Contract approved for two teachers at Hancock Public School

It is that time of year again. The time when some school teachers decide to move on to a different district and former employers have to look for replacements. At their meeting on 

April 15, the Hancock School Board approved contracts for two teachers and, for now, have a complete staff for the next year.

Before approving the new teachers, the board officially approved the resignation of Olivia Schleper who was the Physical Education teacher. Principal Tim Pahl stated that he was disappointed to see her go and she will be missed. It was fun to see her interact with the students.

Replacing Schleper will be one of the current elementary teachers. Alyssa Ukestad decided to apply for the job and the board approved her contract. Pahl stated that she will be a good fit for the position.

The board then needed to replace Ukestad as an elementary teacher. That came through someone from Morris, attending the University of Minnesota Morris and doing her student teaching in Hancock. Mallory Anderson was recommended and approved as the new elementary teacher. 

Two teachers were also approved to get Tenure. They were Brandon Bursack and Mary Pahl. Principal Pahl was doing the observation for Bursack and Superintendent Paul Carlson did the observation for Mary Pahl. Both were recommended to receive tenure after good observation results.

The board approved the contract for Superintendent Carlson for the 2024-2025 school year and also approved Jared Goodman as the assistant baseball coach.

Carlson had a list of requests from the Technology Committee who met to discuss the technology needs at the school. The school has a three year plan to upgrade technology and funds are earmarked for this each year. The committee recommended focusing on updating the network closets by replacing switches and upgrading the fire wall.

Carlson reported that there is an Erate reimbursement for the network closets of $33,979. The total cost before the reimbursement was $56,631.

There will also be some computer replacements, additional chromebooks and smartboards purchased. The total approved for the technology upgrade was $61,651.99. Additional technology expenses include labor costs and an IPS Door Security.

Carlson told the board members that funding for summer school is no longer available.  In place of summer school this year some teachers have expressed interest in being available to provide tutoring services.  This will be a fee based tutoring service that teachers provide.  The school would provide the space for tutoring.

The fencing project at the baseball and little league field is nearing completion with a few gates to be installed.  The posts for the south border fencing are in place.  Students are playing games and practicing on the new fields.

Principal Pahl offered several congratulations to students including the Senior High Knowledge Bowl team who competed at the state competition on April 11 & 12. He added that the girls basketball team set a state record for free throw percentage for a season at 81%. Kaitlyn Staples set the state record for most three point field goal attempts in a game with 26 and she was the second all-time in three point field goals made in a game with 12.

Pahl also told the board that he has been working with the Department of Education to correct a graduation rate that they are reporting inaccurately. Last year the MDE reported that Hancock had a 92.6% graduation rate. However, Pahl said all of the seniors graduated. He looked back several years when Hancock actually had a 100% rate and the MDE is reporting less than 100%.

One thing noted from last year was that there were two students listed as from Hancock but were not among the senior class. These were Homeschooled students and if they are not reporting as graduating, they are listed as unknown and the public school percentage goes down. He said there is a period when the school can check if the rate is correct so he will be watching for that. He is not having any luck getting the past records changed but will watch this in the future. The 100% rate, if held for four or more years, garners some recognition.

Pahl’s report also listed over 25 events that will be taking place for students for the rest of the school year. These did not include sporting events but rather concerts, prom, banquets, programs, and trips. It will be a busy end to the school year.