Royalton to develop gifted and talented curriculum

By Kerry Drager, Correspondent

The Royalton School Board is taking steps to improve the school’s learning environment by developing the skills and education of a new staff person. Shari Bishop is a recent hire. She will be teaching a curriculum for gifted and talented students from preschool through to the eighth grade, to provide the students with the challenges they need for further educational development in a school setting.

“This will provide new opportunities for our kids,” said Supt. Jon Ellerbusch. “We’d like to hire her and then provide her with more schooling.”

There were no candidates for the position that already came with the specialized core for this position. Bishop was seen as the best match for the position as she is from the area and comes with teaching experience. She has the interest to obtain more schooling for the curriculum, but would need to drive to the metro area to attend a private university for the license.

The district would like pay for Bishop’s tuition to Hamline University where she will acquire the education needed to make the gifted and talented curriculum successful.

“This is a very unusual situation,” said Elementary Principal Dr. Phil Gurbada. “It’s not (Bishop) that is asking to obtain these credits; we want this program to develop the way we want it to. We found a really good match, someone anchored in the community. This will benefit her and benefit us in the years ahead. There is a risk. She might go to another community, for example. But there is always a risk when you do something worth doing. From what we’ve seen by how she’s gone about it so far. She’s mature and has intelligence.”

The Board supported the motion to supply Bishop with the opportunity to better herself while providing the district with new expertise in a specialized field.

The Board approved to pay for Bishop’s tuition so that she may enroll in June, but the contract will have to be reworked before the Board gives a final approval.

The Board voted against the resolution for no parking on Hawthorn Street South from the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The resolution failed 4 – 1.

“There is no scope. How far down does the parking ban go? Rewrite this. Change the times so that parents can park there to pick up their children at 3 p.m.,” said Board Member Tom Justin.

The Board agreed that there is risk to the students who are parking on and crossing Hawthorn Street due to increased and unsupervised pedestrian and vehicle traffic. It also creates a nuisance to residents living on Hawthorn. Members of the board feel that the parking did not become a problem until after they imposed a parking fee for their back parking lot. The fee was initially meant to fund the paving and maintenance of the parking lot, but they have not been able to raise enough money to afford this improvement.

The Board decided to revisit the issue and lift the fee in the back parking lot so students will be encouraged to park in the back and off of Hawthorn Street. If this does not eradicate the problem, the resolution will be rewritten. Even if the Board approves the resolution, the county will also need to approve the ban.

Royalton School Board Briefs

Other business before the Royalton School Board included:

•Approval for the hiring of following staff for the summer throughout the 2014/2015 school year: Kelley Newell for the middle and high school social science teacher, Timothy Siewert as a grade 5-12 band teacher, Katelyn Fuhrman as a special education teacher, Terry Gorecki as head of wrestling coach and Abby Ellerbusch, Tammy Willen, Shane Eastman and Tanna Stucky were all hired for the after school and summer MAP program;

•Approval for the resignation of Aaron Meier as assistant varsity football coach effective April 16, Lynette Miller as middle and high school career resource and guidance secretary effective May 2 and Glenn Fisk as bus route driver effective June 4; and

•Hearing that Jan. 6, 2015 is the election date for area residents to vote for the new building addition. The Board will have to approve an architect and construction manager for the project but would like to seek bids from additional construction managers before making a final decision on either position.