Swanville Schools introduce a ‘skinny’ class

This semester, students at the Swanville Public School are introduced to having a “skinny.” It’s another way the school is seeking to help the students even more, Supt. Gene Harthan said.

“I wanted to give the kids more options,” Harthan said.

The skinny time is replacing the school’s original study hall after the staff noticed that the majority of students weren’t taking advantage of study hall.

“They just weren’t using it. It was really a waste of time,” Harthan said.

The idea first started when one of the teachers learned that a school in Florida had implemented a “power hour.”

“Originally we were going to have a power hour in the middle of the day where the kids could get help from the teachers. Only, we weren’t sure how we’d able to do it, since the kids would be more on their own. We were concerned about the supervision,” Harthan said.

But with the skinny, the students can choose what they want to study. The kind of classes that are offered will also differ from semester to semester, Harthan said.

During the fall semester, students may choose to study subjects such as introduction to programming (IT), life drawing (art), wood crafts, cultural awareness, consumer mathematics and more.

In the spring, classes, such as print making, metal sculpturing, theater and everyday mathematics will be offered.

The skinny hour also allows students who are having a difficulty in one subject to get extra help from that teacher. In addition, the skinny also gives students who attend college classes time to study those subjects.

“This is the first year we’re trying this out, so we shall see how it goes,” Harthan said.

The name “skinny” comes from the nickname shorter classes received when schools used block schedules, Harthan said.

Swanville School Board Briefs

In other business Wednesday, the Swanville School Board:

  • Approved the general obligation aid anticipation certificates with Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, in the amount of $850,000. The net interest cost will be $10,625.94 at a net interest rate of 1.24 percent;
  • Heard from High School Principal Sheryl Johnson that the school will hold a suicide prevention program, Oct. 25, for students in grades 7-12;
  • Heard from Supt. Gene Harthan that the number of enrolled students increased from last year. This year, the school has 310 students enrolled compared to last year’s 303;
  • Heard from Harthan that the elementary school has started a new PAWS positive behavior program, which replaces the Caught Being Good program. Through the new program, classroom teachers are encouraged to choose two students per month who are either caught being good or are “Student of the Month;”
  • Approved hiring Kim Lindemann as a paraprofessional;
  • Heard from Harthan that Freshwater Educational District had contacted him about the school setting up targeted services with it, which could possibly pay for after-school and summer school programs. Harthan said he would attend a meeting, Oct. 5, to learn more about what Freshwater has to offer;
  • Approved an agreement with Little Falls School District that Little Falls will offer wrestling for Swanville students;
  • Approved the resignation of special education teacher, Cynthia Pittman, effective Dec. 15.

Due to a football game, the Swanville School Board’s next regular meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in the high school library.