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Students selected to represent AHS to board

Published 10:57am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Austin Public School board will have some younger blood to rely on come September.

The board approved Austin High School students Gabe Kasak and Jiyoon Shin as its student representatives Monday. Kasak will serve as the senior class representative while Shin will serve as the junior representative. The two were chosen out of six finalists selected by AHS officials.

“We had six phenomenal finalists for the position,” said board member Angie Goetz, who spearheaded the initiative to include students’ voices on the board.

Kasak and Shin won’t have the ability to vote on school issues, but they will be expected to attend all regular board meetings and some of the board’s special sessions to offer a student perspective.

Board candidate filing date nears

Austin Public School officials will be present as part of Candidate 101, a forum for potential school board, city council and county commissioner candidates for the upcoming election to be held 4-6 p.m. May 17, at the City Council Chambers.

Board chairman Jeff Kritzer and other district officials will be on hand to discuss how to file for school board as well as what to expect while serving. Three board positions will be up for grabs this November, and potential candidates must file to run between May 22 and June 5.

In other news, the board:

—Heard updates about the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports systems in Woodson and Ellis. PBIS is an instructional system designed to make a school’s behavioral climate more positive and cut down on disciplinary actions. Ellis officials said in March that preliminary data backs successful anecdotal evidence about PBIS, which Ellis and Woodson Kindergarten Center started this year. Seventeen percent of sixth-graders in the first quarter this year had major infractions, compared to 11 percent of sixth-graders during this year’s second quarter.

—Heard about the new school ratings classification used by the Minnesota Department of Education. As a result of the waiver to federal No Child Left Behind law mandates, Minnesota schools face a new reclassification system which takes into account the academic achievement gap between white and non-white students, progress made on state comprehensive tests, graduation rates and other measurements. The district’s new ratings will be released Tuesday, May 22.

Schools will receive Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMRs) and Focus Ratings (FRs), which will be based on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment data from 2010 and 2011. In addition, schools may fall under three different designations: Reward Schools, which recognize the top 15 percent of schools in the state according to the new measurements; Priority Schools, which are the bottom 5 percent of schools under the new measurements; and Focus Schools, which are the top 10 percent of schools with the highest Minnesota academic achievement gaps.

—Changed school board meeting times. The board will now meet at 5:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

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