Hancock School Board reflects on the past and future

A couple of meetings during the months of January and February produced a great deal of information for the Hancock School Board who met on February 27. The first meeting was a retreat for board members and administrators on January 30 and the second was a Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting for teachers on February 16. While the retreat focused on the future, a portion of the PLC dealt with areas for improvement and strengths. The board also heard an update on the buildings and grounds work for this summer from this committee which met on January 27. 

Superintendent Paul Carlson presented a meeting summary from the retreat at the regular monthly meeting. Some of the subjects of discussion included a review of teacher openings for the next year (no new positions expected), review of discipline trends and data and discussion on closing open enrollment similar to last year. The ADSIS data was reviewed and since this program is having a significant impact, the application for the next two years is in process. Some concerns about activity cooperative agreements were shared and a copy of the current Master Agreement for teachers was presented to each board member for review. 

The teachers and administrators held a PLC meeting on February 16 and were asked to list the strengths and areas for improvement for the school district. A few of the strengths included small class sizes, technology resources and access to resources and materials, closeness between all grades and relationships between students. The Hancock Climate was also listed as a strength and that alumni and families want to come back. Teachers stated that students are courteous and helpful and the administration is supportive and trusting.

Some areas of improvement listed were for better communication between administration, teachers, coaches and athletic directors. Teachers put on their wish list a need for STEM specialists, Home Economics and Foods, a breakfast program and full-time school nurse. They suggested expanding the Early Childhood option to 4 days a week for 3 year olds. 

Some of the priority for improvements were more mental health and social, emotional learning help, instant alerts to all, communication – all around, planning time and space issues in the cafeteria, auditorium, gym, commons area and testing room. Some suggested more food options, Chromebook reorganization and additional class options. 

In a final report to the board members, the buildings and grounds committee met and reviewed the timeline for work at the athletic and physical education fields. There was only one change made and that was for the fencing installation. Carlson met with Asmus Electric and received a quote to route the wiring underground around the field rather than through the field. This quote was for $18,800. The location of the sprinkler system pump house was also identified. 

At the very beginning of the meeting on February 27, the board had some public input from a homeschooled family in the district. The issue they brought up regarded communication regarding events at the school, closures and testing. The Hollermanns will be signed up for instant alerts and the administration will make a plan for better communication. 

Supt. Carlson presented a budget review, a letter about the Workman’s Compensation Modification Factor and School Board Committee assignments. He also presented a class size survey conducted by Lakes Country Service Cooperative. Hancock class sizes run right around 15 students which is lower than many of the other schools.

“We do really well in our class sizes,” Carlson stated. “That is a draw for parents looking at where to send their children.”

Principal Tim Pahl presented some upcoming events and informed the board members that a PLC early out scheduled for March 1 has been switched to a full student contact day. He also thanked the custodial staff for putting in long hours trying to keep up with all the snow and bad weather. Discussion regarding weather related make-up days will most likely take place at the March meeting.