Mitchell Board of Education Considers Hiring Social and Emotional Support Specialist – Mitchell Republic

Mitchell Board of Education Considers Hiring Social and Emotional Support Specialist – Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL – The Mitchell Board of Education will consider the possibility of hiring a social and emotional support specialist when it meets in its next regular session.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm on Monday, November 13 at Gertie Bell Rogers Elementary School.

According to the meeting agenda, the Board will consider hiring a 1.0 FTE equivalent for the position of Social Worker and Attendance Liaison. This position will assess students’ social and emotional needs, collaborate on intervention plans, and monitor attendance.

This position will also develop strategies to improve attendance rates, connect students and families to community resources, advocate for student rights, conduct outreach to support attendance, and collaborate with outside agencies to enhance attendance efforts, according to the agenda item notes.

The Mitchell School District has recently been looking at ways to improve its truancy rate.

In the South Dakota Department of Education’s annual school district report card released last month for 2022-23, the Mitchell School District’s attendance rate was 88%, compared to 86% for the statewide average. Chronic absenteeism is calculated at 18% districtwide, while the state average is 21%.

At Mitchell High School specifically, attendance for the 2022-2023 school year is 82% and chronic absenteeism is calculated at 24%, both above the state average. In 2021-2022, MHS’s attendance rate was 93%, while the chronic absenteeism rate was 23%. The chronic absenteeism figure calculates the proportion of students who attended more than 10 days and missed more than 10% of enrollment days in the school year.

The agenda item also appears shortly after the Mitchell School District received a $500,000 grant through the Chronic Absenteeism Addressing Program from the South Dakota Department of Education.

The Mitchell, Spearfish, Loyola and Watertown school districts each received up to $500,000 to implement programs to support districts, students and families with regular school attendance. Money from the grants will fund transportation. Mentoring and tutoring programs; Student, family and community engagement activities. These grants are awarded on a competitive basis to school districts with high needs.

There is no listing for the position in the personnel section of the agenda package, which is typically where potential hires to be considered by the Board appear.

The Board of Directors is expected to consider the following personnel moves at the meeting:

  • New secret hires for Brian Harty, assistant teacher at Longfellow Elementary, $16 per hour, 7 hours per day, effective October 27, and Abigail McDaniel, assistant teacher at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $16.75 per hour, 7.25 hours per day, effective November 20 .
  • New Certified Hire Baker Haar, Head Wrestling Coach, $6,290; Aubrey DeHay, seventh-grade girls’ basketball assistant coach, $6,290; Jessica Phillips, eighth-grade girls’ basketball assistant coach, $1,874; Trevor Krugman, seventh-grade girls basketball coach, $2,207; Wes Morgan, freshman girls basketball coach, $3,726; Anthony De La Torre, seventh-grade boys basketball coach, $2,207; Kylie Hanglefelt, gymnastics assistant, $1, and Gracie Katner, gymnastics assistant, $3,323. All appointments are effective for the 2023-24 academic year.
  • Demetrius Wells, assistant teacher at Gertie Bell Rogers Elementary School, moved to special education assistant teacher at L.B. Williams Elementary School, effective October 27, and Patti Brown, assistant teacher at Gertie Bell Rogers Elementary School, transferred 7.5 hours to assistant teacher at Mitchell Middle School. 7.25 hours per day, as of Nov. 20.
  • Shannon Dolezal, assistant teacher at Mitchell Middle School, resigns, effective Oct. 23; Andrew Iverson, head wrestling coach, and Tom Starr, head wrestling coach, are both in place for the 2023-24 school year.
  • Tarami Paulson, assistant teacher, has changed her work hours from 7 hours to 7.25 hours, effective October 23.
  • New Mitchell Technical College is hiring Madison O’Connor, admissions representative, at $31,301 ($50,000 prorated over 154 days), effective November 14, and Ashley Alacron, Rad Tech assistant, at $3,600, effective for the fall 2023 semester.

During the meeting, the Council is also expected to do the following:

  • Consider making an offer on a Dodge Ram 1-ton truck.
  • Consider approving surplus materials for Mitchell Technical College.
  • Consider agreeing to purchase a John Deere 3039R tractor.
  • Consider approval of Policy 222 on second reading.
  • Consider approving district goals.
  • Consider agreeing to a “4 to 1 student teaching opportunity.”
  • Entering into executive session for the purpose of “preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee representatives.”
  • Entering into an executive session for the purpose of “discussing the student’s expulsion, suspension, discipline, appointment, or educational program.”
  • Consider accepting or rejecting students’ appeal No. 012023.
  • Hearing reports from board members.
  • Listen to the supervisor’s report
  • Hear public comment.

The meeting is open to the public. The meeting will be streamed live by Mitchell Republic on its website.

Eric Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July 2019 as education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, SD, and graduated from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at

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