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Cloquet creates new technology ‘teacher for teachers’ position

Starting in August, Cloquet will now have a teacher to teach the teachers how to best utilize technology in the classroom.

Matthew Winbigler was approved to fill the newly created Technology Integration and Instructional Support Specialist position for the district. Winbigler resigned his position as science teacher at Cloquet Middle School, where he’d taught for close to 10 years, to take the new position. The new position will pay him the same salary, and be included in the teacher’s union and paid according to the teachers’ salary schedule.

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The pay — not the candidate — was a sticking point for School Board member Jim Crowley, who questioned why the newly created position will pay $16,000 more than the district’s top technology position, which is responsible for all devices such as computers, phones, tablets and more.

Superintendent Ken Scarbrough pointed to the job description he’d handed out at the beginning of the meeting and apologized for not getting it to board members sooner.

“You’ve seen how Mr. Winbigler uses technology with some of his science students,” Scarbrough said. “That’s something we want to duplicate throughout the district. It’s not enough to get the technology itself, we want the teachers and students to know how to use it.”

Board member Duane Buytaert, who previously worked in the Superior School District in Information Technology, said Superior had a similar position.

“I think Matt [Winbigler] is the perfect candidate,” he said. “A technology coordinator is different from technology integration specialists.”

Scarbrough said Winbigler will also be responsible for creating and maintaining standards regarding technology.

After the meeting, Winbigler said one of the things he wanted to implement soon is a K-12 digital citizenship program teaching kids to be safe online. He added that he’s hoping 80 percent of his time will be spent in the room with teachers and 20 percent on administration, which would include things like monitoring the district’s World’s Best Workforce Plan.

Also Tuesday, the Board took the following actions:

  •  Approved the period for filing affidavits of candidacy for the office of school board member for the Cloquet School District (ISD No. 94) to begin at 8 a.m. July 29 and close at 5 p.m. Aug. 12. Candidates must live within the school district and pay $2 to file their affidavit with the school district clerk, at the Garfield School building on 302 14th St., Cloquet, by the above deadline. Three school board member positions are up for election. Board members positions up for reelection are Ted Lammi, Dan Danielson and Dave Battaglia.
  •  Voted to go with the district’s existing health insurance consultant, Paul Pederson Associates, Inc. over a bid from the locally owned Reliable Insurance, which already handles the district’s property and casualty insurance. It would have been Reliable’s first health insurance contract with a school district.

“I think with the rocky insurance world right now, maybe we should go with a known quantity,” Board member Ted Lammi said. Board member Jim Crowley was the only dissenting vote, noting that he would prefer to go with the local candidate.

  •  Tabled a vote on a new contract with the Director of Building and Grounds until an agreement is reached with the custodians union.
  •  Approved a contract with Cloquet Transit for pupil transportation, including a 3 percent rate increase over last year;
  •  Voted to designate the Pine Journal as the official newspaper for the school district, meaning all legal notices and Board meeting notes will be published in the Pine Journal.
  •  Approved the agreement for American Indian student participation in Minnesota State High School League activities at Cloquet schools and/or Fond du Lac Ojibwe School. The one-year agreement states that eligible American Indian students may choose to participate in extracurricular activities at either school, for example a student could play football for CHS and basketball for FDL. A student could not play the same sport or activity for both schools, however. Scarbrough said the MSHSL was going to get feedback on the arrangement from fellow conference/section member schools.
  •  Voted to renew an agreement with the Range Mental Health Center for mental health services.