MARSHALL - Three upcoming educational events identified at the Marshall Public School board meeting Monday night were deemed worthy of putting on the 2012 calendar, the first being the next board meeting, which was changed to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Jan. 17 is another date to remember, as Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will be visiting Marshall as part of a series of statewide meetings. She will be at the Marshall Middle School for the "Your Choice Your Future" event, with a public meeting following at a site to be determined.
"I hope we pack the theater, if that's where we end up having the public meeting," Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said.
Willert, along with several other superintendents, met with Cassellius on Dec. 13, primarily to touch base with her about flexible learning year activities.
"It's halfway through the flexible learning year," Willert said of the three-year collaboration with 25 other school districts in southwest Minnesota. "The commissioner offered some suggestions and shared that in many ways, we are providing a model for other schools across the state to follow."
Willert said he, along with several staff members representing every building in the Marshall district, also took a number of things away from the TIES conference last week in Minneapolis.
"The most profound message we walked away with is that technology should not be viewed as just an add-on," he said. "It's an integral part of education and we have to get to point, somehow."
Along with Marshall?Elementary Principal Heidi Critchley, United Way of Southwest Minnesota community impact coordinator Teresa Koch gave a presentation to the board, noting that the annual United Way speaker - presenting "Teaching Kids Responsibility" - will be a duo this year and scheduled for March 20.
Koch presented information about the summer and fall mobile learning experiences, which came about after being awarded a $50,000 grant.
"It's meant to be a preschool that travels to you," she said. "We try to get the kids familiar with school."
Ten 3- and 4-year-olds participated in the summer mobile learning program in one-hour increments per day. Koch said real progress was made.
In September, the fall mobile learning was implemented, with five area daycares and a total of 32 children participating.
"It's a two-week program and we leave a tote," Koch said. "We've been hearing really good feedback from the daycare providers.
Project Coffee, operated by Marshall East Campus Learning Alternative, recently received two financial grants, totaling $3,000, MECLA assistant principal Robert Walker reported.
The board also approved five action items, including the recommendation of participation in a track and field pre-design partnership with Southwest Minnesota State University.
"We have a real need in the near future to have our track replaced," Willert said. "SMSU is looking at a way of growing student enrollment. It could result in a possible partnership."
SMSU agreed to cover 75 percent of the pre-design cost, leaving MPS with 25 percent of the projected $8,400.