will crease from $32 to $35.

Summer Rec rates will be capped at $75 for Verndale district residents. No cap will be applied for out of district students.

The board approved an increase in the summer recreation director's salary by $100. According to Brownlow, the $2,200 summer salary will make the position more competitive with neighboring districts.

The board approved the purchase of a 2017 GMC Savana 3500 from Nelson Auto Center. The 10-passenger van will cost the district $31,507.

A modified contract for 7-12 Special Education Teacher Abby Dunn was approved. Maternity leave was approved for Fifth Grade Teacher Kelli Marquardt from August through the Christmas break.