GRANADA – The Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board heard an update from Principal Taylor Topinka at their meeting on Thursday.

Topinka said on Monday that they had launched a new school-wide initiative to review expectations for respectful behavior.

“At our last management meeting, we spent time talking about a trend that we observed at GHEC and discussing with other regional administrators, a trend that they also noticed. Motivation is decreasing because we have returned to normal after two very abnormal Covid years ”, Topinka explained.

He added that disrespectful behavior had also increased, but stressed that this was not a trend only at GHEC, but had materialized elsewhere as well.

Topinka said the trend has been presented to student leaders and team captains.

“We told them that we believe we have a very high quality group of teachers and that your learning depends on the experience you get here”, he said.

Topinka said they would hate to lose quality staff based on this trend, so they explained how they can address it. He said the students raised some creative ideas “not to do” in class which would lead to automatic disciplinary dismissals.

“Our goal is not to create more disciplinary deferrals, but fundamentally to provide more motivation to lead with respect”, Topinka said.

On the Covid front, Topinka said there were currently nine positive cases in grades 6 to 12 and one among staff members. Topinka said that number was on the rise, but expected after the holidays.

He said senior class travel has also been a hot topic and is affected by Covid as well.

Seniors and juniors received a survey asking them their preference for getting vaccinated or taking a trip. He said the results showed the preference was to go somewhere that wouldn’t require a vaccination warrant.

“We had originally planned a trip to New York and they needed a vaccination warrant. Then we planned a trip to Chicago and as a city they voted to require a vaccination warrant ”, Topinka said.

He said the fear was that it would make it possible to plan a trip, invest money in it, and then the location would require a vaccination warrant.

Now they’re planning a senior trip somewhere in the area, maybe Arnold’s Park in Iowa or the Twin Cities.

Moving on to other matters, Superintendent Doug Storbeck spoke of an increase in the daily rate of pay for occasional teachers.

“We try to keep pace with our colleagues in the east and west by paying our substitute teachers at similar rates” said Storbeck.

He said they raised the pay earlier this year, but are looking to do it again. They are currently at $ 150 a day, but a pay scale has recently been established. Five to 14 days worked would cost $ 175 per day and 15 days or more would net $ 200 per day.

The board approved the new salary scale.

The board also spoke about its action plan for the next Minnesota School Board Association leadership conference, which will take place next week in Minneapolis.

Storbeck said he’s excited to see what they’re all learning and what they can bring back to help them improve.

In another action, the board went through several housekeeping items and set a date for the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month.

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