The Brainerd School Board signed off on construction documents and authorized bids for Riverside and Lowell Elementary schools during its meeting Monday, Nov. 25 — signaling another step forward in the districtwide remodel involving 12 separate facilities.

Lowell Elementary School

In a presentation to the council, Mark Needham, a project manager of ISC Consulting Inc., noted the southern half of the Lowell Elementary School building will see extensive remodeling for classrooms and art spaces on all three levels, while a new kitchen and cafeteria look to get included in the first floor remodel. The northern portion of the structure will see the construction of a classroom tower, as well as a new entrance and gym additions.

In addition, Needham said there are plans for a small parking lot on the southern portion of the property, with a one-way street parent pick-up/drop-off point and bus stop on the south side of the building.

The district will solicit bids out starting next week in the local market, while they will be opening bids on Dec. 19, Needham said, while construction should start in May.

Riverside Elementary School

Needham noted two primary additions — a gymnasium and service entrance — while renovations to interior spaces round out plans for revamping Riverside Elementary School. The awning of the entrance way will be replaced with a blue branding pylon structure with the district’s logo and color scheme.

In addition, Needham noted there are five alternates — or, essentially, provisions of the plan that can be incorporated as the budget allows. Three of these alternatives involve renovations to classrooms, while the latter two involve refinishing the gymnasium and a mill and overlay patching of asphalt on the back portion of the property.

Needham said the district will look to solicit bids for the project in mid-December, while bids will be opened on Jan. 9. Construction is expected to begin in May.

In other business Monday, the school board:

Approved new hires to the district: Jennifer Erickson, clerical at Washington Educational Services Building; D’Shaundra Boltjes, food service at Riverside Elementary; Kristi Schardin, food service at Forestview Middle School; Travis Schaumann, human resources specialist at Washington.

Accepted donations to the district: $500 from Highway 18 Collision Center for the Super Mileage Club at Brainerd High School; $1,000 from Dondelinger Chevrolet Cadillac for the Super Mileage Club at BHS; $200 from Ziegler Cat for the Super Mileage Club at BHS; $500 from Precision Tool Technologies for robotics at BHS; $500 from Clark Lake Homes for the Veterans Day program at Riverside.

Approved a field trip request for fourth graders at Garfield Elementary to visit Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center in January for environmental and conservation educational purposes.

Renewed the district’s BoardBook subscription for another year at a cost of $2,100. The school board uses BoardBook to post meeting agendas and minutes online.

Approved a 2019-20 contract with Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program for career adviser services at a cost of $12,000. The Rural Minnesota CEP staff member assigned to the district will provide career exploration, job search assistance and information on training programs for students.

Adopted the ISD 181 World’s Best Workforce Plan. Described by Director of Teaching and Learning Tim Murtha as an initiative to prepare students for a changing workforce in the future, the plan looks to revamp the curriculum and teaching methodology to emphasize “the four Cs of the 21st Century classroom: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.” Goals laid out in the plan include that:

  • All students are ready for kindergarten.

  • All achievement gaps are closed in the district.

  • All third graders achieve third-grade level proficiencies.

  • All students attain career and college readiness before graduating from high school.

  • All students graduate from high school.

Approved a revised policy that mandates reporting by district staffers of any neglect, as well as physical or sexual abuse, as stipulated by state law. According to district documents: “A violation of this policy occurs when any school personnel fails to immediately report instances of child neglect or physical or sexual abuse when the school personnel knows or has reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years.”

Approved a revised policy for tobacco-free learning and work environment at all district facilities and vehicles. The policy emphasizes this not only includes cigarettes, cigars and chew tobacco, but also tobacco consumption via electronic delivery devices such as vapes, e-cigarettes and similar devices.

Approved a revised policy the school district will not employ qualified teachers unless they have been verified to be licensed through the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board system and consistent with state law.

Approved a revised policy that states the appropriate use of peace officers and crisis teams to remove, if necessary, a student with an individualized education program from school grounds. Described as a means to ensure a safe environment for individual students and the student body as a whole, the policy stipulates a student with individualized education programs may include those with special needs and enrolled in special education programs.

Approved a revised policy that mandates the school to accredit, provide curriculum resources, pupil support services and educational technology upon formal request to parents who opt to educate their children at home and not in public or private school settings. The revision notes these materials include teacher edition textbooks, study guides, or other accompanying items.

Approved a revised policy that establishes program parameters and student requirements for the district’s summer school educational services. The revision notes students who are not reading at grade level must be screened for dyslexia.

Convened a closed session to discuss labor negotiations strategy.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at gabe.lagarde@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch.