New tutor being trained for Reading Corps

After four years as the Reading Corps tutor for Upsala Schools, Shelly Schumer is stepping down, according to Corps guidelines, to make way for Amy Lanners. First-grade teacher Desiree Bengston is the internal coach for the district, coordinating Reading Corps activities and assessments.

Bengston gave a presentation at Wednesday’s School Board meeting, providing information and insight into the work of Reading Corps and how it has benefitted Upsala’s K-3 students since it was initiated six years ago.

“All tutors and coaches are trained every year,” Bengston said, holding up a fat binder of information that each participant is required to learn. “The training is very precise, very detailed.”

Affiliated with AmeriCorps, Minnesota Reading Corps is a program designed to help students who are behind in reading catch up to their peers. Assessments that are done at the beginning of the school year show which students are closest to their grade level and those students are served first. As soon as they reach grade level, they successfully exit the program and the tutor can move on with the other students. The program is run identically across the United States.

“The one-on-one interventions with students are 20 minutes long,” Bengston told the Board.

Schumer was a part-time tutor, while Lanners will be working full time. She will work with between 15 – 20 students each day. Tutors are volunteers, although they receive a minimal stipend.

“Reading Corps give us that extra support for kids who are a little behind,” said Supt. Vern Capelle. “We can only do so much with core instruction, so Reading Corps give us extra help.”

Upsala School Board Briefs

Other business coming before the Upsala School Board Wednesday, included:

  • Learning from Supt. Vern Capelle that a third section of preschool will be added, since 38 students have registered so far. Each section will meet two half-days. All expenses for the new section will be covered by incoming revenue, including: School Readiness funds, Pathways I and II grants and tuition;
  • Approving Title and Special Education paraprofessional agreements for the 2017-18 school year at 170 days a week, seven hours a day with a half hour duty-free unpaid lunch. “It’s an adjustment to standardize all paras for the district,” Capelle said;
  • Approving a contract for Michelle Schumer as a part-time paraprofessional literacy specialist;
  • Approving the hiring of B.J. Lange as junior high football coach;
  • Approving an additional half day of training for paraprofessionals, scheduled for Aug. 28;
  • Approving a memorandum of understanding between the district and Upsala Education Association referencing the district’s participation in the Alternative Career Pathways grant for 2017-18. “Credits awarded through this program will be the same as grad credits,” said Capelle;
  • Approving a 2017-2019 audit contract with Schlenner, Wenner and Co.; and
  • Authorizing the administration to seek renewal quotes for worker’s compensation and property/liability insurance.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Upsala School Board will be Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.