Student built house sold for over $80,000

By Chad Koenen


Mental health needs for elementary and high school students have become magnified since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While mental health specialists have said much work remains to meet the needs of students and staff members, Kristin Draeger who has spent the past year as the NY Mills mental health practitioner, has some high praise for the school district. 

“It’s just been an awesome experience. A great school,” said Draeger of her experience at NY Mills School this past year.

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the NY Mills School Board heard from Draeger, as well as Courtney Rooney from Lakeland Mental Health and Perham School, about the mental health needs for students and what is being done locally to address those needs.

Rooney said the Perham School District has had a mental health representative in the school building for several years. She said the decision to have a mental health professional in the school building was made due to the amount of students who were leaving school each day to seek assistance. Not only did have a mental health professional on site provide easier access to mental health for students, but it also limited the amount of time students needed to miss school since they no longer had to leave the school campus to see a professional.

During the summer months, Rooney said she completes planning and does home visits to see students and their families in their home environment.

Over the past year, Draeger said a team of people have focused on mental health for students and staff members at NY Mills School. She said each person in their group had a slightly different focus as they addressed the needs of students. Draeger said she would make time every month to visit some classrooms and work on a number of lessons and projects.

“I think the kids really liked it. They always ask ‘when are you coming back and what are we going to do the next time,’” she said. 

Draeger said she also helps parents to find mental health assistance for students if they need. Providing help for mental health can take on different forms, one of which was the recent daddy/daughter dance at the school. Draeger said 101 girls and 83 dads, brothers, uncles and more attended the first-ever event at the school. The event was organized, at least in part, by mental health professionals. 

In other news

• Accepted the following donations: $1,000 from Womenade Helping Hearts, $500 from the VFW Post 3289 to Close Up, $1,500 from the VFW Post 3289 to trap, $4,000 from the Ottertail Lions for classroom supplies and $3,700 from the VFW Post 3289 to the basketball programs. 

• Accepted the high bid in the amount of $80,050 from Kyle Vorderbruggen for the student built house. Two bids were received for the house with the minimum bid being $76,500.

• Accepted 1 percent of the staff development funds for the district general fund. State law states 2 percent of the general education revenue must be reserved for staff development. The teachers voted to return 1 percent of these funds to the school district general fund.

• Approved the following appointments: Todd Forman as technology supervisor, Matthew Brown as special education teacher, Jamie George as special education teacher, Adam Zachman as building, grounds and maintenance supervisor and Michelle Midthun as high school science teacher.

• Accepted the following resignations: Laurine Braukmann as reading interventionist, Joanne Geiser as kitchen staff, Jason Perala as building and grounds supervisor, Sheila Piippo as RTI paraprofessional and Allie Riewer as elementary teacher.