Delano Schools to ask for public input on May 15

Delano Public Schools is inviting people from the Delano School District community to give input on strategic planning for School District 879 at a meeting, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at Delano City Hall.

The Delano School District includes all or parts of Delano, Franklin Township, Independence, Loretto, Medina, Greenfield and Corcoran.

This is the latest effort of Delano Schools to collect public input that will be used as the school district updates its strategic plan, which will help District 879 define its strategy, or direction, and make decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. The district already has conducted a survey of district staff and members of the school district community.

Superintendent of Schools Matt Schoen Monday, April 22, told the Delano School Board about the upcoming public meeting. He said that district officials will “fill the audience in on what has been going well, what we need to work on and how we prioritize those initiatives.”

The School Board also conducted other business at the meeting. Here are some meeting highlights.



The School Board approved a lengthy list of retirements and resignations and recommendations for employment.

Board members and school staff commented specifically on two of them. Gayle Litfin, paraprofessional at Delano Middle School, is retiring as of July 31 after serving Delano Schools for 29 years. Mary Zelko, nurse at Delano Elementary School, is resigning after seven years with the school district.



Delano High School Spanish Teacher John Spitzer described plans for a trip of somewhere between 15 and 30 Delano High School Spanish students to the Madrid area in Spain during spring break in 2014. He said he has taken five trips with students to Spain, and this was the first time he had ever addressed the Delano School Board.

For the most part, students will stay with host families. The rest of the time students will be under supervision of Spitzer and other adult chaperones, usually school staff and spouses. During the 10 day trip from March 20 – 29, students will visit points of interest in Madrid, Segovia and Valladolid, including Alcazar Castle, a Roman aquaduct, cathedral, Picasso Museum, park and monastery.

To take the trip, students must be juniors or seniors enrolled in at least Spanish 2. Students and families raise money to pay expenses for the trip, which happens every other year.

One student who took the trip commented to Spitzer, “I learned more in one week in Spain than in three years from you.”



Keely Swartzer talked about how the Meeker and Wright Special Education Cooperative (MAWSECO) enables seven school districts to share special education services, and, in that way, contain costs. Swartzer is special education coordinator for MAWSECO.

She said that Delano’s population of students getting special education services is growing. In the 2009-10 school year, 280 students (10.9 percent of the student population) received special education services. The number has grown to 297 students in 2012-13 (12.4 percent of the student population).

The majority of Delano students who receive special education services has a speech and language impairment. Seventy-five percent of the special education students have this disability or a learning disability, other health disability or autism.



The School Board accepted donations from Delano-Loretto United Way amounting to $800 for Destination ImagiNation, $1,000 for Youth as Resources, $2,000 for Early Childhood Family Education and $3,000 for Discovery Zone/Summer Trek.

The board also accepted $1,055 in donations from 15 individuals and families for the Ted May Language Arts Scholarship.



Community Education Director Diane Johnson said that seven of 10 Delano Destination ImagiNation teams advanced to state competition from regional competition. At state competition on April 20, four Delano teams qualified for global competition. They included the Chubby Gerbils fourth grade team, Sugar Packets sixth grade team, Yo Yo Beanz seventh grade team and On the WhaleRoad! 11th grade team. The teams now must decide whether they will go to globals.

The Tiger Kids Club (TKC) summer program will have “Who Knew This Was a Zoo” as its theme. Classrooms, activities and events will have an animal habitat focus. Registration now is open for both summer and fall TKC.