MCA science, math scores also improve

By Chad Koenen


The Henning School District continues to rank among the best in reading, math and science when compared to other school districts in the Freshwater Education District.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, the Henning School Board heard the district’s results from the MCA and MTAS testing that took place last spring. 

As a district, Henning ranked first compared to all of the school districts in the Freshwater Education District in reading with a proficiency percentage of 56.9, high school reading with a proficiency percentage of 61 percent and math with a proficiency percentage of 51.9. The high school also ranked first against all of the other Otter Tail County high schools in reading.

“So even during the time of Covid, and we had some struggles, but we definitely had some areas to celebrate as well,” said Henning School Principal Thomas Williams. 

Some of the other highlights include being ranked third in the Freshwater Education District in science as a district with a proficiency percentage of 53.1 percent, as well as second at the high school level with a proficiency percentage of 51 percent and third in the elementary with a proficiency percentage of 56.7 percent. 

The Henning fifth graders also made a big jump from their third grade year in reading as their proficiency percent increased by 20 percent from when they were in third grade to 70 percent. The 10th graders were at a 68.75 percent proficiency in reading as well. 

Another major milestone came in 10th grade science where the students increased their proficiency percentage by 27.24 percent from their eighth grade year to increase to 54.54 percent. 

While the district had a number of positives from the testing results, Williams said several grades in Henning did see a slight dip in their proficiency percentage. He said the state saw a decrease across a number of grades as well, which can be attributed to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state average decreased about 7 percent in reading from 2019, the last year the test was given, and 11 percent in math. 

In other news

• Accepted a donation of $120 in Walmart gift cards for elementary staff members from Dave and Karen Stueve.

• Approved the hiring of Miranda Smith as a paraprofessional for one day a week for the 2021-22 school year. 

• Approved up to $10,000 to contribute to a new scoreboard at Don Seipkes Field. The old scoreboard dates back to 1994 and athletic director Randy Misegades said parts of the display are no longer working and looks worn down. Approximately 70 percent of the overall cost of the new scoreboard has been raised through advertisements and other avenues. The new scoreboard will be installed next year and will be 8×25’. 

• Heard from Misegades about the need to continue pursuing a new gym floor in the main gym. The gym floor was installed in the 1960s and is dark, hard and unforgiving for athletes and students in the phy. ed class. The board said it will continue to explore the possibility of replacing the gym floor, but will need to find a way to pay for the project. 

• Heard an update from Williams regarding conferences for the high school students this fall. He said the plan is to have parents sign up for times to meet with individual teachers like they did last year to allow for a more private conversation, if needed, with each teacher. 

• Heard the enrollment report from superintendent Melissa Sparks. She said the K-12 enrollment on Sept. 13 was 351 students, which was up nine students from the end of the last school year. She said the district has also gained a number of preschool students this fall to bring the total prek-12 enrollment to 397 students. 

• Heard of several changes the COVID-19 committee is recommending at the school, including changing the distance for close contact from six feet to three feet and providing a seven day quarantine option, instead of a 10 day option with a negative COVID-19 test. 

• Approved a change to the school calendar. November 15 will now become a regular school day, as opposed to an off day for students, and Wednesday, April 6, 2022 will become an off day for students. The change was made due to the solo and ensemble music competition that Henning will be hosting on April 6, 2022. 

• Approved a Memorandum of Understanding from the Village Family Service Center for providing co-located mental health therapy programming at Henning School. The school board approved spending up to $10,000 on the mental health program that will include virtual meetings with students one day a week, based on the needs for students in the district. The money contributed by the school board will be utilized for families who cannot afford the service. The hope is to provide easier access to mental health professionals for people in need. 

• Approved setting the levy for 2021 payable in 2022 school year at the maximum levy. The levy can be lowered in December, but not increased from the preliminary levy set by the school board.