By Chad Koenen


New York Mills Elementary students showed quite a bit of growth last year as part of the Response to Intervention program.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, the NY Mills School board heard a presentation from members of the RTI group about the growth that was shown since the start of the last school year. The program is aimed at helping students who are struggling in reading and math by giving them additional exercises in a one-on-one or small group environment. The goal is to help students at a younger age and give them the additional support needed to aid them in future years.

During the presentation, Laurine Brauckmann gave the school board an overview on some of the progress made last year. For example, last year there were 27 kindergarten students who were deemed as high risk students, according to testing results. By the spring that number was lowered to just 17. 

The results were similar in first and second grade last year as well. 

In fifth grade there was a six point growth for RTI students according to the Math AIMS web test the students take each year. There was also a 10 point growth for sixth graders in the program for the NWEA test. 

“I hope you realize how valuable and important this program is for our school,” said Brauckmann. “The growth we have seen as they move from one group to another and they grow with the skills is just amazing.”

Elementary principal Judith Brockway credited the work of the Response to Intervention team for helping students grow throughout the school year. She said the program has also helped to fill in some of the gaps left by distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other news

• Heard from NY Mills Blaine Novak that the district continues to look into options to regain and recapture instructional space in the building without completing a substantial remodeling project. He said a substantial remodeling project could take several years to complete. He also updated the school board on the summer building project, which will begin in the near future. 

• Received the following donations: $3,000 from Brunswick/Lunds for the purchase of a wrestling mat, $300 from the East Otter Tail Dark House and Angling for the trap team, $400 from the NY Mills VFW Auxiliary for the trap team and $2,000 from the NY Mills Lions Club for the trap team.

• Accepted a record bid of $90,459 from Cordell and Kris Huebsch for the student built house at NY Mills School. The minimum bid was $67,500 and bids ranged from $80,100 to the high bid submitted by the Huebsch’s.

• Accepted 1 percent of the staff development funds for the district general fund. 

• Approved the following appointments: Kenna Salo as sixth grade teacher, Jennifer Woods as third grade teacher, Elyssa Blaha as first grade teacher, Danielle Grieger as kindergarten teacher, Justice Kunza as SPED, Jacob Krebs as a junior high football coach and Ruth Koehler as a long-term sub.

• Approved the resignation of Ed Theisen. 

• Approved moving next month’s meeting to Wednesday, June 22 at 4:30 p.m. due to a number of conflicts on the originally scheduled date.