WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --      WWG —  For some time now the school board has wrestled with the high cost of senior trips. In recent years trips have included destinations to New York  City, and Washington D.C. Cost for these trips range from $30,000 to $40,000, depending on the number of students attending.

    Students and chaperones making these trips unequivocally say ‘it is a trip of a life time.’ Without a doubt those two places hold a wealth of historical and cultural exposure for the students.

    However there are a couple of problems with these trips that have been brought up by administration and board members. The cost is getting simply to high, and it hardly can be called a class trip when there is seldom more than half the class attending.

    Superintendent Loy Woelber is on record as saying we need to find better ways to do fund-raising.         Currently a lot of the fund-raising is done through sales of products, from cookie dough to pizzas, often these projects derive a fairly small profit, while costing the community a much larger sum. It has been suggested that when some of these projects are done, people can just donate a dollar figure and not purchase the products.

    Woelber said, “We may have to start looking at the possibility of smaller trips.”

    Leo Theisen reported the junior class is still planning on going to D.C. and New York, with a possible side trip to Philadelphia. There are about 30 kids planning on going out of a class of 36.

    Freshmen class advisor Doug Lee told the board his class is looking at doing a smaller class trip of maybe just a couple days and possibly staying within Minnesota. We are looking at a trip that would involve the entire class — rather than just half of the class.”

    Lee proposed a project of a Portable Mini Golf course, the course has been named the “Chargers Back 9.” The course will be constructed using a metal frame 6 feet by  16 feet long. The 9 hole course will cost about $6,500 and it includes, putters,  balls, score cards and miscellaneous items. Students will be approaching businesses and other organizations to pitch their project and hopefully land some donations.

    Lee and Josh Barron are planning on  writing a matching funds grant but will not know until fall if they receive it. If they receive the matching grant  the money will be used to construct a trailer to haul and store the pods.

    Lee said they will demonstrate the one hole prototype at the WAV Cabin  Fever event. They also plan on having all the pods built in time to use at Westbrook Fun Days, and during the Wilder Pageant weekends. The money raised from the project will be used to support school organizations such as FFA and Class trips.

    Woelber talked about virtual trips through the Interactive Television setup at the Elementary school. I -TV technician Courtney Locke is working with the museum to try and develop a virtual tour of the Laura Ingalls Wilder  Museum and Walnut Grove.

    Tom Merchant suggested to the board, that the virtual tours might be integrated into the Community Education Program.

Elementary principal’s report:

     Principal  Paul Olson reported 158 students attended a movie last month.

    The youth wrestling  tournament was a big success with 116 wrestlers participating.

    The  kindergarten through third grade will be participating in an ocean theme reading challenge from March 11 to  April 11. Students will  be challenged to read a certain number of books during the challenge.

    A special Reward Reading  Camp is planned for Friday, April 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. It will include a special meal, door prizes for readers, and each student will receive a book to take home.

    Several of the elementary staff will be attending “Science on the Prairie” workshop at the Lamberton Experiment Station.

High school principal’s report:

    Principal Bill  Richards reported the one act play was streamed live with an interview of the author through Skype.

    At the PLC workshop teachers discussed areas of teacher evaluations, skinny vs. block, schedules Life 101 revisited, and at risk student management.

    Winter NWEA testing has been completed.

    Jr. high musical, senior high play, speech and knowledge bowl are under way. Marcia Erickson will be assisting Adrienne Kletscher on the comedy “Beth.”

    The FFA recently hosted the Region’s American Farmer Degree interviews.

    An Arts Integration workshop was held recently.

    High school conferences were held with a surprisingly good turnout in spite of blustery weather.

    The 9-11 trip to the Ordway Theater, and the Science Museum had nearly perfect attendance.

    Snow week was shorter due to SNOW but all  went well.

Superintendent Woelber’s report:

    Woelber talked about the “World’s Best Workforce.” He told the board the members discussed various aspects of closing the achievement gap.

    One  thing that surfaced during the meeting was the fact that WWG is already dealing with Cultural Integration, but how do you report on what you are doing when the district has been doing it for the last 20 years.

    Another  item that came up is that the achievement gap is not really more evident because of culture, but more due to socio-economic factors. There are low income families pretty much across the board without regard to culture.

    “We continue to look into teacher and administration evaluation  procedures,” Woelber said. “Staying at the forefront of technology should remain a high  priority. The district needs  to determine the direction of hardware needed for the future — more lap tops, or tablets?

    Building and Grounds Capital outlay items are being looked into at both campuses.

    Some discussion  was on weather make up days, but was tabled until next month.

    Action was taken on the following items:

    • Approved revised budget for 2013-2014 Revenues of $5,956,889, and Expenditures of $6,027,793.

    • Approved a resolution discontinuing and reducing educational programs and positions.

    • Approved support staff handbook for 2013-2014.

    • Accepted resignation of Ashley Freeburg.  Approved hiring of Marcia Erickson as WG paraprofessional, and Rochelle Jarmer as Westbrook paraprofessional.

    • Approved contract with SWWC service coop for next year. $171,120.

    • Approved long term leave for Sally Oltmanns (4th quarter). Leave of absence for Mrs. Vandeviere for  1st quarter of 2013-2014.