STMA hears of transportation successes, challenges

The St. Michael-Albertville School Board heard a transportation report that outlined successes of the 2017-18 school start, as well as challenges and goals.

The district also approved a request to add Three-Act Play, and heard about STMA project bid timelines.

TRANSPORTATION

Staff reviewed transportation bullet points containing facts, changes, additions and new services offered to the parents this year.

  • Implemented open enrolled transportation option for parents near the city of Albertville. Four open enrollment routes were added for elementary and middle/high school levels; 342 students were transported for open enrollment (184 elementary students and 158 secondary students.
  • Traffic decreased at Albertville Primary School, Middle School West, Big Woods Elementary School and Fieldstone Elementary School due to open enrollment transportation.
  • An opt-in process was implemented 11th and 12th grade students to increase efficiency.
  • Continuing with a partial three tier system impacting the middle schools and the high school (19 three tier routes, seven at Middle School East and 12 at Middle School West).
  • Several communications to parents regarding changes, open enrollment and opt in options.
  • Routing information was live in the ParentVue portal Aug. 18.
  • Bus inspections went very well in early August.
  • Special education transportation paraprofessionals were hired and placed on routes.
  • New routes for the entire district providing improved efficiency and service.
  • 29 In-District elementary routes.
  • 33 In-District secondary routes.
  • Added four open enrollment routes while the overall number of routes increased by two over last year.

Staff noted that key improvements this year were open enrollment transportation, asking 11th and 12th grade students to opt in for transportation as well as communicating with parents regarding deadlines for changes.

The staff memo noted, “The district has found that hiring paraprofessionals that are working in other areas such as food service or special education has helped decrease the turnover rate in this area. It has been a ‘win-win’ for the employees and school district.”

Challenges included keeping up with changes.

The staff memo continued, “As the district continues to grow, it becomes more difficult to deliver this level of service. Special education transportation for students is increasing and as this population grows the need for special education transportation paraprofessionals is also increasing. These positions are at odd times and it is a challenge to fill the positions. We are also working on the process for special transportation needs and ways to notify Don’s Bus earlier in August in order to allow them more time to establish transportation for these students.”

Staff concluded that the district will continue to evaluate and research the feasibility of a full three tier transportation system during the 2017-18 school year.

3-ACT PLAY

In other news, the council approved a request to add a Three-Act Play as an official school board sanctioned activity for this school year.

Staff said a Theater Club was created to assess the interest of students in theater at STMA and that over the last four years the program has grown.

The Theater Club is a Community Education program that runs in the winter and spring, and numbers grew from 54 students in 2014 to 83 today.

Staff said the reasons for adding a three-act play are: Provides students an opportunity to showcase their theater arts talent during all three seasons of high school; allows more students to be eligible for the AAA award; gives students in a fall sport an opportunity to participate in theater; and gives students who don’t want to sing and dance an opportunity to be in a show.

The board also heard that the addition of a three-act play would complement the fall musical. In addition, the fall musical and Three-Act Play could be flip-flopped yearly to allow students additional opportunities.

BID DATES

In further matters, the board heard about STMA project bid timelines.
The classrooms addition at Albertville Primary included ground-breaking Sept. 8; the high school classrooms addition will include Oct. 2 school board bid approval and Oct. 9 ground-breaking.

The All-Purpose domed facility will include school board bid approval Oct. 9, and lastly the Ice Arena expansion will include school board bid approval Oct. 24, along with a Nov. 6 ground-breaking.

In other action, the board:

HEARD a “State of the District 2017” report that outlined MCA reading, math and science results, and ACT results. A breakdown of the numbers is available at the district’s web site, stma,k12.mn.us.