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Harwood PTO asks Board to consider hometown kindergarten

Tanya Russiff, a spokesperson for the Harwood Parent-Teacher Organization, addressed the West Fargo School Board during Monday night's meeting held in the Harwood Elementary School's library. Russiff and her husband, Don, were among a handful of parents present at the meeting to make a request to the Board to consider allowing Harwood kindergarten students to attend their local community school.

Russiff attended several of the Kindergarten Advisory Board meetings held earlier this year. The consensus of that committee was that the District should retain the concept of a kindergarten center, with two central locations. However, several Harwood PTO members would rather have Harwood kindergarten students attend school in Harwood.

Russiff said parents like the comfort level and security of being able to send their children to a small school where they know the teachers and staff. In 2004-2005, one of Russiff's son's attended kindergarten in Harwood. They preferred the small school setting.

Board president Duane Hanson thanked the parents for coming to the meeting and voicing their concerns. Following the meeting, Linda Mayer, PTO president, was optimistic that the Board would review their request carefully. "We know they're going to make the best decision they can," Mayer said.

Jerry Barnum, Principal at Harwood Elementary, gave a presentation about the benefits of a new goal setting and evaluation process being implemented in the schools. He feels the new system will increase employee morale and provide direction for growth and improvement.

In other action, the Board approved a staffing request to add a full-time Systems Analyst position to maintain and support data systems for the District;

• Authorized administration to advertise bids for buses;

Authorized administration to advertise for bids for school supplies;

Authorized administration to purchase laptop computers and technology equipment;

Authorized the renewal of the AVID contract;

Heard the first reading of Board policy on sexual offenders on school property;

Heard an update on the Healthy Communities Partnership, the Planning and Development Committee report, and a salary matrix study.

The District is continuing to conduct community meetings to help define school size. Information gathered from the meetings will be used as a guide for future building proposals.

The next scheduled Board meeting will be held on April 14, at 6 p.m., at the Leidal Education Center.