By Suzanne Erkel, ISD 15 School Board Clerk
First, I want to thank those of you who helped me to obtain this position. I hope to maintain our ideals, while voting what my heart knows will be the best for this district.
The amount of information I have taken in during my first six months as a school board member amazes me. I am still processing much of it, contemplating on how to implement anything that can improve our school district.
I strongly believe we have the best school district in the state of Minnesota. We have so many amazing programs that increase the caliber of students this district graduates, and others that promote our teachers to further their skills. What this district lacks is the promotion of all of the quality programs we have going for students and teachers. The Courier should not be the only media source that advertises our fantastic programs and activities. I would love to see a local news channel come and do a piece on our Transition 15 program. I have gotten the grand tour, and it is impressive. Their little novelty store has some of the quaintest, unique items.
Another program the district is to be commended for is the adoption of a proactive strategy for heading off bullying in schools.
For too long, parents and school officials have shrugged off bullying as just part of growing up. Conflicts among children will always be with us. But there is no reason we have to tolerate children who exploit unfair advantages or gang up on others simply to inflict pain and suffering.
These types of incidents have been proven to trigger dangerous depression in students. And though most survive the experience, the scars can last a lifetime, and in some cases, lead victims to indulge in bullying themselves.
We will never make our schools perfectly safe. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that bullying doesn’t occur in our schools. It happens everywhere.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t minimize this behavior and its effects. I am pleased to see our district get in front of this problem.
Finally, it is refreshing that this district is a leader in the Q-Comp program. Other districts are learning from us. It always feels good to be a leader.
On a final note, we are saying farewell to many retirees, and to Director of Business Services Mae Hawkins who is off to bigger and better things. We have a goal to find an outstanding financial manager with leadership skills for the district. The search, thus far, has not yielded a quality candidate who resonates with the administration. It is good to know this district is not going to accept anyone but the most knowledgeable, ethical candidate.