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District 518 pursues student mental health care, safety options for 'Armageddon Corner' and Crailsheim Road

The Daily Globe - 9/13/2022

Sep. 12—WORTHINGTON — District 518 is beefing up the mental health care available to students, the Instructional Committee of the District 518 Board of Education learned Monday.

"What we've noticed, or I'm hearing a lot, is there's a number of students with anxiety," said Superintendent John Landgaard.

Last year, the district made an agreement with a mental health professional to spend about 12 hours a week at Worthington High School and five hours between the Learning Center and Worthington Middle School. This year those hours will be increased to about 23 hours a week.

Landgaard is also hoping to have another professional work one day a week at the Learning Center in the future.

"The way this works is, these individuals will meet with the student two, three, four times. If they continue, then we'll switch them over to private insurance," Landgaard said. "So we're paying for the first few meetings with appointments and then at that point, they'll switch over to a private insurance, if there's a long-term need for that student."

Originally, a high school counselor, social workers and school psychologists came to Landgaard with concerns over student mental health — which has been prevalent across the United States following the COVID-19 pandemic — and the suggestion to bring in an outside professional to supplement the existing team.

The cost of the additional mental health help will be covered by the school's federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, Landgaard said.

The committee also asked school administration to look into having crossing guards near the Intermediate School and the Learning Center, which are located along Crailsheim Road, and once again expressed frustration with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

"I think we need to at least look at the possibility of having (crossing guards) there," said Brad Shaffer, school board member, stating that he believed the road near the Intermediate School could be as dangerous as "Armageddon Corner up by the Middle School," referring to the Crailsheim intersection with Oxford Street.

In response to city and county concerns about student safety along the Crailsheim Road corridor, MnDOT conducted a traffic study earlier this summer, before the start of the school year.

The study found that the speed limit on Crailsheim Road should be changed to 45 miles per hour, rather than being 40 mph from Oxford Street to 1,200 feet south of College Way and 55 from there to Minnesota 60 — a result that both the Worthington City Council and Nobles County Board found insufficient.

Both governing bodies drafted resolutions requesting MnDOT look at the corridor again, this time on a school day.

According to Landgaard, District 518 is working on a similar resolution that would go before the school board for approval at its next meeting at 6:15 p.m.Sept. 20.

The committee also asked administrators to research the rules governing the Crailsheim corridor, particularly regarding school zones and whether they could be used to lower speeds near the schools when students were present.

In other news Monday, the committee:

* Heard a donor is considering giving money to the school for a legacy wall at Trojan Field, where other donors could be recognized through the purchase of bricks or pavers, with money from donations going to extracurriculars.

* Learned District 518 is working on getting an online program up and running again, following the abrupt shutdown of its VIBE program this summer.

* Received an update on enrollment, which is slightly up from last year, with 722 students at Prairie Elementary, 663 at the Intermediate School, 671 at WMS, 1,165 at WHS and 125 at the Learning Center. As it is sized for 1,000 students, Landgaard said, WHS is "a little overcrowded at this point."

* Discussed District 518's upcoming accreditation process.


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