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Brainerd School Board: Forestview Middle School takes steps to prevent bullying with videos

Screen grab showing Student Ambassadors introducing a Forestview student bullyin

October marks National Bullying Prevention month in schools across the United States and Superintendent Steve Razidlo presented some of the things Brainerd School District schools are doing during Monday night’s school board meeting.

In particular, Razidlo highlighted videos recently made by students at Forestview Middle School and posted on YouTube with examples and definitions of what bullying is.

“I want to thank the staff and team over at Forestview who put these things out for students to be seen,” said Razidlo. “Sometimes when it’s put in their own language and with their own classmates, it’s more effective, especially at this middle school age where they are trying as hard as anyone to fit in.”

He added that again this year, students in the district will have the opportunity to participate in a bullying survey as a follow-up to the same survey given last spring.

“Many times parents and folks want to know more about what we’re doing to prevent bullying in our district,” Razidlo said. “And it’s not enough for us (district staff) to just be reactive, but we need to prepare for it before it happens and stop it from happening where we can.

“We want to make sure and keep an eye on taking stock where this year’s group of kids are at in regards to bullying and actively teach them about bullying prevention.”

Highlighting Advanced Placement (AP) numbers and success during the last Brainerd School Board meeting, Brainerd High School Principal Andrea Rusk and career service director, Linda Dockter, presented success of BHS’ College In Schools (CIS) to the board Monday night.

Offering students the opportunity to earn college credit in the hallways of BHS with coursed offered in conjunction with CLC and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Rusk said CIS has grown tremendously in the past few months.

“We have between 400 and 500 students taking advantage of earning college credit in schools,” said Rusk. “We have great agreements with CLC and the University of Minnesota with varying costs to us.”

Business Director Steve Lund said that through CIS agreements it costs the district $1,500 per course, allowing as many interested students to enroll. This compares to $185 per credit for students opting for Post Secondary Education Option, leaving the BHS campus in favor of the CLC campus for college credit. The difference also lies in the expenses incurred for instructional costs in CIS, where Lund said PSEO off loads the students.

“We’re going to start bringing some of these numbers together along with the feedback we see in kids,” said Lund. “We want to see what is the most effective way for our students to help move them along this path and also then where are we getting more bang for our buck.”

On whole, according to the compiled information sheet presented, looking at years 2007-2011, a total of $751,323.59 has been saved in tuition costs for Brainerd students at CLC through CIS credits. For the same years at the University of Minnesota, a savings of $265,899.38 was seen.

Dockter added there has been smooth credit transition to public and private universities in the state of Minnesota, as well as those outside the state that share reciprocity with Minnesota students.

Approved unanimously the first reading of the 2012 Crisis Management Policy. Director of Schools Willie Severson said that according to Minnesota Statute, the policy must be updated every year.

“This policy has three components with its purpose to act as a guide for planning in case of emergency,” said Severson. “It’s a very comprehensive and detailed crisis plan for when we run into situations whether it be fire, gun, death of a student or death of a teacher; this policy booklet covers it all.”

Board members also unanimously approved the second reading for the policy regarding use of school district buildings and facilities, with no feedback or changes made from the original first reading.

Accepted gifts and grants from: donation from the Brainerd Elks Lodge of $4,100 for the symphonic band. The band members worked with the Elks at the Crow Wing County Fair this past summer and set a record for tips received. A check will be presented to the group at their fall concert. Other donations included from Deerwood Bank of $200 for the Early childhood Coalition; BHS student activity account of $876.38 for the community education “Helping Hands” program; 3M Foundation of $6,000 for the Robotics Program at BHS; John Thelen Jr. of $100 for the Brainerd Lakes Early Childhood Coalition; Doug Wheeler Appraisals Inc. of $100 for the Brainerd Lakes Early Childhood Coalition; Kemps Milk Caps of $48.70 for the Lincoln Education Center’s student activity fund; city of Nisswa of $5,700 for Nisswa Children’s Library; Brainerd Lions of $500 for the Community Education/Geritol Frolics; Target “Take Charge of Education’ of $98.89 for AEC/MLAP student activities; an anonymous donor of $400 for Forestview’s Teams A and D student activities; Grand from Five Wings Arts Council of $1,270 for Lowell Elementary to be used for projects/presentations with author/illustrator Lauren Stringer; Dr. Troy and Holly Couture of $2,500 for the Early Childhood Family Education Center and School Readiness Programs.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).