Little Falls District receives Apple award for Project REAL

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer


The Little Falls School District was presented with an award from Apple through its education recognition program, Monday. Fewer than 200 school districts have been honored with the award as an Apple Distinguished Program.

“Folks here in Little Falls have put in a lot of time and effort to get where you are today,” said Apple K-12 Account Representative John Kinsey. “We look forward to many more years.”

The Board approved full implementation of Project Resources to Engage All Learners (REAL) in 2011, focusing on student engagement by providing iPads to each teacher and student in grades 5-12.

Five main criteria are used to determine who is given the award: visionary leadership, innovation learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success and a flexible learning environment.

“Project REAL is the district’s 21st Century learning initiative focused around the iPad,” said Supt. Stephen Jones. “All students in grades 5-12 receive an iPad to augment their educational experience with access to technology. Curriculum and classrooms are structured in such a way to maximize technology in the teaching and learning process.

“Obviously, we’re pleased as a district to be one of only 200 districts nationwide to be named as an Apple Distinguished Program” he said. “It’s a testament to the work our staff has done implementing technology into the daily learning process.”


Other business coming before the Little Falls School Board Monday included:

• Honoring retiring teachers: Penny Flansburg (20 years), Karen Grzeskowiak (24), Barb Jelinski (36), Becky Johnson (24), Gerald Kapsner (14), Lu Ann Kuesel (18), Margaret Lundberg (38), Gregg Pearce (33), Pat Van Orsdel (16) and Sue Wasland (32);

• Approving the hiring of Todd Pelzer as part-time groundskeeper, Jayme Primus as .8 elementary music teacher, Lisa Smith as .5 ALP middle school teacher and Simon Waltman as high school math teacher;

• Accepting the resignations of Angela Johnson, Brody Johnson, Sara Lester, Erin Nordmark and Amanda Dirksen;

• Releasing Mark Kuchinski during his probationary period as paraprofessional at Lindbergh Elementary effective April 18;

• Releasing Wilma Wolters during her probationary period as kitchen assistant at the high school effective May 16;

• Approving a leave of absence for Elaine Auger, first grade teacher at Lindbergh;

• Approving the reorganization of administrative position as follows: abolishing the combination human resource/athletic director position and reestablishing a 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) human resource director; abolishing the activities coordinator position and reestablishing a 1.0 FTE activities director position; hiring a 1.0 FTE middle school dean of students; establishing Mark Dunlap as the director of special education; not filling the special education coordinator position; and assigning Laura Dunlap as operations manager of the Community Education Center (CEC);

• Approving a request for the International Club to travel to Argentina in June 2015;

• Approving the increase of activity fees at the high school by $5. “This is at the very very low end of activity fees statewide,” said Supt. Stephen Jones;

• Approving the increase of food service prices by 5 cents as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture;

• Approving one-year lease agreement with the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls for the use of classrooms and the gymnasium for the CEC;

• Approving the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance rates for 2013-2014, a 13 percent increase; and

• Approving the receipt of the following gifts to the district: $745.33 from Teen Moms to early childhood family education young parent program; $750 from Diane and Greg Colombe to the high school’s scholarship fund; $1,000 from Lyle D. James to the high school’s scholarship fund; $250 from Atomic Learning to the Minnesota Reading Corps program; $7,000 from Crow Wing Power to the high school’s scholarship fund; $750 from Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to the high school for Archery in the Schools; $153.40 from Boxtops for Education to the middle school; $500 from Belle Prairie Township to the Youth Recreation Program; $300 from Green Prairie Township to the Youth Recreation Program; $50 from Coborn’s to the middle school and $250 from Friends of Crane Meadows to the high school’s scholarship fund.

The next Little Falls School Board meeting will be Monday, June 10, at 5 p.m. in the board room in the County Government Center.