Pine River-Backus School has been incorporating a program called Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System to spot signs in behaviors, attendance and performance early so students don't fall behind in later grade levels.

The program was adopted when it was determined that students at the Alternative Learning Center may have received intervention for their academic performance too late. That means their performance in later grades could have possibly been better had intervention started at the mid level.

Teacher Gina Peterson explained to the school board Monday, Nov. 18, how the MEIRS mid level intervention program is used at PR-B to preemptively help students to avoid bigger pitfalls that could result in delayed graduation and other issues.

Among other signs, teachers flag students for intervention based on slipping grades, attendance and behavior issues. Staff then works to find a solution for that student to help them catch up. The majority of students who receive intervention need it for math classes.

Peterson's presentation focused on intervention at the seventh and eighth grade levels. Board member Dawn Rubner asked if there was a similar program at lower grade levels. Elementary Principal Rick Aulie confirmed there is, though the lower level program has only a two day a week position, as it is paid for with Title 1 funding.

In other business Monday, the board:

  • Rescheduled a work session from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4 in order to hold a meeting on The World's Best Workforce during the regularly scheduled Dec. 2 meeting.
  • Learned the school still has a bus driver shortage and plans to park a bus along the highway with a banner asking for more bus drivers.
  • Approved the Cass County Children's Initiative, Inc. Interagency Agreement for 2020.
  • Accepted the resignation of Joyce Wynn and Jeanine Hulke, paraprofessionals.
  • Accepted the reclassification of Tracy DeGrote from full-time route driver to part-time route driver and authorized posting for a part-time route driver.
  • Approved hiring Nolan Toft as long-term substitute teacher, Stephanie Roberts as route bus driver, Kari Behan as paraprofessional, and Katie Verschelde and Kelly Johnson as prom advisers.
  • Approved a new 2019-21 master agreement with Pine River-Backus Education Minnesota.
  • Adopted a resolution establishing a combined polling place for school district elections not held on the day of statewide elections.