SARTELL (WJON News) - There will be three new faces on the Sartell-St. Stephen school board beginning in January.

Emily Larson, Jen Smith and Scott Wenshau received the most votes in last week's election.

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Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover says he's already reached out to the new board members to help bring them up to speed.

They are already getting set up for Minnesota School Board Training, which is a requirement for all new board members. I've been reaching out to them with some communication on things we are doing throughout the district. I hope to have more discussions with them as we get going.

Ridlehoover says there is always a learning curve for new board members, which is why they want to make sure this transition goes as smooth as possible.

They will replace current board members include Patrick Marushin and Jeremy Snoberger and Amanda Byrd. Byrd was one of the nine candidates running for school board, while Marushin and Snowberger did not seek re-election.

As for work in the classroom, improving student test scores continues to be a topic of conversation among area school districts.

Minnesota kids are not scoring as well on standardized tests as they were before the pandemic.

Ridlehoover says while data shows Sartell remains near the top in statewide test scores, they are always looking at areas of improvement.

We were not immune to what happened during COVID, our test scores also declined a little bit. That gave us an opportunity to reflect on our practices and to improve in those areas. We think this matters and we are going to work with our students and improve in our own practices from a teaching perspective.

Ridlehoover says they should never be happy with status quo and always be looking at ways to grow and improve their teaching methods.

According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress, Minnesota placed 12th in the nation in standardized testing with just over 30% of students scoring above proficient in mathematics, reading, science, and writing skills.


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