In favor of solar energy

By Marcie Klomp

“Word has reached me by way of the grapevine and internet that the school is thinking of doing a solar energy project,” Ernie Martin said in open forum at the Nov. 11 Howard-Winneshiek School Board meeting, which was held at the Elma attendance center.

He said after graduating in 1963, he went into oceanography and electronic engineering thanks to the education received at Crestwood. He credited his love of technology to Bud Weatherford, a physics and chemistry teacher. He said Weatherford was many years ahead of his time. “It was things that I learned in high school that helped me in my work.”

Martin added the high school at Cresco had a technology program from the 1940s up through the 1960s. “We were one of three high schools in the state that had a ham radio station at that time. That’s how advanced it was.”

Of solar energy, he suggested, “I hope you are thinking of at least a 60,000 watt set up.”

• In other business from the meeting, the issue of competency-based grading was explained to board members. Supt. John Carver began, “When I went to school, we had A-B-C-D grades. It didn’t reflect what you learned. We want to move away from letter grades and have kids show what they have learned.”

Principal Tim Felderman said grades would not be defined by coursework but defined by skills.

Carver admitted, a question is how do grades transfer to colleges. “Colleges are looking into it as well.”

• Physical plant updates were discussed, including adding double entrances to three areas at the K-8 building. Currently, when a person walks in one of the three doors, he or she is in the school. Larry Trende would like to add a second door, or barrier, to make it harder for outsiders to gain entrance. The cost would be about $150,000.

Work at Elma has been progressing as the boiler was up and running, and the windows were repaired.

The next item on the list is to fix the fire alarm system, which will cost $40,000-60,000.

Carver added all the buildings had updates that needed to take place.

• Several employees have asked about an early retirement plan. The board directed Carver to pursue the issue.


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