HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN – Near the end of the Nov. 13 Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board meeting, Board Member Charles Bush proposed two items of future discussion: what is being taught in elective classes, and the time requirements for extracurricular activities.
For elective offerings, Bush spoke about cursive writing, stating that “I, for one, think that’s very, very, very important.”
Elementary Principal Jen Olson said cursive writing is being taught at the third-grade level.
For high school electives, Superintendent Brad Sellner said teachers can propose courses that they’d like to be included.
Bush mentioned that is important to write thank-you notes after an interview, and he is concerned about “too much technology” in schools. He said students might be relying on spell check and calculators instead of learning how to spell or do mental math.
Bush said he is also concerned about students’ time, and the pressure that is put on them. In particular, he said he was worried about sports practices taking place before school.
Board Member Michelle Heuer said the basketball coach is having early practices one day per week due to limited gym space. She said parents were made aware of this at the parent meeting, and she did not hear any resistance.
High School Principal Jason Mix said he’s talked to the players about this, and they have indicated that they enjoy the early practice.
“Have you talked to the coach or the AD [activities director]?” Sellner asked Bush.
“No, I have not,” Bush responded. He then said that the early practice is not his only concern; he is also concerned about year-round sports.
“We don’t control that,” Sellner said. “You better have a conversation with parents if you want their kids to stop playing.”
Bush said that was just an example. He then asked, “How much homework is assigned?” and “How many tests are being given?”
Sellner said it would take quite a bit of time to get all that information compiled, and he questioned if it is something the board should be dictating at all.
“I thought we wanted our teachers to have some autonomy, too – to be able to make some decisions on their own,” he said.
Bush said he has read articles recently about depression and suicide in youth, and the pressure that kids face.
Sellner said he’s not trying to say that these aren’t important topics to discuss, but he believes the discussion might be more valuable with the people who are directly involved, such as teachers or coaches.
Look for the rest of the story, as well as more HLWW School Board coverage, in the Nov. 17 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.