WAPS shows signs of progress in World’s Best Workforce report

School Board Meeting Recap Nov. 19

Karla Winter, Director of Learning and Teaching at Winona Area Public Schools, presented the district’s World’s Best Workforce Report at a public hearing before the school board meeting on Thursday night. 

The district met or partially met many of its goals, although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from gathering the necessary data to determine if it met all of its goals. 

The presentation also included goals for next year, and the action steps the district plans to implement to meet them.

The World’s Best Workforce has five overarching goals: 

  • All children are ready for school
  • All third-graders can read at grade level
  • All racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed
  • All students are ready for career and college
  • All students graduate from high school

Some of the areas in which the district showed improvement included kindergarten screening, kindergarten transition events, reading scores for the current class of fourth-graders and ninth-graders completing the Minnesota Career Inventory System career and college pathway work.

Complete graduation data for the 2019-2020 school year will not be available until March 2021, so the district will not know until then if it reached its graduation goals.

Winter said that the goals for the 2020-2021 school year will look a little bit different, as the Curriculum Advisory Committee suggested following groups of students throughout their four-year career at the high school as opposed to a one-year snapshot. For example, the goal for students taking advanced classes will be applied to that particular cohort as they move on from year to year. 

Winter, who is in her first year as the Director of Learning and Teaching, offered a comprehensive look at not only the district’s goals and action steps in the World’s Best Workforce Plan, but also how the district as a whole reviews effectiveness of its teaching staff, the curriculum review process, how the district improves instruction as well as the various supports in place for students. 

The plan can be seen here.

WAPS Safe Learning Plan update: WAPS Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit gave an update on the WAPS Safe Learning Plan in the wake of the district’s decision to move to distance learning at all grade levels last Thursday. 

Distance learning plans were updated at all grade levels with the changes made highlighted in gray. Changes at the early childhood and elementary levels were the most extreme because those levels have been operating in a hybrid level since the first day of school. 

Freiheit also shared updates to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, which will now include quarantine data along with positive case data in the district.

Financial update: Craig Popenhagen of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP reported on the results of the 2019-2020 audit. The audit, which Popenhagen called “clean,” was presented as a briefing item and will be approved at the next meeting on Dec. 3. Director of Finance Kristy Millering also presented a proposal from Forecast5 Analytics, which is a tool to help facilitate organizations with budgeting, forecasting and trend analysis.

Future board meetings: The board decided to keep all meetings virtual into 2021. Board members will participate via Zoom and the meeting will be streamed to YouTube and carried on HBC-TV Channel 20. The board will revisit the measure at its first regular meeting of 2021, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 7.

Donations: The board also accepted more than $100,000 in donations from the following people and groups: 

  • Jerry Raddatz, $50,000, Student Activities/Athletics
  • WAPS Foundation, $15,907.51, Gala Funds for all schools
  • WAPS Foundation, $12,682.95, Miller Mentoring
  • WAPS Foundation, $2,686.32, Miller Mentoring
  • WAPS Foundation, $4,315.25, Miller Mentoring
  • Russell & Associates, $1,000, WMS/WSHS Athletic Scholarships
  • WAPS Foundation, $500, Business Econ Fund
  • WCF, $7,268, Weight Room Equipment
  • WCF, $4,678.98, Swim/Dive Donation
  • All Are One Roman Catholic Church, $300, Feed the Kids
  • Brenengen Auto, $250, Jefferson - Tools for Schools
  • River Bank, $250, Jefferson - Tools for Schools
  • Dependable Solutions, $250, Jefferson - Tools for Schools
  • Cash Donations, $85, Girls Swim and Dive
  • Anonymous, $100, Feed the Kids
  • Moe Family, $500, Girls Soccer
  • Moe Family, $500, Boys Soccer
  • Washington-Kosciusko PTA, $2,614.25, Mindfulness materials
  • Global Golf Ventures, $520, Football, Cross Country, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, & Hockey
  • Merchants Bank, $300, Football, Cross Country, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, & Hockey
  • Total: $104,708.26