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Brainerd Public Schools: Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame to move from fall to spring

Brainerd School Board members discuss matters at their board meeting Monday, Nov. 13, at the Washington Educational Services Building. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd School District's annual Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame just took place in October, but instead of waiting a year, the next one will come up in about six months.

Brainerd School District Superintendent Laine Larson told school board members during their Monday, Nov. 12, meeting about a discussion among the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation board of directors to restructure the event because of costs. A few years ago, the BPSF took over management of the event, which honors Brainerd High School graduates for distinguished achievements and careers. The last couple years, the foundation has lost money on it. This year's hall of fame, Larson said, lost about $2,000.

Tying it in with the senior awards recognition in May came up as an idea when board members discussed how to get the hall of fame back to at least breaking even, Larson said.

"There's a lot of synergy and excitement about moving it into the school day so that, for sure, our juniors and seniors can see just what contributions these graduates have had to our world after they graduate from Brainerd Public Schools," Larson said.

School board member Bob Nystrom, a member of the hall of fame selection committee that will take over management of the event, said the committee met earlier Monday and agreed to host the next one in the spring of 2019, which will be the 20th anniversary of the hall of fame's 1999 inception. Nystrom said the 2019 event will, for certain, be in conjunction with the senior awards recognition ceremony in April or May.

In other business Monday, the school board:

Canvassed the results from the Nov. 6 general school board election and certified Tom Haglin, Ruth Nelson and Charles Black Lance as the top three candidates who will serve four-year terms on the board starting Monday, Jan. 7.

Approved the hire of non-certified staffers Alexis Hummel, a special education paraprofessional at Forestview Middle School; Caron Long, food service at Baxter Elementary; Katlyn Ostendorf, a community library assistant at Nisswa Elementary School; Ebony Riley, a special education paraprofessional at Lincoln Education Center; Shelly Taylor, a special education paraprofessional at Forestview; and Angela Wolfe, a transportation assistant at Washington Educational Services Building.

Approved the resignation and retirement of certified staffers Beverlee Dunphy, an early childhood teacher at Brainerd Learning Center, resignation; and Timothy Richardson, a special education teacher at Lincoln Education Center, retirement.

Accepted gifts and donations to the district: $326.62 from various parents for band at Forestview; $313 from Jack Pine Brewery for the Forestview food pantry; a viola from Andrew Schroetter for orchestra at Forestview; $3,561.35 from the Riverside Parent Teacher Organization for field trips at Riverside Elementary; $500 from each Precision Tool Technologies, Clow Stamping, and American Peat Technology for the robotics program at Brainerd High School; $125 from Hockey House Sports for homecoming windows at BHS; $100 from Magnum Machining Inc. for the robotics program at BHS; $360 from Brainerd Kiwanis Club for Key Club at BHS; $1,200 from Affinity Plus Credit Union for the district's Angel Fund; $500 from both the Nisswa Lions Club and the Lake Hubert Women's Club for student learning at Nisswa; $350 from the Nisswa American Legion for teacher supplies at Nisswa; $100 from Susan Heil for teacher use at Nisswa; and $3,000 from the Brainerd Warrior Football Association for sixth-grade football stipends for the middle-level football program.

Approved extended field trip applications for Amy Aho's youth in government class, the Warrior Varsity Cheer team and the debate team. Aho's class will go to Minneapolis Jan. 10-13; the cheer team to the 2019 UCA National Cheer Competition Feb. 6-12 in Orlando, Fla.; and the debate team to the NSDA Debate Tournament Dec. 11-12 at St. Francis High School in St. Francis.

Approved the second reading of the district's new service animals policy. The policy came forward at the last board meeting when Larson said the district has students and staff members this year who use service animals at school, but there is no policy in place. The board will look to approve the policy at its next meeting.

Approved the paraprofessional contract for 2017-19. Under the contract, the district's educational assistants will now be called paraprofessionals. Other notable changes, human resources specialist Jenny Castle said, include a 1.75 percent wage increase for the 2017-18 school year and another 1.75 increase for 2018-19.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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