Upsala works at finalizing teacher evaluation form

By KERRY DRAGER, Correspondent

Upsala Dean of Students Vern Capelle will be working with staff throughout the summer to complete the new staff evaluation form that will be implemented next year.

There is currently a draft in place, but some items still need to be worked out before it is presented to the board for approval. One of these items is the peer review system that is required by state law to be included in the new evaluation.

“We are getting through the areas where people are not comfortable. They are really afraid, for whatever reason, that all this information is going to come back and be used to target them, instead of it being used for professional growth,” said Capelle during the May 28 School Board meeting.

The new evaluation system will also consist of student achievements and surveys on how well teachers have engaged their students in the classroom. Capelle said the information gathered through the evaluations will be used to help develop teachers within the district and that he wants a system that the union can be comfortable with, but still functional.

Upsala Spanish students did a presentation on their adventure to Costa Rica. The trip consisted of a visit to a volcano, hiking up Monteverde to visit the cloud forest and planting new trees, whitewater rafting and riding a mile-long zip line. These were just a few of the events the students engaged in during their trip. The journey to Costa Rica has exposed these Central Minnesota students to a rural culture that struggles with poverty.

The students expressed how giving the people were, even though they had little to give. It proved to be a unique opportunity to practice their Spanish-speaking skills and broaden their understanding of a Latin culture.

Spanish teacher Lindsey Bergmann is interested in taking another trip in the spring of 2015, this time to the Galapagos Islands. The School Board was impressed with Bergmann’s travel experience and how educational her tours are. Upsala will continue these enriching travel opportunities for their students.

“We’re getting the kids outside of their current reality that they are in all the time,” said Capelle. “It does open their eyes and opens some doors for these kids. We’re looking into adding more service projects with our students for the future.”

Upsala School Board Briefs


Other business that came before the Upsala School Board May 28, included:

•Hearing the new windows in the elementary are starting to leak. The windows have a five-year warranty but they are currently 10 years old. New gaskets will need to be installed;

•Approving a resolution to carry over up to $500 per year on the FSA Flex Plan for all non-certified school staff;

•Approving Haylee Vershure as the new science instructor;

•Approving the 2014-15 school budget with total expenditures of $833,850;

•Accepting a $21,950 quote from Herzog Roofing for the replacement of shingles on the cafeteria and kitchen portion of the school building;

•Accepting an $11,956 quote from SwedeBro to clean and repaint the agricultural shop. The Board also approved an additional $500 to upgrade to a pro-industrial epoxy treatment;

•Approving a $4,490 quote from Nathe Refrigeration to replace the walk-in cooler in the kitchen. The cooler is as old as the school building and the condenser in the ceiling breaks down a few times a year. The contractor will be putting in a new roof unit and converting to a cooler/freezer combo; and

•Approving staff to seek quotes for a new passenger van.

The next Upsala School Board meeting will be Wednesday, June 25, at 7:40 p.m. at the high school media center.